Another reason to be jealous of Torontonians: The National Ballet of Canada offers a very cool series called Ballet Class with the Stars. Every month or so, the company’s principal dancers take a break from rehearsals to teach an open master class to local dance students. Participation is open to any aspiring preprofessional aged 14 or older who's reached at least an intermediate level of technique.
Marie Claire posted a fun, investigative slideshow earlier this week that compares the fitness levels of five types of athletes. In addition to a biker, a boxer, a yogi and a runner, they put American Ballet Theatre soloist Stella Abrera to the test. The results? Abrera had the strongest core—and unsurprisingly lovely legs.
English National Ballet has just named Tamara Rojo as it’s new artistic director. The 37-year-old Royal Ballet principal will take the reins from Wayne Eagling, who resigned a few weeks ago. Rojo has had her sights set on becoming an artistic director for quite some time—she has a master’s degree in scenic arts and has previously shadowed National Ballet of Canada’s Karen Kain to gain insight into the position.
Forget his ridiculous leaps and irresistible stage presence—Ivan Vasiliev officially became one of my favorite people when he told Pointe that he’d “love to be tall, blond and have blue eyes…and Wolverine claws!” And, just FYI, the guy also has a remote-control helicopter that he can operate with his iPhone. If you haven’t yet read Laura Cappelle’s interview with the Bolshoi-turned-Mikhailovsky superstar, you’re missing out.
Sometimes, a plain old downward dog isn't enough. For dancers who like to defy the laws of physics, anti-gravity yoga quite literally takes cross-training to a whole new level. This hybrid technique of yoga and aerial arts helps stretch and strengthen the body without straining your joints by using a silk hammock as a prop for your positions. The hammock was originally developed by Christopher Harrsion as an apparatus for his acrobatic performance company AntiGravity.
"Both professions require one to know their bodies really well, and to have discipline, like understanding how to move and make shapes. If you know your body, it’s not as awkward when you’re modeling because you’re already super conscious," says Laura Love about the connection between modeling and dance to James Lin of nymag.com's "The Cut" blog. Love performed with Los Angeles Ballet before quitting the stage a couple of years ago to become a model.
Before I even stepped in the theater last night, I knew I was biased. Sylvie Guillem was performing in 6000 miles away, a program of William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián and Mats Ek pieces, and although I'd never seen her in person before, videos and stories already had me convinced I'd love her. And I did. Guillem uses her limbs the way Van Gogh uses brushstrokes, Waugh uses words or Prokofiev notes. Her movement is so liquid, but she's in complete control at every moment—there's authority and specificity without looking arduous.
My first summer in New York I was 17, training at The Joffrey's summer intensive and spending my spare time taking extra classes at Steps, with jazz master Luigi, and at ABT (which, in it's pre-JKO days, offered an amazing daily open class). I was also seeing as much ballet as I could squeeze out of my limited allowance.