Jennifer Stahl's blog

Few things in life are more beautiful than Alessandra Ferri. Personally, I could watch old videos of her for hours on end. And it turns out I'm not the only one still in love six years after her retirement: This Friday, the Italian International Dance Festival will present the former prima with the IIDF A Heart For Art Extraordinary Dancer Award at the festival's gala performance in New York City.

Audition season is one of the most grueling parts of a dancer's year. But don't let cattle call burnout keep you from getting into the company of your dreams. To offer a dose of inspiration, Pointe peeked inside an open call for Boston Ballet and picked artistic director Mikko Nissinen's brain for his best audition advice. In the feature, he gives the best defense of falling I've ever heard: It just means he's sure to notice you. He also offered this tip:

 

Some mornings, the only thing I want to eat is an ice cream sundae. (Okay, maybe most mornings.) A healthier option? A yogurt parfait. With some maple syrup and crunchy granola, this recipe from Pointe's favorite dancer-chef, Shelby Elsbree, hits the spot no matter how badly my sweet tooth is acting up.

 

Greek Yogurt & Granola Parfait:

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of apple sauce

1/3 cup of granola

1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

The days of having to choose between college and a ballet career are over. Not only do many dancers join top troupes after earning a degree (see Pennsylvania Ballet principal Lauren Fadeley, Complexions powerhouse Christina Dooling, ABT’s Sarah Smith), but many ballet companies and schools have also teamed up with universities to make it easier for their dancers to earn credits and perform at the same time. The latest is Fort Wayne Ballet, which just announced a new collaboration with the University of Saint Francis.

You're jealous of her extensions. You compete with her for the same roles. You wish you didn't resent her as much as you do, but when she gets that smug look on her face after your director gives her a compliment, you can't help it.

 

Ever since leaping over to the Bolshoi, David Hallberg has become bigger than ballet. First, it was Stephen Colbert dancing with him for late-night comedy. Now, the fashion world has fallen for Hallberg's compelling mix of classical elegance and peculiar eccentricities. The South Dakota native has played muse to the likes of Annie Leibovitz in Vogue, and he took up a 12-page feature in the latest issue of Carine Roitfield's splashy CR Fashion Book.

When Carrie Lee Riggins joined New York City Ballet at 16, she had no clue how to cook. And living in New York City, she never had to—delivery was just at the other end of a phone call. Jump ahead sixteen years to the present day, and she found herself still lost in the kitchen. So she wrote an email to the Food Network’s reality competition show “Worst Cooks in America,” featuring restaurateur Bobby Flay.

For many students today, the last step before going pro is a traineeship—a one or two–year program where dancers can polish up their technique and gain professional performing experience. While more and more companies are launching trainee programs, the opportunities they offer (and tuition they require) vary dramatically. Some trainees get to take company class and dance with the corps in larger ballets. Others get private coaching from the ballet masters. In certain programs, trainees participate in some of the company's most innovative projects.

 

After weeks of questions, it looks like there are finally some answers as to who was behind the acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin. Last night, Russian police obtained confessions from three men, including Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko. It turns out that Dmitrichenko hired the other two to accost Filin as the director was getting into his car on January 17. On Russian state television yesterday, Dmitrichenko said he did not intend for the attack to go as far as it did.

Have you entered Dance Magazine's Joffrey Ballet School scholarship contest yet? Five dancers won full rides to Joffrey summer intensives through dancemedia.com in January, and ten won in February. This month is your last chance—and with 15 scholarships up for grabs, it's also your best chance!