Pacific Northwest Ballet corps member Emma Love never expected to perform as one of the flirtatious women in Jirí Kylián’s Sechs Tänze. Then barely a year in the corps, Love was fourth in line for the part. But when other dancers got injured, she went on, handling Kylián’s idiosyncrasies with aplomb. It was tangible proof of the potential that PNB artistic director Peter Boal says he could see in Love when she was 15 and “trembling like a leaf” in auditions for the company’s school.

At 5' 9", with striking extensions, Love has the classic proportions of a Balanchine ballerina. But she didn’t blossom overnight. Love grew up in Wichita, Kansas, studying the Cecchetti method at Rogers Ballet school. A 2005 summer intensive at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet ignited her interest in Balanchine. She soon learned about PNB’s Balanchine-rich repertoire and its reputation for welcoming tall dancers.

Accepted to PNB’s school in 2006, Love spent her first six months in Seattle attending both the school’s top level and the Professional Division, where the emphasis shifts from technique to artistry. Her hyperextended legs and loose muscles presented challenges. She learned she needed to get stronger, and she struggled with turns and jumps.

The jumps she unleashes now she credits in part to the 2007 Flemming Halby Exchange program between PNB’s school and the Royal Danish Ballet. Love and Andrew Bartee (now a fellow corps member) spent three weeks in Copenhagen immersed in the Bournonville style, dancing in company class each morning, with apprentice classes in the afternoon. There, Love found out why her jumps lacked power: She was cutting her plié short. Using her seat muscles and new timing, she gained lift. She practiced diligently until her body caught up with her new approach.

In 2008, she became a PNB apprentice, and entered the corps a year later. “For me, the biggest thing is fear of a step you think you can’t do,” confesses Love. That fear sidetracked her briefly. She found herself holding back, and getting passed over for roles. Gradually she realized that, in rehearsal, even the best dancers try and fail.

As her confidence increased, she started to put her hand up more. She was not afraid to approach Boal and ask, “Can I learn this part I’ve had my eye on?” Motivation and grit paid off in this spring’s Swan Lake. Love asked to learn as many parts as she could, besides the roles in which she was officially cast. She ended up dancing in all 11 shows: as a princess, a swan in the pas de trois and in the czardas in Act III, to name just a few of her roles.

During PNB’s recent trip to New York, Love was cast in Concerto Barocco and substituted for an injured corps dancer in Agon. Boal thinks of her often for Balanchine works: “Agon is a great example where she’s right for the corps, but she’s also right for the pas de trois. What’s striking about Emma is that she approaches everything with such intelligence.” He ranks her now among the top of his corps, someone he looks to for demi-soloist and soloist roles.

She and her fiancé, Price Suddarth (also in PNB’s corps and a “natural turner,” she says), will be married this August. Both love to cook, and hike with their dogs. About four times a week, Love does cardio-heavy elliptical workouts for her legs, or swims 30 laps for a good full-body workout.

After seeing Love’s performance in Ulysses Dove’s Vespers in 2010, Boal has had her try more contemporary work on for size: David Dawson’s grueling A Million Kisses to my Skin and Mark Morris’ 2012 world premiere at PNB, Kammermusik No. 3.

“I feel at home in Balanchine,” says Love, “but I love—love—a lot of the new works.” More may be on the way.

At a Glance 

Emma Love

Age: 24

Training: Rogers Ballet Inc., Pacific Northwest Ballet School

Favorite role: A Million Kisses to my Skin

Dream roles: Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, First Girl in Red Angels, Tall Girl in "Rubies"

LADP's Rachelle Rafailedes leading a workout. Photo by Studio 6, Courtesy Sunshine Sachs.

If your usual workouts are feeling stale, Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project might be able to help. The contemporary ballet troupe recently launched an online exercise platform that puts its stars in your living room.

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Video still by Nel Shelby Productions, Courtesy Dancio.

"What if you could learn from the world's best dance teachers in your living room?" This is the question that Dancio poses on their website. Dancio is a new startup that offers full length videos of ballet classes taught by master teachers. As founder Caitlin Trainor puts it, "these superstar teachers can be available to students everywhere for the cost of a cup of coffee."

For Trainor, a choreographer and the artistic director of Trainor Dance, the idea for Dancio came from a sense of frustration relatable to many dancers; feeling like they need to warm up properly before rehearsals, but not always having the time, energy or funds to get to dance class. One day while searching the internet for a quick online class, Trainor was shocked to not be able to find anything that, as she puts it, "hit the mark in terms of relevance and quality. I thought to myself, how does this not exist?" she says. "We have the Daily Burn for Fitness, YogaGlo for yogis, Netflix for entertainment and nothing for dancers! But then I thought, I can make this!" And thus, Dancio (the name is a combination of dance and video), was born.


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New York City Ballet in "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Lincoln Center.

Nutcracker season is upon us, with productions popping up in on stages in big cities and small towns around the country. But this year you can catch New York City Ballet's famous version on the silver screen, too. Lincoln Center at the Movies and Screen Vision Media are presenting a limited engagement of NYCB's George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at select cinemas nationwide starting December 2. It stars Ashley Bouder as Dewdrop and Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz as the Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier.

While nothing beats seeing a live performance (the company's theatrical Nutcracker run opens Friday), the big screen will no doubt magnify some of this production's most breathtaking effects: the Christmas tree that grows to an impressive 40 feet, Marie's magical spinning bed, and the stunning, swirling snow scene. Click here to find a participating movie theater near you—then, go grab some popcorn.

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Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet rehearsing for "The Sleeping Beauty" for the 2017/18 season. Photo by Arian Molina Soca, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet.

Today the Pennsylvania Ballet's board of trustees announced the appointment of Shelly Power as its new executive director. Having been involved in the five-month international search, company artistic director Angel Corella said in a statement released by PAB that he's "certain Shelly is the best candidate to lead the administrative team that supports the artistic vision of the company." Power's official transition will begin in February. This news comes at the end of a few years of turmoil and turnover at PAB, including the departure of former executive director David Gray in June.

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Tiler Peck with Andrew Veyette in "Allegro Brillante." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet.

"I was particularly excited when I saw my name on casting for Allegro Brillante in 2009," remembers principal dancer Tiler Peck. "Balanchine had said Allegro was, 'everything I know about classical ballet in 13 minutes,' and of course that terrified me." To calm her fear, Peck followed her regular process for debuts: begin by going back to the original performers to get an idea of the quality and feeling of the ballet and ballerina. "It is never to imitate, but rather to surround myself with as much knowledge from the past as I can so that I can find my own way," says Peck.

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'The Nutcracker.' Photo by Rich Sofranko

Catching a performance of The Nutcracker has long been a holiday tradition for many families. And now, more and more companies are adding sensory-friendly elements to specific shows in an effort to make the classic ballet inclusive to children and adults with special needs.

While the accommodations vary depending on the company, many are presenting shorter versions of the ballet with more relaxed theater rules. Additionally, lower sound and stage light levels during the performance, as well as trained staff on hand, make The Nutcracker more accessible for those on the autism spectrum and others with special needs.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's performance will take place on Tuesday, December 26th, and they are one of the pioneer companies in presenting sensory-friendly performances of The Nutcracker (their first production was in 2013). PBT has also offered sensory-friendly versions of Jorden Morris' Peter Pan and Lew Christensen's Beauty and the Beast in the past.

See our list of sensory-friendly performances, and check out each site for all of the details regarding their offerings.

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Pilates hundred intermediate set-up, modeled by Jordan Miller. Photo by Emily Giacalone.

The Pilates hundred is a popular exercise used by many dancers for conditioning and warming up, but it's also one of the most misunderstood. Pumping your arms for 100 counts sounds simple enough, but it requires coordinated breathwork, a leg position that suits your abilities and proper alignment. Marimba Gold-Watts, who works with New York City Ballet dancers at her Pilates studio, Articulating Body, breaks down this surprisingly hard exercise. When done correctly, the benefits are threefold: "If you're doing it before class," she says, "the hundred is a great way to get your blood flowing and work on breath control and abdominal support all at once."

To Start

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Nod your chin toward the front of your throat, and reach your fingertips long.

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