Do you have any special routines before you go onstage?
I share a dressing room with Yvonne Borree. We like to light a scented candle, something girly
People have talked about your joyfulness as a dancer. Where does it come from?
I don’t think anybody can hide who they are on the stage. It’s like being under a microscope. Mr. Balanchine always told me, “Darci, just be yourself.”
What role has perseverance played in your career?
When I was confronted with something like my two ankle surgeries, I had to decide all over again if I wanted to dance. You ask, Is this still what I want to do? And it’s wonderful when you recommit.
What has it been like working so closely with your husband, Peter Martins, for so long?
We both truly love to dance, and I’ve never gone into the theater, no matter what has happened in my personal life, and taken it out. I know when I walk through those doors, professional is professional, personal is personal. I don’t think it would have worked, also, if I had not been a ballerina on my own. It’s not like Peter made me. That would not have been a good relationship.
Do you get a similar sort of joy from teachingas from performing?
Watching students grow is a different satisfaction. I’m not going to teach someone to dance like Darci danced. I teach what Mr. B wanted, what Peter wants.
What will you miss about performing?
There will be nothing like sitting in the dressing room, putting on my makeup, putting my hair up, those very quiet moments that are yours. And being onstage when the audience is completely quiet and you only hear the music.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Ooh, that I love to water-ski. I’ve been water-skiing since I was 4. Peter will rent a boat and we go up to Candlewood Lake in Connecticut, and I’ll ski my heart out.
Any advice for aspiring dancers?
If you’re passionate and you love it, continue. If you’re halfway, there are so many other wonderful things out there to do. I go back to what Mr. Balanchine said: You have to be willing to die for it. It cannot be a maybe.
Do you have any special routines before you go onstage?
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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."
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.