When Boston Ballet resident choreographer Jorma Elo selected Corina Gill to perform alongside three of the company’s best-known dancers—Kathleen Breen Combes, Whitney Jensen and Lia Cirio—in his 2012 premiere Sharper Side of Dark, she did not shy away from the challenge. Within Elo’s dark, intriguingly beautiful universe, Gill created a magnetism all her own. Whether she was bursting into flight or showing off her pristine lines, what you noticed first were her eyes—deep, with an intense soulfulness that drew you in.

“It was a big moment for Corina, and she deserved every bit of it,” says company ballet master Tony Randazzo. “It’s a new step for a choreographer to work closely with her on a premiere. It shows that she has the maturity to really thrive in that capacity.” But this isn’t the first time that Gill, a Boston Ballet corps member, has proven her ability. Just three years ago, she was a critics’ sweetheart dancing one Balanchine lead after another at Los Angeles Ballet, before making the bold move to join the corps in Boston in 2009.

When Gill was growing up near San Diego, California, her mom would drive her to Black Mountain Dance Centre. There she studied an eclectic mix of ballet styles that included Cecchetti examinations. Early on, she became fascinated by Boston and its ballet company, and in her teens she attended Boston Ballet’s summer intensives.

 Though Gill was determined to have a ballet career, her father insisted that she attend college, so she studied dance at the University of California, Irvine, with David Allan, director of ballet studies. While in college, she performed with San Diego Ballet. After graduation, she danced with Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech before returning in 2002 to California to get married. She was 21 and wanted to build a career close to her husband, Cory, who worked for a Los Angeles car rental company.

The next few years were difficult. “There were many times when it seemed like a ballet career wasn’t going to work out for me,” she says. First, she joined Ballet Pacifica during a time when the company was frequently changing artistic direction. Two years later, she moved three hours north to join State Street Ballet, which meant frequent long drives back to L.A. to see her husband.

Then, in 2006, everything changed. A friend told her about a new Los Angeles company founded by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary. She auditioned and was offered a contract. From its first season, Los Angeles Ballet thrived. And Gill quickly won the spotlight, dancing principal roles in the company’s Balanchine repertoire. “To be trusted to do that was incredible,” she says.

Three years in, she got a call from her former teacher David Allan, telling her that Boston Ballet needed a new dancer immediately. Gill loved her job, but she had never lost her childhood dream of dancing in Boston. “So I got a plane ticket and took class on Wednesday,” she says. “I was dancing with the company on Friday. And I was onstage the following Thursday.”

After the initial rush, she began to doubt herself. “When I first came to Boston, I almost felt like I was starting over, because I got scared all of a sudden,” she says. “I was in my dream company, and I had everything to lose if they ended up being disappointed in me.” Still, she was grateful to finally be dancing full-time and for the opportunity to be the breadwinner while her husband pursued his own dream, attending seminary school in Boston. (The couple are both devout Christians.) Gradually, Gill’s fears receded. 

“Corina has kept improving and adapting and has made a very strong place for herself in the company,” says Randazzo. “There’s an urgency to her approach. She’s not one to wait until the next rehearsal if she can accomplish something in the current one.”

Though her experience in the Boston corps de ballet has been very different from her time as a star of Los Angeles Ballet, Gill is happy. Last year, she danced “Kingdom of the Shades” in La Bayadère—every pinky finger had to be perfect. When the company performed, Gill witnessed the profound effect of their precision. “I tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye on the stage,” she says. “That moment of togetherness and being completely in sync with 23 other girls was the greatest of my career.”


At a Glance

Corina Gill
Schools: Black Mountain Dance Centre in San Diego; UC Irvine (Bachelor of Arts in Dance)
Former Companies: San Diego Ballet, Ballet Tech, Ballet Pacifica, State Street Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet
Favorite Role: The wedding pas de deux in David Allan’s Cinderella
Dream Role: Juliet
Dance Idol: Margot Fonteyn
























Elizabeth Abbick as the Snow Queen in Butler Ballet's "Nutcracker." Photo by Brent Smith, Courtesy Abbick.

Pointe caught up with three college dancers last spring to see what it's like juggling ballet, academics and a social life on campus. First up is Elizabeth Abbick, a student at Jordan College of the Arts, Butler University getting her BFA in dance performance and her BA in mathematics.

Abbick studying in the library. Photo by Jimmy Lafakis for Pointe.

Leawood, Kansas, native Elizabeth Abbick faced some tough choices her senior year of high school. Equally talented in math and ballet, she wanted a professional dance career but also desired to plan her post-performance life. "Butler University had always been on my radar because I knew the faculty was stellar and the students are the best of the best. I realized it could offer me both worlds," she says. Now a senior majoring in dance performance and mathematics, she hopes to work on the business side of the ballet world after her stage career.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

If you're in the NYC area and are in need of weekend plans, you might want to consider heading to the Film Society of Lincoln Center to see Jean-Stéphane Bron's documentary, The Paris Opéra. While the film was originally released in France this past spring, it just made its way to the US on October 18th, and it chronicles the 2015-2016 season at the Paris Opera.

Encompassing the entire institution (which was founded in 1669 by King Louis XIV!), dancers will particularly enjoy an inside look at the Paris Opéra Ballet—both in rehearsals and onstage. Most notably, Bron captures the then POB director Benjamin Millepied as he decides to leave his position with the company barely a year after his appointment.

Check out the full trailer below, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center's full listing of showtimes here.

Your Training
Thinkstock.

Bianca Bulle was always prone to ankle sprains. When she was 18, her recoveries became more complicated: She started experiencing Achilles tendonitis due to muscle weakness and fluid buildup in the ankle. "The last thing to get back to normal would be my Achilles, which was so incredibly tight and painful," says Bulle, now a principal at Los Angeles Ballet.

The Achilles is the body's largest tendon, attaching the bottom of the calf muscles to the back of the heel. It contracts and releases as you relevé and plié, as well as when you jump and even walk. Tendonitis, or inflammation, of the Achilles is one of the most frequently reported overuse injuries among active people, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. You'll know it by the pain or tightness at the back of the heel. If the condition gets bad enough, the tendon can rupture, which requires surgery to fix.

Achilles tendonitis is especially common among dancers on pointe, but it's not inevitable. With rest and proper conditioning, you can work to avoid it with careful technique and a commitment to cross-training.


Boston Ballet School pre-professional students. Photo by Igor Burlak Photography, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

What Causes It?

Keep reading... Show less
New York City Ballet in Marc Chagall's costume designs for Balanchine's "Firebird."

I am a self-confessed costume nerd who really needs little persuasion to travel nearly 3,000 miles to see a costume exhibition—which is what I did when I set off for California for the new exhibition at Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage. I knew Marc Chagall primarily for his sumptuous blue swirling paintings featuring violin-playing goats, his incredible ceiling at the Paris Opéra's Palais Garnier, and murals at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, so I was intrigued to see his work with ballet.

Marc Chagall (1887–1985), was born Moishe Zakharovich Shagal in Belarus. He later moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, to study art, apprenticing under famed Ballets Russes designer Leon Bakst. Chagall's work in ballet and opera, however, did not begin until he and his wife Bella arrived in the U.S. as World War II refugees in 1941.

Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage, adapted from an earlier exhibition at the Montreal Music of Art and curated by Yuval Sharon and Jason H. Thompson, is an exciting opportunity to see 41 costumes and nearly 100 designs. But it is the costumes that really steal the show. You won't see any tutus here, but instead amazing, almost cartoon-like realizations of Chagall's artwork. LACMA's exhibition runs through January 7, 2018. For those of you who can't make the trip like I did, here's a rundown of highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Tiler Peck in "Who Cares?". Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck and Emmy-winning actress Elisabeth Moss (of Mad Men and Handmaid's Tale fame) may seem like unlikely friends, until you dig a little deeper into their backgrounds. Both attended Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica and spent summers at the School of American Ballet in their youths. Moss and Peck's career paths diverged when the former fell in love with acting and Peck went on to study at SAB full time, eventually becoming the star we know today. Now, the pairs' artistic pursuits are uniting in an exciting new project.

According to Deadline.com, Moss will produce a documentary featuring Peck and her work curating BalletNOW, last summer's star-studded, critically acclaimed program at Los Angeles's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Peck was the first woman to lead BalletNOW's programming, and she brought together dancers from companies including The Royal Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Paris Opéra Ballet, putting them on stage with tappers, clowns and break dancers (sometimes simultaneously).


Keep reading... Show less
Your Best Body

Looking for creative and healthy ways to get your pumpkin fix this fall? First, back away from the pumpkin-spiced latte—the season's unofficial drink is often laced with sugary syrup and comes with a complimentary mid-rehearsal crash. Instead, try these simple snacks with puréed pumpkin. It's high in beta-carotene, which converts to immunity-boosting vitamin A, and is a good source of vitamin K, iron and fiber. You can buy it canned or make the purée from a "sugar" or "pie" pumpkin (they're commonly available at grocery stores or farm markets).

Fruit-and-Spice Toast

- Spread purée onto whole-grain toast.

- Top with sliced pear.

- Add a dash of cinnamon.

Keep reading... Show less
Pointe Stars

When Maya Plisetskaya first toured abroad with the Bolshoi Ballet, she stunned the world. Her dramatic and technical abilities were far beyond what anyone outside the Soviet Union had seen before. She quickly became an icon, symbolizing Russian ballet.

Plisetskaya was the perfect ballerina to play the Tsar Maiden in The Little Humpbacked Horse when choreographer Alexander Radunsky and composer Rodion Shchedrin recreated the classic Russian folktale in the 1960s. This vintage clip of the ballet offers a glimpse into an era gone by. Although ballet technique has advanced since then, Plisetskaya's performance is still electrifying. She is daring and agile in her manèges and fouettés, while she shows gentle purity and authentic emotion in the pas de deux with the wide-eyed Ivan. Even half a century later, this magnificent artist continues to transfix us with her radiant presence onstage. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!


Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!