Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Ballet Stars
Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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Ballet Training
Getty Images

I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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Health & Body

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop explains how to find the best fitting pointe shoes when recovering from a broken metatarsal, plus extra tips on recurring injuries, and getting over the box of your shoes.

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Ballet Stars
New York City Ballet's Mira Nadon as the Courage Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

Here are 10 corps de ballet dancers we're swooning over. Click their names and photos to learn more!

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News
Unity Phelan and director Chad Stahelski on the set of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Photo by Niko Tavernise, Courtesy Lionsgate

When New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan appeared as a ballerina training to become an assassin in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum earlier this year, it could have easily been a one-off. This particular backstory has become prevalent at the movies over the last few years—take Jennifer Lawrence's character in Red Sparrow and Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though it's become its own trope, it's also been dealt with in a fairly cursory manner.

But we had an inkling that this might not be the last we heard of the idea in the John Wick franchise—and it seems our suspicions that Parabellum was testing the waters for a female-led, ballet-infused spin-off were correct.

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Ballet Careers
Sanjay Saverimuttu with Tiffany Bovard in rehearsal for Alun Jones' The Sleeping Beauty. Courtesy Louisville Ballet.

When Sanjay Saverimuttu graduated from college, he had no idea that a professional ballet career lay in store. After training on a pre-professional ballet track throughout high school, Saverimuttu earned a degree in biology from Stanford University. But college only reignited the 29-year-old Louisville Ballet dancer's love of the art form.

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Ballet Stars
Kristie Kahns. Hair and makeup by Kristina Feyerherm.

This is Pointe's Fall 2019 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.


Precious Adams is sitting in a deck chair in the sunshine of London's Olympic Park. She's on a break from rehearsing Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella with English National Ballet, where she's been polishing up her comic timing for the role of Sister Edwina (they're not "ugly" sisters in this production). "Working with Christopher Wheeldon is a massive tick on my bucket list," smiles the 24-year-old as she tucks into her lunch.

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Ballet Stars
Yan Revazov, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

When Yuria Isaka danced the grand pas de deux in Staatsballett Berlin's The Nutcracker alongside Daniil Simkin last winter, you never would have known it was her first season as a professional; a graduate of the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco, the fledgling corps member dances with a refined maturity and pristine clarity, exuding a particularly honest and infectious joy. "It's only now starting to sink in that I got to dance Clara," admits Isaka, a native of Japan. "Daniil is so imaginative and kind, and really took time to work with me on the role. It was amazing to dance with him!"

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Ballet Stars
Jasmine Jimison as the Fairy of Playfulness in The Sleeping Beauty. Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Jasmine Jimison is just 17, but she's already experiencing a fairy-tale ballet career: In her first year as a San Francisco Ballet apprentice, Jimison made sparkling main- stage debuts as Cupid in Don Quixote, the Ballerina Doll in The Nutcracker and, in The Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy of Playfulness and the Enchanted Princess, partnered by principal dancer Esteban Hernandez in the Bluebird pas de deux. Her tenure as an apprentice came to an abrupt end when artistic director Helgi Tomasson promoted her to the corps in March, just eight weeks into the season.

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News
NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan and NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford. Christopher Lane, Courtesy NYCB.

After a year and a half of tumult at New York City Ballet, the company is finally settling into a groove under new artistic director Jonathan Stafford and associate artistic director Wendy Whelan, who lead their first full season starting this fall.

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News
The Mariinsky Ballet in Paquita. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Mariinsky Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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popular
Adelaide Clauss and Tamás Krizsa perform Swan Lake's Act II pas de deux. Gene Witkowski, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

Watching Adelaide Clauss dance intoxicates the senses, a visual equivalent of a flower's perfume. This past spring, while performing Swan Lake's Act II pas de deux at a benefit in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, her melding of grace and technique revealed her to be an artist of great promise. Her delicately positioned arms and hands floated as if to frame the beauty of ballet itself. Clauss was in her element: "I really love the demands of classical adagio," she says.

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Ballet Stars
Mayumi Enokibara in Miami City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB.

As a first-timer in the corps of Concerto Barocco, Mayumi Enokibara exercised a basic tenet: to find joy in a challenge. Though in the end she felt exhausted by the nonstop, intricately entwined Balanchine steps, the Brazilian-born ballerina—in her fourth year, following an apprenticeship, at Miami City Ballet—calls that performance last season's high point. "I loved giving it my all!" she says.

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Ballet Stars
Edson Barbosa in Swan Lake. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

In Yuri Possokhov's premiere of Anna Karenina at The Joffrey Ballet last February, Edson Barbosa opened the full-length with a thrilling solo. It's a sweeping, grandiose passage for the ill-fated station guard, who foreshadows Anna's tragic end. The role appealed to this Brazilian dancer's sensational stage presence and lusty technique. In fact, the three major roles he's danced for The Joffrey (the others being Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet and Hilarion in Giselle) have all had a flair for the dramatic. "I love dying onstage," he says.

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Ballet Stars
David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in Romeo and Juliet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH.

Yesterday, The Royal Ballet announced that David Hallberg will be joining the company as a principal guest artist for the 2019–20 season.

Hallberg is already a familiar face at The Royal. As a guest last season he danced alongside beloved partner and Royal principal Natalia Osipova in Sir Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. This year, Hallberg will continue to take on roles opposite Osipova. They'll perform MacMillan's Manon on October 15 and 19. On November 20, Hallberg will make his Royal Opera House debut as The Sleeping Beauty's Prince Florimund with Osipova as Princess Aurora. In March of 2020, he'll return to star in the company's first revival of Liam Scarlett's new production of Swan Lake.

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Ballet Stars
Tommie Kesten in The Sleeping Beauty with Lucius Kirst. Rich Sofranko, Courtesy Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

With her shining stage presence and high-kicking moxie, first-year Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre corps member Tommie Kesten is hard to miss. In the company's recent premiere of Jordan Morris' The Great Gatsby, Kesten didn't need her bright green flapper dress to stand out in the corps—her playfulness and easy swagger shone on their own.

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News
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

In September 2004, a pair of siblings graced the Dance Magazine cover. Inside, the accompanying story wrote, "When the Cornejos dance, it's never merely a variation—it's a complete performance."

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Ballet Stars
From left: Nicole, Claire and Emma Von Enck. Courtesy Texas Ballet Theater.

It's rare to find three siblings who wind up in the same career. But Nicole, Claire and Emma Von Enck prove that it's not only possible, but that it comes with major benefits. Nicole, 28, is a member of Texas Ballet Theater, while Claire, 26, and Emma, 22, are in the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet. Over time, the three sisters' shared passion has only brought them closer together; today they consider themselves each other's biggest cheerleaders.

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Ballet Training

Argentinian ballerina Paloma Herrera, who is now the artistic director of Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in her home country, joined American Ballet Theatre at just 16 years old and was promoted to principal at 19. Over the course of her 24-year career with ABT, she became known for her maturity and range as an artist. Still, ingenue roles remained one of her hallmarks due to her ability to portray youth with honesty. She even danced Giselle for her ABT retirement performance. In this clip highlighting the first act variation in Giselle, she conveys the character's innocence with unaffected sincerity.

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Ballet Stars
Christopher D'Ariano with PNB soloist Leah Merchant in Robyn Mineko Williams' The Trees The Trees. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

During a recent performance of Matthew Neenan's Bacchus at Pacific Northwest Ballet, corps de ballet dancer Christopher D'Ariano stood out not only for his elegant lines and crisp jumps; audiences couldn't help but notice his unruly dark hair that defied any attempts to slick it back.

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Ballet Stars
Mira Nadon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

You can't miss Mira Nadon when she's onstage: The 18-year-old, who joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice in fall 2017 and became a corps member in 2018, is tall and raven-haired, and dances with fullness and lyricism, carried along by the music. At her 2017 School of American Ballet Workshop performance, she was the female lead in the dramatic second movement of Balanchine's Scotch Symphony. New York dance critic Robert Gottlieb, of The Observer, described her performance as "delicate yet authoritative, charming but never cute, fully expressive but never pushing, lyrical and strong." This past spring, as a demi-soloist in that ballet with NYCB, she projected those same qualities. "It felt so good to be in that music again, after spending three months in it at SAB," she says.

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News
Juliet Doherty in a scene from High Strung Free Dance. Cos Aelenei, Courtesy GVN Releasing

For a classically trained ballerina, Juliet Doherty hasn't had the most conventional career. The New Mexico native, who was initially trained by her mother at her grandmother's studio, spent three years as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular before heading to the San Francisco Ballet School, where she eventually became a trainee. But rather than join a company, Doherty has since pursued projects that blend her love of ballet and acting. In 2014 she worked alongside Tiler Peck in the Susan Stroman–directed musical Little Dancer, and later landed the lead role in the indie movie Driven to Dance.

Now, she's about to star in a major feature film: High Strung Free Dance, opening in movie theaters October 11. Doherty plays Barlow, a young ballerina who lands a spot in a new Broadway show called Free Dance. Along the way, a love triangle brews between Barlow, a hard-scrabble pianist named Charlie (Harry Jarvis) and the show's temperamental choreographer Zander (Thomas Doherty, no relation). Produced by Michael and Janeen Damian—the creators of 2016's High Strung starring Keenan Kampa—this dance-packed film features choreography by Tyce Diorio and SFB soloist Myles Thatcher.

We caught up with Doherty to talk about her experience making the movie, as well as her unique career path.

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Ballet Stars
Sage Humphries and Lauren Herfindahl in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Onstage, Boston Ballet artist Sage Humphries is notable for her elegant poise and liquid grace. But offstage, she's a creative whirlwind: model, singer/songwriter and talented emerging choreographer. Amidst the demands of rehearsal and performance last fall, she choreographed her first major work, a deeply personal quintet set to original music by her brother Michael and showcased on Boston Ballet's BB@home: ChoreograpHER 2018. And this past May, the company asked her to create a new work for the music festival Boston Calling. Her White, commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' White Album, shared the festival spotlight with the likes of Tame Impala and Twenty One Pilots. "It was amazing to be part of that circle of artists who already had a huge fan base," she recalls. "The fact that Boston Ballet could be amongst that and get people excited about the art form was so special."

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Site Network
(From left) Gonzalo Garcia, Sara Mearns, Isabella Boylston, and Calvin Royal III in Ezra Hurwitz's "Mobile Devices," courtesy Ezra Hurwitz

Apple—continuing their sensational streak of genius dance collabs—has done it again, with a sleek promo video for the new iPhone that features the ballet world's best and brightest.

The beautiful short film, titled "Mobile Devices" (we see what they did there!), is directed by former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz. It follows a day in the life of American Ballet Theatre soloist Calvin Royal III and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns, and also includes appearances by NYCB principal Gonzalo Garcia and ABT principal Isabella Boylston. "I wanted to showcase the experience of an African American male ballet dancer alongside the more traditionally featured white female ballerina," says Hurwitz, who frequently collaborates with stars of the dance world. "That said, I also wanted to keep it fun and visually driven, and make it a real celebration of these dancers' artistry, athleticism and determination."

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