Sheehan and Angelo Greco in Myles Thatcher's Foragers. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy San Francisco Ballet

2017 Stars of the Corps: Natasha Sheehan of San Francisco Ballet

Natasha Sheehan was already creating buzz when she debuted as a San Francisco Ballet corps member in December 2016. Then just 17 years old, the 5' 1" phenom had been promoted directly from her trainee class—and had just won the 2016 Erik Bruhn Prize, besting a cadre of international professionals.

At the Bruhn competition, Sheehan and SFB principal dancer Angelo Greco mesmerized in Foragers, a contemporary work created by Myles Thatcher, and danced a transcendent Giselle Act II pas de deux. "You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium," says SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson, who has kept an eye on her since she entered the SFB School at age 11. "Her work is very articulate, very beautiful. But she is also mature beyond her years."


Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.

Indeed, Sheehan sounds like a pro as she reflects on those high-stakes performances. "I was a little nervous," she says. "But I get so lost in the moment that I forget about everything else."

Sheehan, who finished online high school in June, is working towards next season's dream roles: a fairy or Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty and Justine in Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein. Whatever happens, she says, "I'm really grateful for all the opportunities."

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How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

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Isabella Boylston has been teaching on Zoom for Universal Ballet Competition, as well as on Instagram Live. (Courtesy Boylston)

(Virtual) Dancing with the Stars: How to Get the Most Out of Online Classes with Dance Celebs

When your dance studio is your second home, taking class in your actual home just isn't the same. But if there's one silver lining to the current situation, it's that some of the biggest dance stars from stage and screen have gone online to lead barres, host dance parties, demonstrate combos, and teach technique classes—some of which are completely free.

"Students can learn so much from working with the pros directly," says American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who teaches on Zoom through Universal Ballet Competition as well as offering the Cindies Ballet Class on Instagram Live with fellow ABT principal James Whiteside. "It's inspiring and eye-opening to connect with dancers all over the world."

So what benefits do these virtual master classes offer? How do they fit into your overall training regimen? And how do you even navigate all of the content that's out there? Read on for advice from the pros.

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Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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