Photo by Mary Sohl, Courtesy American Ballet Theatre.

2017 Stars of the Corps: Rachel Richardson of American Ballet Theatre

Petite and fine-boned, American Ballet Theatre's Rachel Richardson can look younger than her 21 years, vulnerable in a way that makes you want to give her a hug. That is, until she begins to move. Elegant and precise, with beautifully articulated legs and feet, Richardson radi- ates authority onstage, commanding attention rather than asking for it. There's a lot of power in that delicate frame.

Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy of ABT.


A star of ABT's Studio Company, Richardson at first felt a bit awed by the big-pond environment of the main troupe, which she joined in 2015. "In the beginning, I was scared even to choose a spot in the center during class," she says. But early opportunities—particularly the Breadcrumb Fairy and the Gold Fairy in Alexei Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty, roles she danced soon after becoming a full company member—helped her find her voice. "Those parts pushed me to acknowledge that I had valid things to say as a dancer and an artist," she says.

Richardson in Romeo and JulietPhoto by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy of ABT

While her small stature makes her a natural fit for fairy roles, Richardson is eager to explore parts that go against type. "I'd like to dance things I can't immediately imagine myself doing," she says. "Something powerful would be fun—something mean. I'm sure I can do more than I think I can, and I want to start to see all the different sides of myself."

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How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Ballet companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet all pledged that #BalletRelevesBlackLives, an online campaign to show solidarity with the Black community. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

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Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


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 5/27/2020

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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