A Sterling Year

Jeraldine Mendoza has had quite the first season at The Joffrey—and it just got better. The 20-year-old dancer was chosen as the first performing artist in Chicago to win a grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund in the Performing and Visual Arts. The award comes with $50,000 and a load of prestige.

 

"I'm really, really honored," says Mendoza, noting that it feels especially rewarding since she was nominated for the prize by Joffrey artistic diretor Ashley Wheater and executive director Chistopher Clinton Conway. The company seems eager to tap her talent: She was cast as Queen of the Dryads in the Joffrey's new Don Quixote by Yuri Possokhov, she performed one pas de deux in Edward Liang's Age of Innocence and another in Wayne McGregor's Infra. ("It was amazing to work with Wayne," she says. "He moves like this insane creature; when he demonstrates, it's like he has no bones in his body. And he talks really fast, but somehow never mumbles and always makes sense!")

 

Mendoza has already developed a plan for what she's going to do with the grant. After The Joffrey's season ends in a couple of weeks, she'll head home to San Francisco to train with her former teacher, Galina Alexandrova at City Ballet School. From there, she'll fly to her old stomping grounds in Moscow to take class at the Bolshoi, where she also studied, then hop on a train to St. Petersburg. Her last stop will be London, specifically the Freed store. "I'm going to have them customize a pointe shoe for me," she explains. "I haven't yet found a shoe that fits like a glove. When I point my foot, the knuckles of my toes stick out so it looks like I'm going over even when I'm not. I want something with a harder box, something that accentuates my arch." It seems Mendoza will also have quite the off-season this year.

   

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Robert Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks