Ballet Stars

Alban Lendorf on Being Part of The Royal Danish Ballet & American Ballet Theatre (Plus, His Favorite Role at ABT)

Lendorf in Don Quixote. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT.

What do you enjoy most: performing, or being in the studio?
The moment right after performing. It's never a perfect show, but however you feel about it, there is a satisfaction, a sense of fulfillment.

What qualities do you admire most in other dancers?
Openness. We're all afraid of being ourselves: Like actors and singers, you're being judged all the time, and you know you're being judged. You need to let go and try to be honest with yourself, because that's what appeals most to the audience and other dancers.


Joining American Ballet Theatre was a big leap. What was the attraction?
ABT is an extremely attractive company. I guested there a few times, and I really liked the way they were working. Also, on a personal level, I really wanted to spread my wings and fly, to move away to another country.

What was RDB artistic director Nikolaj Hübbe's reaction when you told him?
He'd already told me years earlier, when we went on tour to the States: One day, if you want to leave and go here, it's okay. He gave me his blessing because he knows, more than anyone—he also went to New York to dance. He saw that what is good for me is good for Danish ballet.

Lendorf in 'Le Corsaire.' Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT.

Are the audiences different in New York and in Denmark?
In New York, they can get very excited, which is really fun. It's more polite in Denmark: You're almost not allowed to clap, because people will turn around and shush you. As a dancer onstage, if people are applauding you, even if it's in the middle of a variation, they're still expressing gratitude or excitement, so I welcome it.

In rehearsal, are you more intense or relaxed?
I love to give everything in rehearsal—sometimes the coaches have to tell me to calm down because I don't need to do my variation full-out four times. I've learned lately that when you have seven hours of rehearsals, you also need to trust that you're a good dancer, to trust your technique.

Lendorf and Copeland in 'Giselle.' Photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy ABT.

What's your favorite ballet so far with ABT?
I think Giselle, because I'd never done Albrecht before. It's one of the most iconic roles, and working with Kevin McKenzie and Irina Kolpakova was a big milestone for me. I got to dance with Misty Copeland, who was also learning it for the first time, so we had that experience together.

What would you be if you weren't a dancer?
Probably an actor or a pianist. I've loved the piano since I was 4. It was actually my piano teacher's idea to try dance because I needed to learn how to play a waltz by Chopin!

What's your favorite thing to cook?
I try to bake Danish rye bread— you can get rye bread here, but it's really boring and gray! In Denmark you get this really cool version with a lot of seeds, which I try to re-create.

Health & Body
Getty Images

I have very tapered Morton's toes (longer second toes). My big toe joints are about a half centimeter shorter than my second and third toe joints, so I have a terrible time finding stability on demi-pointe. My weight lands on that second toe joint, which is pretty narrow and uncomfortable under that pressure. How can I find a more stable relevé? —Larissa

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less
News
The National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Emma Hawes in Orpheus Alive. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

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

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

Keep reading... Show less