Amanda DeVenuta with James Kirby Rogers in Mariana Oliveira's Beauty in Chaos

Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios, Courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Ballet Dancer Amanda DeVenuta Shares Her Favorite Exercises

Monday, fun day: Amanda DeVenuta takes Sundays to rest and dedicates Mondays, her other day off, to working out. After a solar flow yoga class, she'll grab lunch out and head to a one-on-one Pilates session. During the week, she doesn't have much free time for cross-training, though she'll slip into an open studio and dance on her own between rehearsals. Last season, for instance, a friend taught her one of the "Emeralds" variations from Jewels, which they'd run for fun and to keep up their stamina.

Takeaways from the mat: "My arms and my back have gotten a lot stronger from yoga," says DeVenuta, but it's also helped her focus on her breath and manage preshow nerves. "The wait, the anticipation, can get me more worked up than what I'm dancing. Being able to find my grounded center has been really helpful."


DeVenuta onstage in an Odette tutu

Amanda DeVenuta in Swan Lake

Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios, Courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Feel-good move: One of her favorite stretches is a slow back arch on the Pilates Cadillac. Starting in a V position, with her feet and arms in straps overhead, she lifts her hips into a suspended plank, then arches her head and torso backwards towards her toes, making a C shape with her body. "It's a very controlled stretch," she says. Not only does it release her chest and challenge her back flexibility, but it also requires her to engage her abs as she comes out of the backbend.

Gym time: "Having a strong back is very, very important, especially for women, and when we're partnered," says DeVenuta. When her schedule allows, she hits the gym primarily for her abs and back, and loves this series: For her lats, she hangs from a pull-up bar and lifts and releases her shoulders for 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps. Between sets, she'll continue hanging while lifting her knees in toward her core 10 times.

Off-season routine: During the summer, DeVenuta swims laps outdoors for stamina and gives herself a mini barre in the pool. But you'll also spot her at Kansas City Ballet, taking class with summer intensive students. "Going back to the basics helps me get stronger."

Getting Into Character

Perfume bottles on pink background

Getty Images

DeVenuta chooses a signature perfume for each role, and thumbs through Nez, a French perfume magazine, for inspiration. For Odette, she spritzed on Talc by IUNX, which Nez described "like a white veil." For Odile, she wore Mancera's Red Tobacco. "It's fiery and smoky, and it fit the character because she's sassy and fiery and evil," says DeVenuta.

Hydration Fave

Vitamin C tablet dissolving in a glass of water, with a cut orange next to it

Getty Images

For an electrolyte and hydration boost, she dissolves a Trace Minerals Max-Hydrate Immunity tablet in water. The sugar-free lemon-lime flavor contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C.

Latest Posts


Yan Revazov, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

How Staatsballett Berlin Pulled Off "Giselle" in the Age of Coronavirus

It's 8:24 am on a Tuesday. Even though morning class isn't for another hour and a half, Daniil Simkin is already at Staatsballett Berlin's studios; tests for the coronavirus, a biweekly requirement to dance with his partner, Iana Salenko, need to be submitted before 8:30 am—an inconvenient time, if you ask him. "It's annoying, but I'm just really grateful to be performing again," he says. "You do what you have to do."

Staatsballett Berlin has been back onstage since August. Return has been slow and steady, with dancers first performing solos or pas de deux (composed of people who already live together) in galas. From October 28–30, the company presented an adapted version of Patrice Bart's Giselle, its first full-length production since March. (Due to a surge of coronavirus cases in Germany, November performances have been cancelled.) Pointe took a virtual behind-the-scenes tour to learn what goes into mounting a ballet during a pandemic, including safety precautions, adjustments to choreography, and what it feels like to be back onstage.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy English National Ballet (2)

English National Ballet Preps Future Dance Leaders With Its New Mentorship Program

English National Ballet first soloist James Streeter has practically grown up with the company. Since completing his training at the English National Ballet School, he went on to join the main company in 2004, rising up the ranks to first soloist in 2018. He's danced his favorite roles, including Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet and Albrecht in Akram Khan's Giselle. He even met his wife while dancing with the company, ENB lead principal Erina Takahashi. What's left to do when you've accomplished so much as an artist? For Streeter, it meant learning more about the business side of the company. In November 2019, Streeter was named the first mentee of ENB's Dance Leaders of the Future mentorship program. The program offers ENB's dancers the opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain a greater understanding of the running of an arts organization.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Argenis Apolinario, Courtesy Black Iris Project

The Black Iris Project's Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Celebrates Strength, Beauty and Community

When the coronavirus pandemic forced choreographer Jeremy McQueen to cancel performances of his summer collaborative, The Black Iris Project, he took time to regroup—and then brainstormed on how he could continue to create and use his voice. Dedicated to sharing stories of the Black experience, he turned his attention toward an issue dear to his heart: breast cancer awareness.

According to the American Cancer Society, Black women have the highest mortality rate of breast cancer cases in the U.S. "There are a number of factors that go with that, but one of the things that concerns me, especially now that we are in a pandemic, is that a lot of people have lost their jobs or are without health care," says McQueen. He contacted friend and photographer Argenis Apolinario to arrange an outdoor shoot with 16 dancers. For the entire month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, The Black Iris Project's Concrete Roses campaign on Instagram has featured both photos and tributes that not only draw attention to early-prevention measures, but foster community and celebrate the beauty of the Black female body.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks