Ballet Stars

The 8 Ballet Dogs You Need to be Following on Instagram

Ingrid Silva and her dog, Frida Kahlo. Nathan Sayers.

You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).


Cora and Maya (American Ballet Theatre's Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda)

Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda's pups Cora and Maya update their profile pretty frequently. Often accompanying Lane to the ABT studios, they can also be seen using tutus or piles of pink tights as dog beds.

Frida Kahlo (Dance Theatre of Harlem's Ingrid Silva)

French bulldog Frida Kahlo follows her mom, Ingrid Silva, almost everywhere. Frida's profile shows that she enjoys long walks in the park and dressing up in matching costumes with Silva for Halloween. Frida even kept Silva company during her Pointe cover shoot. With over 11,000 followers, we think Frida's doing pretty well.

Zipper Fly DeBona-Tilton (Ballet West's Allison DeBona and Rex Tilton)

A self-described ballet lover, this Salt Lake City-based Shih Tzu seems to live a pretty good life. He's especially fond of pointe shoes and pumpkin spice lattes.

Pickles (ABT's Lauren Post)

While you can follow Pickles on her own Instagram page (it is 2019 after all), she's also frequently featured on owner Lauren Post's profile. Like most ABT dogs, Pickles seems to spend a lot of time lounging in the studio. She might sometimes have bad hair days, but she's not letting them get in her way.

Quincy Peanut (New York City Ballet's Isabella LaFreniere)

NYCB pup Quincy seems to have a voracious appetite for ice cream (also seen here and here). Like most millennials, Quincy also has a soft spot for Harry Potter.

Leonidas (The Mikhailovsky Ballet's Julian Mackay)

With his dad Julian Mackay living so far away from his native Montana, Leonidas (Leo for short) is glad to be there to keep him company in Russia. Leo's profile shows him to be highly cultured. In addition to ballet, he has a taste for fine art and loves spending time in the theater. He's also very well traveled.

Riley (ABT's Devon Teuscher)

Unlike many of his canine peers, Riley doesn't have his own profile, but he does have his own hashtag, #thelifeofri, which many ABT dancers use to post shots of him. He can be seen making cameos in rehearsal videos with stars like James Whiteside, or hanging out in his favorite spot; under the piano, on a tutu.

Ballet Careers
Sisters Isabella Shaker and Alexandra Pullen. Photo Courtesy Alexandra Pullen.

This is the second in a series of articles this month about ballet siblings.

My mom was in the corps de ballet at American Ballet Theatre. A generation later, so was I. As if that's not enough for one family, my younger sister Isabella Shaker dreams of following in our dancing footsteps. Her endeavor, and her status as somewhat of a child prodigy, stirs feelings of pride and apprehension within me, since I have lived through the ups and downs of this intense yet rewarding career.

Ballet will always be my first love and the thing that brings me the most joy, and my dance career has opened endless opportunities for me. However, it's a difficult career path that requires a lifelong dedication. It's super competitive and can lead to body image issues, physical injury and stress. Most dancers will face some of these problems; I definitely dealt with all three.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Jayme Thornton

It's National Bullying Prevention Month—and Houston Ballet breakout star Harper Watters is exactly the advocate young dancers facing bullying need. Watters is no novice when it comes to slaying on social media, but his Bullying Prevention Month collaboration with Teen Vogue and Instagram is him at his most raw, speaking about his own experiences with bullies, and how his love of dance helped him to overcome adversity. Watters even penned an incredible op-ed for Teen Vogue's website, where he talks candidly about growing up queer. Catch his amazing anti-bullying video here—and, as Watters says, "Stay fabulous, stay flawless, stay flexible, but most importantly, stay fearless."

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News
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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