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
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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