Just for fun

These Ballet Spoofs of the World Cup Are Pure GOOOOOAAAAAALLLS!

Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or Team Bunhead all the way, Cloud & Victory (aka the dancewear company with the world's cheekiest social media) has found a way for everyone to enjoy this summer's World Cup.


Exhibit A: Is this a special halftime show?

Nope. It's just the Mariinsky's dashing Xander Parish partnering Ada Gonzalez, soloist with the Bucharest National Opera. It's very clear what's going on here: The pair decided to rehearse while the English and Panamanian teams took a contact improvisation class. (Couldn't someone manage these studio schedules better?) But you have to appreciate the footballers' transfer of weight. They're really going for it!


A Double Pas de Deux

In this next collaboration, Nicholas Otamendi of Argentina is drawing major inspiration from longtime Mariinsky principal Uliana Lopatkina. Or is it the other way around? We're giving this 9/10 points for creativity, but Otamendi could afford to work on his swan arms.

And finally, GOOOOAAAALLL!

The Royal Ballet's Marianela Nuñez is pure perfection. She can do classical. She can do contemporary. She can do soccer. Wait, what?! At least in Cloud & Victory's wildest dreams she can. The fleet-footed ballerina brings extra flair to her Kitri in London, and she somehow ends up scoring a goal in Russia. Now that's a truly powerful développé.

Larke Johnson in rehearsal. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Marie and Franz have a new guest at their Christmas Eve party this year. Emma Lookatch and Larke Johnson, both dancers in the Adaptive Dance Program at Joffrey Academy of Dance: Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, are alternating in the new role of Worker Girl. It is a permanent part created specifically for students with disabilities in Christopher Wheeldon's version of The Nutcracker at The Joffrey Ballet.

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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Ballet Training
Ballet Austin Academy students practice priouette en dehors. Annie Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Michelle Martin, associate artistic director of Ballet Austin, says that pirouettes en dehors from fourth position allongé are full of "traps" for dancers. Whether you trained with a straight back leg or have never tried it before, Martin's analytical breakdown will help you master this basic but dazzling turn.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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