Though the World Ballet Competition based in Orlando, FL, is already under way, it's not too late for for you to start watching from the comfort of your own couch. A live stream of the competition is available through Saturday, June 16, on both the competition's website and Facebook page. Missed the first two days of the competition? You can watch them in full here.
A few weeks ago, we shared the first five vlogs from master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee's West Coast tour. Now, Lee is back with videos from four California cities—Morgan Hill, San Francisco, Roseville and Oakhurst—to wrap up her 20-day tour. Lee shares a bit about the training at each studio, as well as advice on what dancers should look for in their first pair of pointe shoes and what to do if your feet are very different from each other. Lee also touches base with a physical therapist for advice on the most common pointe shoe injuries. Later this summer, Lee will take her wares to summer intensives around the country—stay tuned!
South Valley Dance Arts in Morgan Hill, CA
Lee reports from the suburbs of San Jose on the diverse training methods at South Valley Dance Arts, which range from Balanchine to Cecchetti to Ukrainian folk dance.
If you are a dancer in high school, listen up! The National YoungArts Foundation has announced that now, through October 12, it is accepting applications to become a 2019 YoungArts winner. Every year the foundation identifies talented teenage artists across multiple disciplines, providing monetary awards up to $10,000, mentorship opportunities (with renowned professionals like Mikhail Baryshnikov), and a chance to participate in regional workshops in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. To qualify, dancers need to be between the ages of 15–18 or in high school grades 10–12, as well as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Is it necessary to have significant experience in Balanchine technique to dance in any or most ballet companies in the U.S.? —Madeline
It depends. If you're interested in dancing with New York City Ballet, the company co-founded by Balanchine himself, you'll need substantial training in the style. (Besides, NYCB usually only hires from its affiliated School of American Ballet.) Balanchine experience would also benefit you if you want to audition for other companies that regularly perform his work, such as Miami City Ballet or Pacific Northwest Ballet. Of course, there are always exceptions—I was not initially trained in the style, and I went on to dance with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet later in my career. But I had to go through a challenging learning curve.
I'm 15 and want to be a professional ballet dancer. I have ballet five times a week, contemporary once a week and rehearsals year-round. It is 15 to 20 hours a week. When I hear about dancers doing 30-plus hours a week, I worry that I dance too little. Is my schedule enough? —Caroline
Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop is taking her wares on a tour of the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Lee is visiting dance schools along the way in her mobile pointe shoe van to fit ballet students. Check out her first five vlogs from the road, filled with picturesque scenery, fun facts and fitting tips—and stay tuned for the next round.
Jeanne Robinson Dance Arts in Salinas, CA
Among the attractions in Salinas that Lee points out is the childhood home of famous novelist John Steinbeck.
Last month, Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program student Elisabeth Beyer came in first place in the senior women's category at the Youth America Grand Prix's New York City Finals. Pointe touched base with the 16-year-old Rye, New York native to hear about her advice for competitions, how she stays calm backstage, and what's next for this young dancer.
What made YAGP different this year?
I was so excited for YAGP this year because it was my first year as a senior. I started YAGP when I was nine, so this was my seventh year doing it; it's always been a part of my life as a dancer.
Which variations did you perform?
For regionals I did Coppelia Act III variation, Grand Pas Classique and a contemporary piece by Barry Kerollis, and then for finals I did Grand Pas Classique again and a contemporary variation by Joshua Beamish. For the final round I did La Esmeralda. You don't have to do a different variation at finals, but my teachers and I wanted to show off different sides of my dancing.
"I never wanted to stop dancing, I just wanted the bullying to stop," says American Ballet Theatre corps member Patrick Frenette in the trailer for Danseur, a new feature-length documentary about the social stigmatization young men face in ballet. His words shed light not only on the prevalence of harassment boys endure from peers outside the studio, but also their passion and determination to keep dancing in spite of it. The film, produced by NuArts Foundation, features interviews with ballet students, teachers and directors, as well as professional dancers like James Whiteside, John Lam, Derek Dunn and Harper Watters. And while screening dates are yet to be determined, Danseur has already generated a lot of social media buzz.