Boston Ballet II associate director Peter Stark takes a picture of the group after class. Stark often observes company class when artistic director Mikko Nissinen is teaching. "He'll take notes and give us feedback on what the artistic staff is looking for," says BBII dancer Caroline Buckheit. Photo by Liza Voll.

In the Studio with Boston Ballet II: Follow These Motivated Stars of Tomorrow Through a Day in the Life

For the members of Boston Ballet II, Thursday mornings are a special treat. At 9 am, well before the company arrives, they begin their own class with BBII associate director Peter Stark. It's their chance to talk through corrections and dig into the details of their technique—a welcome break from the fast-paced company environment they're just getting used to. "I really enjoy our Thursday class," says Catherine Livingston, 19, who joined BBII last fall. "It's just the 10 of us, and Peter coaches us all individually."


BBII serves as a one- to two-year transitional period for young dancers just out of ballet school. "Many people think it's about going onstage, but it's more than that," says Stark. "It's learning the corporate culture, learning how to behave in company class and rehearsal, learning how to manage your schedule—all the elements of becoming a professional at a young age." Since artistic director Mikko Nissinen's time is split between numerous company duties, Stark's job is to help the BBII dancers adjust: "They have an advocate on their side, trying to help them."

Most mornings BBII takes class with Boston Ballet, dancing next to stars like Misa Kuranaga and Lia Cirio. As a student, Livingston was used to getting a lot of corrections. "Company life is a little different, because they expect you to be in charge of yourself," she says. "Sometimes company members will come up and give us pointers, which is really awesome." The rest of the day is spent in company rehearsals, supplementing the corps and understudying, and in rehearsals for BBII's own performances. "By doing their own shows, they can practice duets and solos," says Stark, "things that push them and feed their artistic souls."

Juggling company and BBII duties can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Pointe recently went behind the scenes with this hard-working troupe to see what a typical day is like for them.

"As long as you know what you're doing and you can jump in when they need you to, people here will respect you." —Thomas Davidoff

Photo by Liza Voll.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy