Ballet Stars

2018 Stars of the Corps: American Ballet Theatre's Breanne Granlund

Breanne Granlund stole the show in Michelle Dorrance's Praedicere. Photo by Marty Sohl, Courtesy ABT.

Anyone who watched American Ballet Theatre corps member Breanne Granlund during her years in the ABT Studio Company could have guessed that one day she'd be a standout in the main company. What they may not have predicted? That her breakout role would be in Praedicere, a pièce d'occasion by tap artist Michelle Dorrance, who had dancers sliding and stomping across the stage and well outside their comfort zones. In a work populated with many principals and soloists, Granlund was both the most striking and the most natural performer, tackling Dorrance's genre-bending movement with abandon and style.


Granlund in "La Bayadère." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

It makes sense: Though Granlund trained at Ballet Academy of Texas and ABT's Summer Intensive, her background in modern, jazz and tap shines through in her theatricality and willingness to jump into unfamiliar movement. Yet Granlund, who joined the corps in 2016, is not a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. She's a bona fide classicist, whose measured but expressive approach and generous arches carried her through a recent debut as a soloist Shade in La Bayadère. She's not shy about her ambitions, either. "My dream is to dance and experience every role," she says, including Odette/Odile, Juliet, Kitri and Giselle. Her other goal? To be as versatile as humanly possible. From where we're sitting, she's well on her way.

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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