Bunheads: The Perfect Partner

Finding the perfect pas de deux partner is, in some ways, similar to searching for your ideal pair of pointe shoes. At first, you’re tempted to decide based on the shimmer of the satin or the prestige of the brand name. However, you soon realize the need to look beyond the superficial, and choose the something that offers unwavering support and makes you look your best. During last night’s episode of "Bunheads," Boo learned that there's more to a good partner than what meets the eye.

 

After being cast as Ginger Rogers in the upcoming recital, Boo is waltzing on cloud nine. Not only is she overjoyed to dance the coveted role of Ginger, but she’s thrilled that her Fred Astaire will be Jordan, one of the best dancers in Paradise. Unfortunately, Jordan does not share Boo’s excitement: He drops out of the show, leaving Madame Fanny to replace him with the awkward Carl. Boo is unimpressed. But once they start to dance, she sees that what he lacks in height and technique, he makes up for in passion, dependability and enthusiasm. It’s impossible to tell if someone will make a great partner until you give them a chance and see how you work together. If Boo had ignored Carl, she might have missed out on finding the Fred to her Ginger and dancing what I’m sure will be a magical duet.

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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