Ballet Stars

Celebrate These Quirky February Holidays with Ballet Videos

The Royal Ballet's Marianela Nuñez in "Swan Lake." Image via YouTube.

Need an excuse for a YouTube ballet break? Probably not, but just in case, here are videos to celebrate some of this month's off-the-beaten-path holidays.


Lame Duck Day (February 6)

Did you know that February 6 is Lame Duck Day? "Lame duck" can only mean one thing in the realm of ballet: those love-them-or-hate-them turns that pop up in center combos and onstage in Odette's Act II variation. Enjoy Marianela Nuñez's dreamy sequence of lame ducks (aka pique turn en dehors) in The Royal Ballet's 2009 Swan Lake. It's not hard to see why she was chosen to reprise the role in the company's much anticipated new production last year. (When you think about it, though, it's kind of ironic that the Swan Queen performs "lame ducks," isn't it? Then again, the Little Swans dance the "step of the cat"!)

Umbrella Day (February 10)

Apparently we also have a day to honor umbrellas. You know the saying about learning to dance in the rain—and if you can dance in the rain with your crush, it's twice the fun! In this adorable, romantic pas de deux from the 2011 Bolshoi Ballet Academy's production of La fille mal gardée, then-students Joy Womack and Mario Labrador dance under an umbrella as Lise and Colas. #OnstageRelationshipGoals

Cherry Pie Day (February 20)

February 20 is Cherry Pie Day! There aren't a lot of ballets that depict eating onstage. But in this playful, lighthearted moment from Sir Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country, former Royal Ballet principals Sarah Wildor and Bruce Sansom share a snack of cherries. Then, they burst into a joyous, energetic duet (a little sugar will do that, right?).

Public Sleeping Day (February 28)

This February 28th, we honor the power nap. Princess Aurora's tips for sleeping in public? Pick a comfy tutu to nap in, skip the covers and, above all, remember to turn out and point your feet. In this 2015 clip, Royal Ballet principal Sarah Lamb rocks the technique of onstage balletic sleeping as Steven McCrae's Prince arrives to end the 100-year nap and get everyone back on their dancing feet again.

Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
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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News
Dane Shitagi, Courtesy Chronicle Books

Earlier this year, we shared that photographer Dane Shitagi's Ballerina Project—his gorgeous, ongoing collection of dance photos that have dominated our Instagram feeds for years—would be coming to an end. But all is not lost—starting September 17, you can enjoy over 170 of these photographs in Ballerina Project, a stunning new book showcasing Shitagi's work.

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News
From left: Kathryn Posin Dance Company members Daniel White, Claire Mazza and Momchil Mladenov in Evolution: The Letters of Charles Darwin. Nan Melville, Courtesy Posin.

Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution might not seem like a natural fit for the ballet stage. But that's exactly the topic of one of choreographer Kathryn Posin's three new ballets, scheduled to premiere at New York City's 92nd Street Y September 13-14.

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