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.

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

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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.

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

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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