A native of Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Madeline studied ballet at Southern Indiana School for the Arts and was later introduced to modern dance by Bill Evans. She received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College. As a dance videographer and editor, she has worked on projects for Bates Dance Festival and the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company in Southern California. She later served as a marketing and education manager for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Madeline is currently the managing editor of Dance Magazine and Pointe.
All photos by Jayme Thornton for Pointe, modeled by Payge Lecakes of Manhattan Youth Ballet.
A shallow plié can be frustrating for any dancer. But even if you think you've reached your limit, a deeper, juicier plié may be achievable, says Karen Clippinger, professor at California State University, Long Beach, and author of Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology. "Many dancers can improve the depth of their plié through persistent stretching and careful attention to optimal body alignment," she says. Barring any structural issues that would shorten your plié, such as bone spurs at the front of the ankle, these three exercises will help you access your full range.
Lunkina and Harrison James rehearsing Wayne McGregor's Genus. Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada
National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina shares the choreographer who pushed her to the next level and secrets of her conditioning regimen.
Wayne's world: Despite being naturally limber, when Svetlana Lunkina worked with Wayne McGregor on his incredibly elastic Chroma, the rehearsal process pushed her boundaries. "Wayne told me, 'You are so flexible, but I think you can do more,'" she says. "It was amazing to see how sometimes we think we're at our limit, but we actually could go farther." Since then, she's actively been working on her flexibility.
Dara Oda in Ben Stevenson's Alice in Wonderland with Texas Ballet Theater. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Texas Ballet Theater
These three current professionals opened up about opting for a degree first, how it impacted their careers and their favorite college memories.
Dara Oda, Texas Ballet Theater Dancer
Photo by Max Caro, Courtesy of Texas Ballet Theater
Belhaven University, BFA in dance (ballet emphasis), 2014
Growing up, Dara Oda knew she wanted to dance professionally, but she didn't feel ready to audition at the end of high school. "It was really easy to think of college as a fallback," she says. But her perception soon changed. "When I went to Belhaven and saw the level of training I would be getting, that encouraged me to pursue my dream but also be proactive and get my degree at the same time."
Photos by Jayme Thornton for Pointe. Modeled by Anna Greenberg of American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
Planks are one of the most popular exercises for core strength, but they're not just about flat abs. Julie O'Connell, physical therapist and performing arts program manager at Chicago's Athletico Physical Therapy, says that dancers can use them to maximize their conditioning: Look at the corrections you're getting in class or the choreography you're learning and mirror those concepts in your strength work.
Uliana Lopatkina seconds before going in for the headbutt. Screenshot via @cloudandvictory Instagram.
Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or Team Bunhead all the way, Cloud & Victory (aka the dancewear company with the world's cheekiest social media) has found a way for everyone to enjoy this summer's World Cup.
Words of wisdom: As a morning mental warm-up, Stephanie Rae Williams, of Dance Theatre of Harlem, recites an affirmation, like "Today is a great day" or "You can and you will." After she suffered an injury onstage, she also started saying a mantra in the wings, such as "I am strong. I am healthy. I am capable." It helps quell her nerves backstage.
DTH's Stephanie Rae Williams shares her smart conditioning tips. Photo by Rachel Neville, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem.