A young Robbie Fairchild, posing for a tap number. Courtesy Fairchild.

12 Childhood Pics and Videos That Prove These Stars Were Born to Dance

When you hear names like Maria Kochetkova, Sutton Foster and Robbie Fairchild, you immediately picture flashes of them as the fully-formed, phenomenal performers they are today.

But even when they were kids, they had a glimmer of their future star power, giving a glimpse of what was to come. Thankfully for Instagram, we've got the pictures and home videos to prove it.


Robbie and Megan Fairchild

Now: Talk about talent running in the family. Sister Megan is now a principal at New York City Ballet, while her brother Robbie has since departed NYCB, delving in to Broadway and film, including the much-anticipated Cats film.

Then: The sibling duo was putting on their own shows at home, with Megan lending her old costume to her Robbie. Mid-performance, Robbie even gets snot rubbed off his face.

Diana Vishneva

Now: Full-on ballet royalty, at 43, she's still performing with the Mariinsky and runs her contemporary dance festival, CONTEXT.

Then: Back in 1994, 18-year-old Vishneva gave a welcome address to kick off the new school year at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. It was an honor awarded to the program's most promising senior student.

Natalia Arja and Renan Cerdeiro

Now: The longtime friends are colleagues at Miami City Ballet, where Arja is a principal soloist and Cerdeiro is a principal.

Then: Back home in their native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the pair was chummy, seizing the opportunity to dance together even outside of class.

James Whiteside

Now: Whiteside is his own brand of triple threat: a principal at American Ballet Theatre, pop performer JbDubs and a choreographer.

Then: He was a regular teen who admittedly loved dancing to Britney Spears. We can't say we're surprised.

Daniil Simkin

Now: An international ballet superstar—currently a principal at Staatsballett Berlin and American Ballet Theatre—known for his bounding jumps and sailing turns

Then: A promising young dancer, known for his bounding jumps and sailing turns. Some things never change.

Catherine Hurlin

Now: A captivating soloist who's scooping up roles at American Ballet Theatre, Hurlin is also known by her nickname, Hurricane.

Then: At age 3, Hurlin seemed to be channeling Isadorables vibes, posing in a flowing vintage dress.

Kathryn Morgan

Now: Morgan leaps back into company life this season as a soloist at Miami City Ballet.

Then: From a young age, she was cheesing it up and already feeling at home in a mess of tulle and sequins.

Kyle Abraham

Now: The busy MacArthur "genius" choreographer is creating work this season for his own company, A.I.M, plus Misty Copeland, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Then: Abraham was that cool kid in high school who was also deeply intellectual. A longtime music lover, he played cello as a teen.

Maria Kochetkova

Now: Though the ballet maverick has struck out on her own, leaving traditional company life behind, Kochetkova continues to perform around the world.

Then: While most ballet students dance in a Nutcracker growing up, very few can say their first was at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Welcome to the life of Kochetkova.

Ryan Heffington

Now: Heffington has molded a career out of making the awkward enticingly cool, whether he's choreographing for Sia or crafting the central "five movements" for Netflix's "The OA."

Then: He was a spiffy dance student who appeared several times on "Star Search."

Karina González

Now: A longtime principal at Houston Ballet, the audience favorite also became a mother last year.

Then: As a kid in Venezuela, González was literally bending over backwards to dance. After showing up at the wrong address for dance lessons, we're extremely glad she was swiftly redirected to the right school.

Sutton Foster

Now: Foster is preparing to strike Broadway gold once again for the 2020 revival of The Music Man, in which she'll star opposite Hugh Jackman.

Then: Based on this early tap routine, Sutton was clearly destined for Broadway.

Latest Posts


Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names and photos to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami CIty Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Academy's New Director on Dream Building During COVID-19

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks