Yuriko Kajiya and artists of Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch's Paquita. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.

New Year, New Goals: 6 Stars Share Their Resolutions for 2015

This story originally appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Pointe.

Whether attacking a new role with gusto or finally finishing that book, dancers are a goal-oriented lot. The New Year is a natural time to reflect on one's life and put forth goals for the season ahead. Pointe spoke with six dancers about their big dreams for 2015—and their plans extend beyond the studio and stage.


Jennifer Kronenberg: Principal, Miami City Ballet

Kronenberg in Don Quixote

Daniel Azoulay, Courtesy MCB

My goal is to complete my 20th season with MCB in one piece, feeling proud and fulfilled. It's a big deal for me. I want to look back and appreciate everything I've done, to take it all in and incorporate everything I've learned. I have to finally finish the book that I'm writing with my husband, MCB principal Carlos Guerra. It's our second book together, and this one is on pas de deux. I also plan to reserve more time to relax with my husband. Since the birth of our now 2-year-old daughter, Eva, it seems that our lives are spent either dancing or with the baby. What happened to that couple? I want to make more time for the two of us.

Yuriko Kajiya: First soloist, Houston Ballet

Kajiya in Stanton Welch's Paquita

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

I left American Ballet Theatre and joined Houston Ballet this season so that I could dance a different repertoire. I want to challenge myself to move to that next level—all of the wonderful ballets that they perform here are new to me, so it's been a huge change. I also want to learn to drive in Houston. I am giving myself two years, though. And, I am terrified. Luckily, people say it's harder to be a ballet dancer than learn to drive. I got engaged to Jared Matthews (HB first soloist) during one of my final performances at ABT, and while I'm not rushed, I think I had better start planning my wedding.

Eric Underwood: Soloist, The Royal Ballet

Underwood in Wayne McGregor's Infra

Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH

I'd like to continue exploring the idea of "Who would Eric be as a particular character in a ballet?" It's a very vulnerable place to be in. You're not playing a character, you're putting an aspect of your true self on display and that's special. My overarching goal, though, is to enjoy my dancing. So often, I'm striving so much for perfection that I forget to enjoy the moment. Since I'm often partnering, I've developed dance-based muscles and strength. I need to strengthen the upper body muscles that I don't use as much in dance to create balance. I've recently started a Pilates-based training program, which is improving my core strength and fine-tuning my upper body. As a model with a dance background, I've had a chance to direct a few fashion-related projects. I loved the experience, and it's something that I'd love to explore more in the future. Oh, and I'd like to get a dog.

Maria Chapman: Principal, Pacific Northwest Ballet

Chapman in Balanchine's Apollo

Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

After having my daughter in July, my plan (and my goals) are changing. I had all sorts of ideas of what it would be like as a new mom, but she doesn't quite follow my plan. So I'm going to try to have more flexible goals. I want to let the experience of being a mother deepen my dancing. I'm really looking forward to the Forsythe program later this season. I want to channel that super-mom feeling—I don't need sleep! When it comes to Swan Lake, I hope to bring more tenderness to the role of Odette by tapping in to my more sensitive side. My biggest hope for the New Year is to have a good work/life balance, where I have quality time with my baby. These are two similarly fleeting moments in my life: Ballet is a short career where roles only come around so often; and before I know it, my baby will be in college. My goal is to be fully present in my work and home life.

Adji Cissoko: Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Cissoko with LINES dancer Michael Montgomery

Cody Chen, Courtesy LINES

I have a goal to follow the news more closely to learn more about what's going on in the world, because it's so easy to get carried away in our ballet world.
I'm determined to improve learning from videos, since we use them a lot in rehearsal. It's already getting better, but I'm still not comfortable with it.
I want to work on my port de bras, so it's still controlled when moving fast. I intend to pay more attention to linking movement, by giving more attention to the in-between steps and by exploring the connection from one movement to another. I also plan to cook a Senegalese meal for my boyfriend. And then there's that acting and salsa class, too...

Rory Hohenstein: The Joffrey Ballet

Hohenstein with Christine Rocas in Jirí Kylián's Forgotten Land

Herbert Migdoll, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

I hope to learn to be a better partner by being more tuned-in to the emotional core of a piece. I want to focus more on the moment, and not get caught up in the extra things that take away from that experience. I'll be 33 at the end of this season, so it's time to start thinking about what's next for me. I want to be more aware of what interests me, whether it's ballet mastering, maintaining the repertoire or choreography. I also want to see more theater. I've never seen the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago—I'm absolutely determined to get there this year.Last year's New Year's resolution was to quit smoking and I did it. So this year, I am really going to enjoy my one-year anniversary. That's a goal!

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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 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

Courtesy Carrie Gaerte, modeled by 2020 Butler University graduate Michela Semenza

Concussions Are More Than a Bump on the Head. Here's What Dancers Need to Know

Your partner accidentally drops you during a lift. You collide head-on with another dancer in rehearsal. Or you're hit in the face while you're spotting a turn. Even if you didn't lose consciousness, you may have a concussion, which can occur from a direct blow to the head or rotary force of the brain moving excessively or striking the skull.

As a dancer, your first instinct may be to keep going, but you shouldn't, says physical therapist and athletic trainer Carrie Gaerte, PT, DPT, ATC, who works with Butler University in Indianapolis and at Ascension St. Vincent Sports Performance. "What's really hard for dancers is admitting that maybe something isn't right," she says. "But the big thing about concussions is that your brain is not like your ankle, shoulder or knee. When your brain has an injury, that needs to take precedence over a role or a job."

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Gone are the days when you had to skip college in order to have a successful ballet career. College ballet programs are better than ever before, providing students with the training, professional connections and performance experience they need to thrive in companies postgraduation. But given the number of elements involved in the application process, choosing the right program can feel daunting. We've broken the college application timeline down step by step to help you best approach each stage along the way.

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