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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Eighteen-year-old Sarah Patterson (foreground), with her classmates at New Ballet School. She's decided to stay home this summer to take advantage of outdoor, in-person classes. Courtesy New Ballet School.

Why Planning Summer Study This Year Is More Complicated Than Ever

When it comes to navigating summer intensives, 2021 may be more complicated for ballet students than last year. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic's spring spike in 2020, summer programs went all-virtual or had very limited capacity. This year is more of a mixed bag, with regulations and restrictions varying widely across state and county lines and changing week by week.

Between vaccines and variants, can students aim for a full calendar of intensive training at local and national summer programs?

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Chris Hardy, Courtesy LINES

Check Out These 2021 Summer Intensives Especially for Adults

After a year of shuttered studios, virtual-only classes, and waving to ballet buddies over Zoom, summer intensives are back. For adult students, packing up for a few days of intensive training might seem like a pipe dream, as many of us spent the last year trying to fit in ballet classes while juggling work and, for those of us with kids, remote learning. With the country opening up again, let's start planning (safely!) for workshops that allow us to jump into technique, conditioning and, of course, high-elbowing some new friends.

For in-person intensives, please check the studio's website for detailed health and safety guidelines, including policies on masks, cleaning/hygiene, social distancing, and the policy on having to cancel in-person programs due to COVID-19 restrictions.

CALIFORNIA

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Adult Dance Intensive (virtual only, via Zoom)

May 28–31, San Francisco

Immerse yourself in the celebrated home of Alonzo King, the artistic visionary who created LINES 39 years ago. Now in its second year as a virtual offering, this four-day workshop includes ballet, yoga, Pilates, choreography and contemporary. Students also have the option to drop in to class if they can't commit to all four days.

KENTUCKY

Lexington Ballet Adult Ballet Intensive

July 12–16, Lexington

Why should thoroughbreds have all the fun of training in the horse capital of the world? Reach new heights in your training at Lexington Ballet's Adult Ballet Intensive. Join school directors Luis and Nancy Dominguez and principal instructor Ayoko Lloyd for a five-day workshop that includes conditioning, Pilates, technique and repertoire. All classes are held in the evenings, and the program welcomes beginning through advanced students.

A group of eight smiling adult ballet students\u2014seven women and one man in the middle\u2014pose in a line and stand on their right leg in tendu crois\u00e9 devant.

A group of dancers pose at a past Lexington Ballet Adult Dance Intensive.

Ayoko Lloyd, Courtesy Lexington Ballet

Louisville Ballet Adult Summer Intensive

May 31–June 4, Louisville

Polish off a glass of sweet tea (or two), and then work up a sweet sweat at Louisville Ballet's Adult Summer Intensive. Geared towards beginning through advanced levels, students ages 18+ can take part in half- or full days of training. Classes offered include technique, pointe and jump strengthening, modern, Pilates and yoga. Students will also perform in a livestreamed performance on the final day.

MASSACHUSETTS

Brookline Ballet School Adult Summer Ballet Intensive

June 23–27, Brookline

The Red Sox and New England Patriots may get a bulk of the glory in Beantown, but the city is also a mecca for ballet. At Brookline Ballet School's Adult Summer Ballet Intensive, students (beginner or intermediate level) will spend three weeknights and two weekend mornings in technique and repertoire classes, wrapping up with an informal performance on Sunday afternoon.

NEW YORK

Kat Wildish Presents (virtual, via Zoom)

June 14–25 and July 12–23

Join master ballet teacher Kat Wildish in a virtual intensive that aims to take your training to the next level. Each day, in one-hour classes, Kat will lead students of all levels from basic to advanced in various ballet exercises. The group will be limited to 20 dancers, so each person will get personal attention.

A group of older adult ballet students in leotards, tights or leggings, stand in two lines with their left foot in B+ position and holding hands, as if rehearsing a ballet.

Kat Wildish (far left) working with adult students at Peridance Capezio Center

Matthew Venanzi, Courtesy Kat Wildish

OHIO

artÉmotion Adult Ballet Summer Workshop

June 14–19, Cleveland

Head to the Buckeye State for a week of training under the tutelage of Ballet West first soloist Allison DeBona and principal Rex Tilton. In this Adult Ballet Summer Workshop, beginner and intermediate/advanced students will fine-tune their skills in two classes every morning: a 90-minute technique class followed by a one-hour class in one of the following disciplines: pointe/pre-pointe, acting, men's and women's variations, conditioning.

PENNSYLVANIA

Amy Novinski

May 24–28 and June 28–July 2, Philadelphia

Those interested in the Vaganova technique may want to check out Amy Novinski's Adult Workshops. For the five-day May workshop, newbie dancers can look forward to classes devoted to ballet, jazz and yoga. For those more advanced, the June workshop offers more rigorous technique, contemporary ballet, pre-pointe/beginner pointe and jazz.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ballet Academy of Charleston Adult Summer Intensive

July 26–30 and August 2–6, Charleston

Embrace the low-country charm in historic Charleston, where a weeklong Adult Summer Intensive at the Ballet Academy of Charleston invites beginning through advanced students to take classes in technique, stretching/Pilates/yoga, pre-pointe or pointe (for advanced students), variations, jazz, modern, contemporary and choreography. You may choose the half-day or full-day program.

TEXAS

Houston Ballet Adult Intensive

June 1–5, Houston

For intermediate/advanced students with at least three years of ballet training, Houston Ballet's Adult Intensive might be the perfect place to hone your skills. The school has two-, three- or five-day options, and includes ballet technique, variations, yoga and Zumba.

UTAH

May 31–June 5, Salt Lake City

Ballet West welcomes students of all levels to artÉmotion's one-week Adult Ballet Summer Intensive. Classes include ballet, contemporary, pointe, jazz, modern, acting, and men and women's variations. Available in full-day or half-day options, those dancing only in the morning will take two 90-minute technique classes. The full-day experience offers the opportunity to be choreographed on for an in-studio performance on Saturday, June 5. All students will also have a professional dance photo shoot with Logan Sorenson.

A group of four men in dance practicewear face the right corner of the room and raise their arm as if beckoning someone. Three of the men stand in parallel, which the man in the middle sits in a wheelchair.

A men's class at artÉmotion Adult Summer Ballet Intensive

Logan Sorenson, Courtesy artÉmotion

INTERNATIONAL

The August Ballet Retreat in Leeds

August 28–30, Leeds, UK

The three-day August Ballet Retreat in Leeds offers classes for students of all abilities. The mornings are devoted to technique, and in the afternoon, students will focus on repertoire. In the past, The Ballet Retreat has taught solos from Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and Giselle. One detail is still tentative: If the retreat is unable to take place in person due to the pandemic, it will be offered virtually over Zoom.

Morlaix International Adult Ballet Camp

July 2–10, Morlaix, France

The Morlaix International Adult Ballet Camp is in the heart of France's Brittany region. In this full-day intensive, intermediate through advanced-level students will be led by an international faculty. Dancers can look forward to morning ballet classes and rehearsals in the afternoon. The week of training wraps up with a performance of Bournonville's Napoli at a nearby theater. Please contact the school for information about room and board.

Still shot by cinematographer Benjamin Tarquin, Courtesy Post:ballet

10 Online Ballet Performances to Catch in April

Spring is in full bloom with another round of exciting digital dance offerings. This month, companies across the country are releasing world premieres, season finales, artistic collaborations and more. We've rounded up some highlights below.

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