"Both professions require one to know their bodies really well, and to have discipline, like understanding how to move and make shapes. If you know your body, it’s not as awkward when you’re modeling because you’re already super conscious," says Laura Love about the connection between modeling and dance to James Lin of nymag.com's "The Cut" blog. Love performed with Los Angeles Ballet before quitting the stage a couple of years ago to become a model. The fashion world fell for her after photographer Bruce Weber shot an epic 15-page editorial with Love and New York City Ballet's Chase Finlay (our last issue's cover boy) for the April 2011 issue of French Vogue. But although Love says she enjoys having more time since giving up the disciplined life of a ballet dancer, she admits she still dances one and a half to three hours a day. You can take the girl out of the ballet world, but you can't take ballet out of the girl.
The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Ballet companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet all pledged that #BalletRelevesBlackLives, an online campaign to show solidarity with the Black community. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.
The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.
A responsible ally amplifies Black voices. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.
Participate in the Dance Industry Blackout<p>Activists are encouraging dancers to participate in the <a href="https://www.theshowmustbepaused.com/" target="_blank">Dance Industry Blackout</a>, happening today, June 2. To join the effort, first, post a plain black image to your social feeds. Then, avoid posting content for the remainder of the day. Suspend classes, rehearsals, and meetings, and use this time to identify ways to uplift black dancers and the organizations that support them. Be brave, and try to feel okay in the discomfort that these conversations may create.</p>
Attend a Dance Class Fundraiser<p>Fundraising classes are a win-win experience: you get to train with master teachers and choreographers, and your donation goes to furthering causes that help propel Black artists. Here are a few options:</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6JyeclL2o/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Peridance Capezio Center</a> will host a full week of online classes starting June 6, with funds raised going to organizations that fight against racial inequality.</li><li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA53WtYFkt5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Gibney Dance</a> will donate all online class revenue through the end of June to organizations on the front lines of the effort.</li><li>Former Nederlands Dans Theater dancer <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA3WuLqFI4m/" target="_blank">Spenser Theberge</a> will teach three ballet classes this week, and all proceeds will go to the organization Color of Change.</li><li><a href="www.Marthagraham.org" target="_blank">Martha Graham Dance Company</a> is offering all revenue from this week's online classes to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. </li><li>Instagram account <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA3vWvpl6uS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Movement for Hope</a> is hosting classes all week, with the proceeds going to a different organization fighting for equality each day.</li><li>Next week, the "<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CAyw-_lJwAp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Cindies Ballet Class</a>" (with ABT principals Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside) will be collecting donations for <a href="https://www.instagram.com/fairfightaction/" target="_blank">@fairfightaction</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/aclu_nationwide/" target="_blank">@aclu_nationwide</a>. </li></ul>
Educate YourselfSeek out works by authors of color, because their perspectives will most accurately reveal what it means to be Black in America. The arts also play a major role in reflecting society, so watching dance works and reading poems that navigate concepts like racial injustice and white privilege can have an equally educative effect on you. A good starting point is <a href="https://issuu.com/nlc.sf.2014/docs/beyondthestreets_final" target="_blank">this guide</a>, which offers 24 peaceful ways you can get involved in the fight for black liberation without protesting in the streets.<br><br>Here are some other resources. This is, of course, an incomplete list—we hope it leads you into independent research.<span></span>
Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!
You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.
To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!
Updated on 5/27/2020
Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.