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David Hallberg: Ballet’s New Crossover Superstar?

May has been a very busy month for American Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg. In case returning to the NY stage after a two year absence to dance the lead role of Prince Coffee in Ratmansky's Whipped Cream wasn't enough, Hallberg recently shared that he's publishing a memoir. Oh, and he's the new face of Nike.


Hallberg's memoir, A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back, which will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is set to come out on November 7. The book will cover the ups and downs of his career, from the Bolshoi to ABT to recovering from a severe ankle injury. There's a long history of ballet dancers writing memoirs, most recently Michaela DePrince's 2014 Taking Flight (also newly the face of a major sportswear company). Memoir helps establish a dancer's celebrity and immortalize their stories, and it certainly seems that Hallberg has garnered enough success in the past few years to fall in line with those before him. Nike certainly thinks so…

Women's Wear Daily announced last week that Hallberg will model for NikeLab's latest campaign in a series of photo and video ads that will run from June 1-10 in a New York City exhibition called "Objects of Desire," showcasing 20 years of Nike campaigns featuring athletes who have given "a unique voice to sport." It's exciting to see ballet on such a major platform, but considering Hallberg an athlete raises the ever-present debate of whether ballet is art or sport (though we suppose both is an option as well.)

Check out this preview video of Hallberg in NikeLab's ACG Poncho:


Larke Johnson in rehearsal. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Marie and Franz have a new guest at their Christmas Eve party this year. Emma Lookatch and Larke Johnson, both dancers in the Adaptive Dance Program at Joffrey Academy of Dance: Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, are alternating in the new role of Worker Girl. It is a permanent part created specifically for students with disabilities in Christopher Wheeldon's version of The Nutcracker at The Joffrey Ballet.

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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Ballet Training
Ballet Austin Academy students practice priouette en dehors. Annie Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Michelle Martin, associate artistic director of Ballet Austin, says that pirouettes en dehors from fourth position allongé are full of "traps" for dancers. Whether you trained with a straight back leg or have never tried it before, Martin's analytical breakdown will help you master this basic but dazzling turn.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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