December 2016/January 2017


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  • Editor’s Letter: What Does it Mean to Be a Role Model?

    I think most of us would agree that a mix of strength, integrity and grace make up a large ... More »

  • Call Board

    Christopher Wheeldon’s Windy City Nutcracker It’s a truth universally acknowledged that any ballet company worth its sugar plums must ... More »

  • Studio to Street: Simone Messmer

    Don’t expect to catch Simone Messmer wearing a leotard—at least, not for company class. “Ballet class is for me,” ...

  • Dancer Spotlight: Stefanie Roper

    At first glance, Ballet Hispanico second-company member Stefanie Roper looks as though she has been dancing since she could ...

  • Ask Amy: Getting a Cold for Christmas

    I always get sick during Nutcracker. Help! —Emily Long days, late nights, chilly weather and overworked bodies make the ...

  • Her Time

    At some point during her long career with American Ballet Theatre, Stella Abrera started to think it would never ...

  • In Defense of Patience

    When I was about 10, I auditioned for New York City Ballet, to be in their Harlequinade. I got ... More »

  • The Season of Crystal Pite

    Crystal Pite considers herself to be on the contemporary end of the dance spectrum, but she’s playing in the ...

  • The Standouts

    Miami City Ballet’s National Tour In late April at the Harris Theater, Chicagoans found Miami City Ballet firing on ...

  • A Summer of Style

    As a young student, Shea McAdoo’s classes at the Master Ballet Academy in Scottsdale, Arizona, were “strict, straightforward, very ...

  • Finding Balance

    Courtney Henry knew she wanted to dance for Alonzo King LINES Ballet while she was still a student in ...

  • Upcycle Your Workout (Without Buying New Stuff)

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  • Nutcracker Survival Tips

    Alana Griffith Artist, Milwaukee Ballet Favorite role: Clara “Clara was my first soloist role and the first role I ...

  • The Judges Roundtable

    We asked five frequent judges for their advice, their pet peeves and their approach to the scoring process. Peter ...

  • Dancer to Dancer

    Holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list. Related

  • Your Style: Get Cozy

    Patterned warm-ups in black, gray and purple evoke starry winter nights. Related

  • Beyond Six-Pack Abs

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  • The Workout: Jessica Collado

    Morning zinger: Jessica Collado makes a pitcher of a spicy drink with turmeric, ginger, lemon juice, coconut water and ...

  • “They Hate Me!”

    When Lilliana Hagerman auditioned for Orlando Ballet School’s summer intensive, she felt overwhelmingly intimidated. “The other dancers were all ...

  • Finding Prodigal

    New York City Ballet principal Joaquin De Luz on the elusive nature of Balanchine’s Prodigal Son.  As told to ...

  • On the Upswing

    As the dancers processed through downtown Orlando—smiling, laughing, heads held high—Orlando Ballet artistic director Robert Hill allowed himself to ...

  • Not Just For Kids

    While New York City Ballet was off last August, corps member Sasonah Huttenbach was hard at work at the ...

Latest Posts


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.

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Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

"My Plate Is Full": Sofiane Sylve on Her New Leadership Roles at Ballet San Antonio and Dresden Semperoper

Sofiane Sylve had huge plans for 2020: Departing her post as a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, she embarked on a multifaceted, bicontinental career as ballet master and principal dancer at Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and artistic advisor and school director at Ballet San Antonio—and then COVID-19 hit, sidelining performances and administrative plans at both companies. But ballet dancers are nothing if not resilient. In her new leadership roles, Sylve is determined to help shepherd ballet through this challenging time—and transform it for the better. Pointe caught up with her by phone while she was in Dresden.

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Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

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