Editor's Letter: Start Thinking Ahead

(Photo by Nathan Sayers)

Injuries always come at the most inconvenient time. Our cover guy, Derek Dunn, was on the fast track towards a promotion when he faced a double whammy: two back-to-back foot injuries that kept him out of commission for six months. Being unable to dance made him question everything, and forced him to explore life outside the ballet world. Find out more about this prodigious Houston Ballet demi-soloist in our cover story.

For me, a stress fracture sparked my motivation to start college part-time. For one thing, I had a lot of time to kill during my recovery. But being off my feet also made me realize how brief and delicate our dance careers are—and like many of today’s working dancers, I wanted to be prepared. Now, it’s easier than ever to balance college and career. In “Juggling Two Worlds,” we look at how three professionals are making it work, whether through night classes, online courses or an accelerated degree program created especially for dancers.

Of course, more and more dancers are opting to go to college first, before pursuing their performance careers. If you’re a year or two away from applying to schools, turn to “Summer on Campus” to learn about how going to a college summer intensive may help give you an edge. Not only do they give prospective students a chance to check out the dance department and dorms, they may give them a leg up when it’s time to audition. And be sure to read “Beyond the BFA” if you’re interested in learning more about nonperformance dance degrees. In it, we look at the different academic options dancers have, such as dance science or pedagogy, and how to keep up your performance chops when choosing this route.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our annual “Higher Ed Guide” in the back of this issue. It’s specially curated just for bunheads, and includes important scholarship information, too. And if you need more in-depth coverage, the Dance Magazine College Guide (available at dancemagazine.com/collegeguide) is an excellent resource. It’s never too soon to start thinking ahead!

Amy Brandt, Editor in Chief

News
The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

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News
Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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