Ballet Stars

Four Professional Dancers Reveal Their Funniest Recital Memories

Amy Herchenroether in Giselle with Saint Louis Ballet. Kelly Pratt, Courtesy Saint Louis Ballet.

It's that time of year again: recital season! Memories will be made, including some hilarious ones. (Does it even count as a recital if something funny doesn't happen?) We asked four pros to share their most humorous recital memories from their student days, from costume malfunctions to onstage bloopers.


Lauren Post, American Ballet Theatre

Lauren Post in Giselle. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

At my very first recital when I was 4 or 5, I boycotted the entire dance. I didn't do the choreography. Instead, I went around the stage picking up sequins and sparkles that I found on the floor. I think I was just intrigued by all the glittery objects. My teacher was onstage during the entire dance and she kept trying to corral me, but I just kept bringing her the sparkly things I found. My mom has some pretty hilarious footage on video.

Patric Palkens, Boston Ballet

Patric Palkens in George Balanchine's Chaconne. Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet.

I was exhausted during a coupé jeté circle in Pinocchio when I was in school at the National Ballet of Santiago in Chile. About three-quarters of the way through it, my right leg gave out and I went right to the floor. Luckily, I managed a terrible roll and was actually able to stand up and complete the circle. Sadly, my last sauté was also a disaster, and I ended up rolling into the first wing. Thankfully, my character was supposed to be clumsy—maybe the falls were seen as endearing by the audience? One can only hope.

Amy Herchenroether, Saint Louis Ballet

Amy Herchenroether and members of Saint Louis Ballet in Balanchine's "Rubies." Kelly Pratt, courtesy Saint Louis Ballet.

When I was 12 or 13, I got to understudy a small contemporary solo for a recital at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, the school I grew up in. At dress rehearsal, the girl who was supposed to dance the solo was absent. So, my teacher had me go on for the show. Four counts in, I completely forgot the choreography. For a second, I stared at the audience. Then I ran offstage. Needless to say, it was pretty traumatizing.

Paul Tillman, Ballet Arkansas

Paul Tillman with Meredith Short Loy. Melissa Dooley, courtesy Ballet Arkansas.

I've had quite a few wardrobe malfunctions at recitals. When I was 16, I was dancing the Le Corsaire pas de deux at my home studio, Dallas Ballet Center. My pants ripped, but I didn't notice — and, you know, I end that pas with my back to the audience. I danced with ripped pants during my variation as well. It wasn't until my partner's variation that someone came up to me and was like, "Hey Paul, is it a little breezy?"

Another time, when I was dancing in a jazz piece at age 18, I stepped on my pant leg and off came my pants. Thankfully, I had a unitard on underneath, but it still shocked the audience.

News
Sarasota Ballet's Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano in Balanchine's Western Symphony. Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Buying your first pair of pointe shoes is a huge milestone. Below, ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee gives some of her top tips on finding the best fit for first time pointe shoe wearers.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less