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

Four Professional Dancers Reveal Their Funniest Recital Memories

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.

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Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

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The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Courtesy Carrie Gaerte, modeled by 2020 Butler University graduate Michela Semenza

Concussions Are More Than a Bump on the Head. Here's What Dancers Need to Know

Your partner accidentally drops you during a lift. You collide head-on with another dancer in rehearsal. Or you're hit in the face while you're spotting a turn. Even if you didn't lose consciousness, you may have a concussion, which can occur from a direct blow to the head or rotary force of the brain moving excessively or striking the skull.

As a dancer, your first instinct may be to keep going, but you shouldn't, says physical therapist and athletic trainer Carrie Gaerte, PT, DPT, ATC, who works with Butler University in Indianapolis and at Ascension St. Vincent Sports Performance. "What's really hard for dancers is admitting that maybe something isn't right," she says. "But the big thing about concussions is that your brain is not like your ankle, shoulder or knee. When your brain has an injury, that needs to take precedence over a role or a job."

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Thinking About College Ballet Programs? Here's a Comprehensive Guide to the Application Process

Gone are the days when you had to skip college in order to have a successful ballet career. College ballet programs are better than ever before, providing students with the training, professional connections and performance experience they need to thrive in companies postgraduation. But given the number of elements involved in the application process, choosing the right program can feel daunting. We've broken the college application timeline down step by step to help you best approach each stage along the way.

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