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.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Tiler Peck

Tiler Peck's Top 10 Tips for Training at Home

On March 15, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck announced to her 172,000-plus Instagram followers that she'd be teaching a live class from her family's home in Bakersfield, California, where she's currently waiting out COVID-19. Little did she know that she'd receive such a viral response. Since then, Peck has offered daily Instagram LIVE classes Monday through Friday at 10 am PST/1 pm EST, plus an occasional Saturday class and Sunday stretch/Pilates combo. "The reaction was just so overwhelming," she says. "These classes are keeping me sane, and giving me something to look forward to."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel in "Swan Lake" (1999)

This February, New York City Ballet presented Peter Martin's two-act version of Swan Lake. In her New York Times review, Gia Kourlas reminisced about some of NYCB's past Odette/Odiles, pointing to a masterful, and high stakes, 1999 "Live From Lincoln Center" performance starring Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel. With just an hour's notice, Weese stepped in to dance the Swan Queen for an injured Darci Kistler. The live television broadcast was Weese and Woetzel's first time dancing these roles together, though you'd never know; in this clip of the White Swan pas de deux the pair looks connected and utterly captivating.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
An instructor from The Hive in Chicago leads class over Zoom (courtesy The Hive)

The Dance Student's Guide to Making the Best—and the Most—of At-Home Training

If you're social distancing to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19, you've inevitably realized that training safely and successfully at home poses a significant challenge. We talked to dance experts to find out how you can make the best of this less-than-ideal scenario—and about the unexpected ways it can help you grow as a dancer and artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS