Houston Ballet Down Under: Introducing Guest Blogger Jacquelyn Long

Jacquelyn Long, Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

From June 24–July 10, Houston Ballet is embarking on its biggest tour yet to Melbourne, Australia, hometown of artistic director Stanton Welch. Pointe asked demi-soloist Jacquelyn Long to keep a diary of her experiences.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Pointe to give you a behind the scenes look at tour life! A bit about your blogger: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio (go Cavs!) and lived most of my life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I joined Houston Ballet’s second company in 2010, and became a corps de ballet member in 2012. In May, I was promoted to demi soloist. My favorite pastime is probably a good Netflix binge or playing with my Pomeranian.

"Looking natural at the airport..." Photo by Long.

The company is touring Stanton Welch’s Romeo and Juliet to Melbourne, Australia! The story is beautiful and one of my favorites. Our production premiered in February, 2015 in Houston. It has been fun to revisit the ballet and I think we are all anxious to see what the Aussies think.

Right now we’re in Los Angeles LAX Airport! After a three and a half hour flight from Houston, I'm anxious for what the 17-hour flight to Melbourne will feel like. My ankles already feel swollen, which is the worst part about flying as a dancer. Some of my colleagues are wearing compression socks to help reduce the swelling, and I would say tennis shoes are everyone’s favorite pick for footwear. My boyfriend and I each bought a new pair of Nikes earlier today— with all the walking that comes with traveling, comfy shoes are essential!

This trip comes with some bittersweet feelings, as some of our dancers will be retiring afterwards. Rupert Edwards, pictured here with his beautiful wife Karina González, will be continuing his studies of kinesiology after the tour.

Photo by Chunwai Chan, Courtesy Long.

Now off to find some food. More to come!

Jacquelyn

 

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Coming Back to Ballet After Years Away Has Saved Me During the Pandemic Shutdown

I was 4 years old when I took my first ballet lesson. My mom had dressed me in a pink leotard with matching tights, skirt and slippers. She drove me on a Saturday morning to a ballet academy in downtown Caguas, the town in Puerto Rico where I grew up. I don't remember much from the first lesson, but I do recall the reverence. My teacher Mónica asked the class if someone wanted to volunteer to lead. She was surprised I—the new girl—was the one to raise my hand.

I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

This was the same feeling I had when, after years away from dance, I finished my first YouTube ballet class at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks