In reaching the top, how much is talent and how much is sweat?
For me, it was definitely more determination than talent. I know principals all over the world who are actually not naturally talented, but have worked very hard.
What are you most proud of?
My productions of La Sylphide. Staging it at the Bolshoi was an enormous personal achievement, because they’d just done a different production of La Sylphide, and I was able to change the dancers’ opinions of the ballet.
You were trained in Bournonville technique. What do you love most about it?
For a dancer it’s an amazing technical base. Maybe especially for boys, because for all the jumps you’re not using your arms to get you in the air. It comes from the stomach. That core strength makes everything else easier.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
I’m a shopaholic. If you let me loose in Dolce & Gabbana and I see something, I just think, ‘I work so hard, I should have it.’ It’s not good. I’m also a bit of a sparkler—I always wear gold sneakers. I have lots of pairs.
You trained as a tenor—do you still sing?
I traveled most of Europe singing, but I stopped at 16 when I began to focus on ballet. Lately, I started again and even make pop songs on my computer!
You and Alina Cojocaru are on- and offstage partners. What is your favorite role to perform with her?
Giselle is very special for us both. We’ve traveled the world with this ballet, and we can do so many things together in it.
What talent do you have that few people know about?
I’m not bad at designing costumes. I’ve done a few, for The Royal’s production of Napoli, for instance. I also used to do a lot of circus stuff, so I can juggle, ride a monobike and do magic tricks!
What advice do you have for students hoping to be professional dancers?
Unless your heart and mind are telling you that this is really what you want, then forget about it. It’s too hard to not love it.
What inspires you?
In reaching the top, how much is talent and how much is sweat?
The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.
A responsible ally amplifies Black voices. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.
Participate in the Dance Industry Blackout<p>Activists are encouraging dancers to participate in the <a href="https://www.theshowmustbepaused.com/" target="_blank">Dance Industry Blackout</a>, happening today, June 2. To join the effort, first, post a plain black image to your social feeds. Then, avoid posting content for the remainder of the day. Suspend classes, rehearsals, and meetings, and use this time to identify ways to uplift black dancers and the organizations that support them. Be brave, and try to feel okay in the discomfort that these conversations may create.</p>
Attend a Dance Class Fundraiser<p>Fundraising classes are a win-win experience: you get to train with master teachers and choreographers, and your donation goes to furthering causes that help propel Black artists. Here are a few options:</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6JyeclL2o/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Peridance Capezio Center</a> will host a full week of online classes starting June 6, with funds raised going to organizations that fight against racial inequality.</li><li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA53WtYFkt5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Gibney Dance</a> will donate all online class revenue through the end of June to organizations on the front lines of the effort.</li><li>Former Nederlands Dans Theater dancer <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA3WuLqFI4m/" target="_blank">Spenser Theberge</a> will teach three ballet classes this week, and all proceeds will go to the organization Color of Change.</li><li><a href="www.Marthagraham.org" target="_blank">Martha Graham Dance Company</a> is offering all revenue from this week's online classes to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. </li><li>Instagram account <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CA3vWvpl6uS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Movement for Hope</a> is hosting classes all week, with the proceeds going to a different organization fighting for equality each day.</li><li>Next week, the "<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CAyw-_lJwAp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank">Cindies Ballet Class</a>" (with ABT principals Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside) will be collecting donations for <a href="https://www.instagram.com/fairfightaction/" target="_blank">@fairfightaction</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/aclu_nationwide/" target="_blank">@aclu_nationwide</a>. </li></ul>
Educate YourselfSeek out works by authors of color, because their perspectives will most accurately reveal what it means to be Black in America. The arts also play a major role in reflecting society, so watching dance works and reading poems that navigate concepts like racial injustice and white privilege can have an equally educative effect on you. A good starting point is <a href="https://issuu.com/nlc.sf.2014/docs/beyondthestreets_final" target="_blank">this guide</a>, which offers 24 peaceful ways you can get involved in the fight for black liberation without protesting in the streets.<br><br>Here are some other resources. This is, of course, an incomplete list—we hope it leads you into independent research.<span></span>
Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!
You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.
To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!
Updated on 5/27/2020
Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.