“When a ballerina can move with sharpness and attack as well as lyricism, her dancing becomes far more powerful.” —Allyssa Bross

Jazz dance was Allyssa Bross’s first love. “I started studying it at a small studio, and by the time I was 5 I was competing in jazz pieces,” says the Los Angeles Ballet principal, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I was only taking ballet classes a couple of times a week, but jazz was every day. I loved that it was so bold and high-energy.”

As a teenager, she was bitten by the ballet bug. She began training at the North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance—and watching NCDT company members rehearse contemporary works by Alonzo King and Dwight Rhoden. “Sitting in on company rehearsals, something clicked,” she remembers. “A lot of the choreography had a hard, jazzy edge to it, and I realized that I would be able to use jazz to make my ballet performances better. Ballet was teaching me discipline, but jazz had already taught me how to be free onstage.”

Today, L.A. Ballet’s schedule makes it difficult for Bross to squeeze in more than the occasional jazz class. But she’s still in touch with her jazzy side. “We’re doing works by Sonya Tayeh and Mandy Moore, choreographers who’ve made jazz and contemporary pieces for ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” she says. “They want parallel positions, they want hard-hitting movement. It can be difficult for ballet dancers to make that switch, but it all feels familiar to me.” 

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
News
Manuel Legris at the Vienna State Opera. Michael Phon, Courtesy La Scala Ballet.

Former Paris Opéra Ballet etoile Manuel Legris has just been appointed artistic director of La Scala Ballet in Milan. Legris, who has directed the Vienna State Opera Ballet since 2010, posted on his Instagram page that he will assume his new position in December 2020. He replaces outgoing director Frédéric Olivieri. According to French news sites, Olivieri, who has led La Scala Ballet School since 2006, will continue to serve as the academy's director.

Keep reading...
News
Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin in Of Love and Rage. Erin Baiano, Courtesy American Ballet Theatre.

This spring, American Ballet Theatre unveils Of Love and Rage, a new evening-length work based on an unlikely source: a tale of love and adventure written in the first century AD. We're all aware of Greek mythology, of the tragedies and of the Greek philosophers. But it is much less widely known that a writer by the name of Chariton penned what is likely the first romantic novel in Western literature, or at least the oldest that has survived: Callirhoe.

Keep reading...
Viral Videos

Earlier this month, 15-year-old American dancer Ava Arbuckle was one of eight scholarship winners at the Prix de Lausanne. For her classical selection, Arbukle, clad in an ultra-feminine, rosette-covered tutu, performed Flora's variation from The Awakening of Flora, Marius Petipa's 1894 one-act ballet about the Greek goddess of Spring. Back in 2007, historian and choreographer Sergei Vikharev reconstructed the work for the Mariinsky Ballet, with Evgenia Obraztsova, then a soloist at the Mariinsky and now principal at the Bolshoi Ballet, originating the titular Flora.

Keep reading...