On the Road

 

Photos by Quinn Wharton

 

During summer layoff, dancers escape the day-to-day routine of company life. Some use the free time to embark on their own ballet adventures. In June, Tiit Helimets, a principal with San Francisco Ballet, gathered a group of colleagues and took them on tour to his home country of Estonia. “I’d never done anything like this,” Helimets says. “It felt as if I’d suddenly become a father to 15 people.” The dancers, from San Francisco Ballet, Ballet San Jose and Milwaukee Ballet, had just two weeks to rehearse in San Francisco before boarding the plane to Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. The program included George Balanchine’s Apollo and Val Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House, plus a handful of pas de deux from ballets like Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella and Marius Petipa’s Le Corsaire. “I wanted to show Estonian audiences the power of American dancers,” Helimets says. The exuberant applause in the Estonian National Opera House made it clear he succeeded. “They were clapping and stomping in unison,” says dancer Sarah Van Patten. “Apparently, it’s their ultimate response.”

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

2020 Stars of the Corps: American Ballet Theatre's Wanyue Qiao

When the curtain opens on Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, there are two women onstage, wearing striped pants and tops, and sneakers. By the end, after almost 40 minutes of high-intensity dancing, they've stripped down to red leotards, their fists lifted victoriously. Wanyue Qiao danced one of these athletic superwomen last year during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was her first major role, after three years in the corps, and she couldn't have been more fierce. "To be honest, I had never done this kind of dance before, and I wasn't sure if it was my style," she says. Tharp encouraged her, and helped her to find her warrior side. "She showed not just her strength, coordination and ability, but courage," says ballet master Susan Jones, who assisted Tharp in the staging.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Butternut Squash Takes Center Stage This Fall—Plus, 2 Easy Recipes

Whether it's cubed and roasted or puréed into a comforting soup, butternut squash takes center stage this fall. The flavorful seasonal favorite is an excellent nutritional choice for dancers. Here's what's packed into one serving:

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks