“You don’t know what you’re capable of as a dancer until you explore different styles.”Jeffrey Cirio

 

Boston Ballet principal Jeffrey Cirio got hooked on hip hop early. “I went to a Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet summer program when I was 11, and I thought the hip-hop classes were the coolest thing ever,” he says. “The teacher started working with me on the side, helping me with whatever I wanted to do. I was crazy about it.”


Today, Cirio stops at Steps on Broadway to take a hip-hop class whenever he’s in New York. But his most frequent teacher is actually his good friend James Whiteside, a former BB principal (and current American Ballet Theatre soloist) who’s also a hip-hop fiend. “James likes to get me and a few of the other Boston Ballet guys together and give us a sort of jazz fusion hip-hop class,” Cirio says. “We rock out.”


Thanks to his hip-hop expertise, Cirio has no problem navigating the quirky upper body isolations in BB resident choreographer Jorma Elo’s works. But Cirio also credits his early exposure to hip hop as a mind-opening experience that made him start thinking about who he was as a dancer. “I often help young kids prepare for competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, and I’m always telling them to try out different dance classes,” he says. “Ballet is very square and strict. Something like hip hop will give you the freedom to figure out what your body can do, and what your unique style is.”

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...
Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

Keep reading...
Ballet Training
Students at Ellison Ballet's Classical Pas de Deux Intensive learning the pas from Don Quixote. Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet.

Summer intensives are wonderful opportunities to focus on your technique and artistry, study with new teachers and take classes you may not regularly get. But in addition to traditional multi-week, all-encompassing programs, many schools are now adding shorter "specialty" intensives that address specific areas or skills. These supplemental weeks (which usually follow the longer programs) offer short, deep dives into the choreographic process, variations, partnering or life as a professional dancer. While regular summer programs are fairly predictable, these hyper-focused intensives vary widely in their environments, intentions and requirements. And while it's a good opportunity to add weeks to your summer or train at more than one school, some may restrict admission to or prioritize those attending their full summer program. Before jumping in, look closely at what's involved and think about what you need.

Keep reading...
Ballet Training

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop talks about what to do if one of your feet is stronger than the other. She's fitting Becca, who's struggling to get over her box on the left.

Keep reading...