At six feet tall, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer—and recent Princess Grace Award winner—lives up to her company’s name. Because her long legs build muscle easily, she takes a relaxed approach to cross-training, only doing what she needs to strengthen weaknesses and prevent injuries—and she always lets her body get a little softer during the off-season.


Go-to cross-training routines: Daily Pilates, plus yoga and Gyrotonic a few times a month. “I’ve recently gotten into TRX suspension training, which uses two cords you can attach to anything and then hang from. For example, I love doing a plank with my feet suspended in the cords, and pulling in my knees to do curls. It kills your core and arms.”

Rehearsal refocusing trick: Handstands against the wall. “I stay for a minute. When the blood goes to your head, there’s this renewal of circulation and energy. I feel more present afterward. Everybody in the company does it.”

Biggest struggle:
Tours. “I somehow gain five pounds every time. I try to stay active by renting a bike, or using the hotel’s pool, or doubling up on my core work. But when it’s freezing cold somewhere, all you want to do is hibernate and eat cheese.”

Pre-show prep:
“Sometimes I go to the steam room to stretch or give myself a massage while my muscles turn into Jell-O. But it makes me sleepy, so I need to have time for a nap afterward.”

Meal plan: “I start off with a huge breakfast: oatmeal with almonds, bananas, blueberries and honey. After class I always have an orange (I’m from Florida). Then, we only have short breaks, so I snack on yogurt, veggies, nuts and fruit, or split up a big sandwich throughout the day.”

Finding balance: “I make a point never to live with dancers, and to get out of the studio. I go tango and salsa dancing at night. I like tinkering around with drum sets. And I’ve recently gotten into spray painting,  doing street art.”

News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

An artistic director's position was far from Li Cunxin's mind when the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet came calling in 2012. Since his retirement from the stage in 1999, the Chinese-Australian dancer had embarked on a highly successful career at the helm of a stockbroking firm. His wife, former dancer and current Queensland ballet mistress Mary McKendry Li, changed his mind, Li remembers. "She said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give something back to the art form that we both have benefited so much from?' "

Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

Keep reading... Show less