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.”

Ballet Careers
Roderick Phifer in Trey McIntyre's The Boogeyman . Bill Hebert, Courtesy BalletX.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Roderick Phifer graduated from University of the Arts with a BFA in dance in 2017.

While walking out of a technique class during the first semester of his senior year at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Roderick Phifer was approached with an unexpected offer. BalletX needed a guest artist for an upcoming performance, and after seeing Phifer perform in one of his senior shows, a UArts alumnus dancing with the company had offered up his name. Phifer ran straight from his technique class to a company class with BalletX, and the troupe's artistic leadership quickly gave him the green light to perform. "It was so last-minute, that, I kid you not, I had three rehearsals," he says. He performed with BalletX as a guest artist that fall, auditioned for an open company position in the spring and had a contract by the end of his senior year.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

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Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

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