Dancer Spotlight: Raychel Diane Weiner

Life has always taken Raychel Diane Weiner in unusual directions. “I tend to go wherever the wind blows,” she says. “I like to let things happen.”

A lot is happening these days for Weiner, who has left the corps of Ballet Arizona to join the cast of “Flesh and Bone,” a new original series about the ballet world that will run next year on the Starz Network. Weiner trained in Southern California with Charles Maple and Diane Lauridsen, at South Bay Ballet in Torrance. Her brother was a child actor and she often went on casting calls with him. His agent began representing her as well, and she ended up with several ads and children’s book covers. While she always loved dance, she didn’t focus on ballet until she was 15. “I don’t know if I was ready before that to not be a normal teenager,” Weiner says.

Once she decided to make ballet her priority, she amped up her studies and went on to perform with ABT Studio Company, St. Louis Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and, most recently, Ballet Arizona and San Francisco’s Post:Ballet. While still dancing with Ballet Arizona, Weiner heard about an open casting call for “Flesh and Bone,” and though she wasn’t interested in leaving the company, she sent in a resumé and head shot. “The next thing I knew, I was in New York auditioning in front of the executive producers and Ethan Stiefel.” Weiner knew Stiefel, who will choreograph the show, from Ballet Pacifica and from Stiefel and Stars, his summer program on Martha’s Vineyard. She was excited to be cast as the show’s unconventional demi-soloist Daphne, and even more excited at the prospect of portraying the lives of professional dancers in a drama.

“As a dancer, it’s been hard for me to watch certain shows or movies about the ballet world, because they’re so extreme,” says Weiner. “This show will be interesting because it’s scripted, not a reality show. There may be dramatic moments that aren’t necessarily realistic, but as far as the dancing, that will be 100 percent real.”

Weiner says she is unlike her character in some ways—Daphne grew up in a wealthy family in New York—but very much like her in others. “She’s no-nonsense,” Weiner says. “She has a tough exterior, but she’s actually one of the sweeter girls, kind of a cool chick. I have a lot of tattoos, and I was never interested in growing my hair out—I always said I can make a fake bun if I need to. Daphne has a bit of rebelliousness about her, too. I think we have  similar personalities—I’m really excited to play a kind of exaggerated version of myself.”


Fun Facts
Favorite tattoo:
“Three plumeria flowers in a cluster, one each for my mother, grandmother and best friend” 

Secret guilty pleasure: “Anything chocolate. I have to eat dessert with every meal—it’s not a meal if there’s not dessert.” 

Dream role: Juliet

Favorite hobby: Loves to sew and makes many of her own clothes
Unusual places to see her:
The covers of two Nancy Drew books: Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland and A Taste of Danger

News
The National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Emma Hawes in Orpheus Alive. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
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:

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Lauren Lovette. Quinn Wharton.

New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette tries hard to focus on wellness despite her busy schedule. Her Hydro Flask water bottle—a gift from colleague Indiana Woodward—is emblazoned with the words "Be Here Now," a daily reminder to stay present. Lovette also keeps two doTERRA essential oils in her bag, and starts each day with Citrus Bliss. "I put it on my wrist at barre, and smell it," she says. "It just keeps me in a positive mood." Another scent, Balance, is reserved for days when she's feeling particularly frazzled.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less