"Nobody ever tells you to be sexy or tough in ballet class, but in contemporary ballets that’s often what they expect—and jazz class is where you learn how to do it.” —Miranda Bailey

Like many bunheads, Columbia City Ballet soloist Miranda Bailey wasn’t sure about jazz when she was required to take it as a student. “I used to skip class all the time,” she admits. It wasn’t until Bailey was in her teens that she really gave jazz a chance. “Suddenly, I discovered that it was this class where I had so much freedom,” she says. “I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, my turnout isn’t good enough, my extensions aren’t high enough.’ It was about dancing, not about doing the 32 fouettés.”

Now Bailey takes and teaches jazz frequently. “It’s my little reward for getting through ballet class,” she says. It’s also good preparation for CCB’s repertoire, which is full of jazz-inflected contemporary ballets. “We only go into super-classical mode when we do something like Sleeping Beauty once every few years,” she says. “For the rest of our shows, we need to be able to do the hip isolations and the body rolls and the other good stuff you learn in jazz class.”

But Bailey thinks even dancers who dream only of performing Petipa ballets can benefit from jazz. “It’s fantastic cross-training, because you use totally different muscles,” she says. “Often that helps you fix your ballet technique problems. For years, my ballet teachers yelled at me to turn out my supporting leg, but I could never activate the right muscles—until I discovered them during a jazz combination.”

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 Stars
Beckanne Sisk in the studio. Quinn Wharton.

Ballet West principal dancer Beckanne Sisk may not subscribe to a specific style, but there are a few key elements to her off-duty look no matter what the season. "Comfort is number one for me," she says. "I also like to buy things that are a little higher quality, because they last longer." Other than that, she says, it's really anything goes. "I like to change up my style all the time."

Keep reading...
News
Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman. Photo by André Rival, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

Staatsballett Berlin announced today that artistic directors Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman intend to step down at the end of 2020, despite having only held the posts since 2019 and summer 2018, respectively.

Keep reading...