What’s your biggest nightmare onstage?
Sometimes I’ll blank out and forget the choreography. I hate when I do it. I’ve had a few moments where later someone asked me, “What were you doing out there?” And I say, “Sorry! Got confused.”

You do a lot of tall girl roles, especially in Balanchine. What do you think makes you such a great fit for them?
I don’t know, because I’m only 5' 4"! But I feel so comfortable in those roles. People will see me after a show and say, “Oh, I thought you were so much taller!” My feet are big—that might be the reason.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I get on a sewing kick every few months. I’ll start sewing legwarmers and skirts and stuff like that. I cut a lot of things up and remake them. I have this thing for anything loose and drapey.  

I’ve heard you’re a fashionista. What’s your style like outside of the studio?

Casual, but I’m also very girly. When we dress up for events, I like to wear hats with nets and feathers. I love 1920s and 1940s fashion—really classy outfits with high waists and cinched belts. I do a lot of shopping on Etsy.com. It’s the devil.

Do you have any hobbies with your husband, principal Yury Yanowsky?
The other night I killed him at beach volleyball. He loves to play guitar and make me write the lyrics. We play Xbox Kinect together. And we love to travel. We go to Spain to see his family every summer, and we always go somewhere else, just the two of us.

If you could have one ballet superpower, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to turn without worrying about it. To do, like, quadruple fouettés. That would be fabulous.

You’re very active on Twitter.  What do you think about the role of social media for dancers?
There’s a fourth wall in ballet. It’s considered an elitist art form, and I don’t think it has to be. It’s good for people to see that we’re human. I think that if our audience is interested in us on a personal level, they will be more interested in seeing what we do onstage. Otherwise, they can just stay home and watch it on YouTube.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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