It’s Time to Shine

(Photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe magazine)

What makes someone a standout?

Onstage, it’s a dancer’s consummate artistry, as well as strong technique to back it up. But in the studio, other qualities come into play. Take our cover girl, Royal Ballet first soloist Francesca Hayward, for example. Though innately talented, her working style and ease under pressure accelerated her path to success. As a young student at The Royal Ballet’s Upper School, Hayward was frequently thrown onstage during company productions to cover for injured dancers. While her performances were no doubt beautiful, her reliability and intelligence in the rehearsal studio earned her a company contract before she even graduated. And while she’s creating major buzz onstage as an instinctive dance-actress, her calm, confident demeanor has allowed her to readily take on major principal roles.

As Hayward demonstrates, being a standout in the studio can make a major impression on a director. And when you’re auditioning for companies, you want to show directors that you not only have technical and artistic chops, but that you’re hard-working, dependable and self-assured. Trust me, they’ll notice. If you’re looking for examples of how to present your best self, turn to "Mastering the Audition Circuit." Here, three pros open up about what they learned after years of auditioning, and how they process the nerves and rejection that come with it.

With audition season around the corner, we’ve made sure to pack this issue with advice. Our annual “Auditions Guide” lists essential job-search information for companies and training programs large and small (and for current opportunities throughout the year, don’t forget to check out our Auditions page on pointemagazine.com). In “Put Your Best Audition Photo Forward,” former dancer and professional photographer Kyle Froman offers his tips for capturing the perfect shot (including which angle is best for first arabesque). If you’re entertaining thoughts about leaving your company, be sure to read “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” for telltale signs that you should start polishing your resumé. As you get ready for the big day, take note of your strengths, whether it’s your tenacious determination or lightning-fast memory, and let them shine. In a room full of talented dancers, they may be what make you stand out.

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This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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Natalia Voronova, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet

The Bolshoi Is Back Onstage: We Went Inside Bryan Arias' Latest Work

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Arias, who was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in New York City's Spanish Harlem, and danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Kidd Pivot, had been invited by Bolshoi artistic director Makhar Vaziev to be part of an impromptu program of contemporary choreography titled Four Characters in Search of a Plot. Three other international choreographers—Martin Chaix (France), Dimo Milev (Bulgaria) and Simone Valastro (Italy)—had also been asked to participate. This program, unusual by all standards for Russia's esteemed classical ballet company, opened the Bolshoi's 245th ballet season on September 10. Eager to resume live events, the theater introduced a number of safety regulations for audience members, including limited and spaced-out seating, temperature checks upon entry and audio messages reminding patrons to wear masks and maintain social distance.

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