Ballet Stars

Life's a Beach: A Day in the Life of Miami City Ballet Principal Jennifer Lauren

Jennifer Lauren in front of Miami City Ballet. Photo by Lilly Echeverria for Pointe.

Photographed by Lilly Echeverria.

Ask Miami City Ballet's Jennifer Lauren if she feels any different now that she's a principal, and she'll quickly say no. "I'm still the same dancer I was 10 years ago when I joined the company," says Lauren, who was promoted at the end of last season. "I'm still working harder than ever." She does feel that people are watching her more closely now, though. "Kids in the school peek in the window all day," she says. "I need to make sure I set an example."

In some ways, Miami City Ballet has been a second chapter in her career. Lauren, 36, had previously danced with the unranked Alabama Ballet, where over the course of eight seasons she was frequently cast in leading roles. Since joining MCB as a corps member in 2007, she's had to slowly work her way back up. "My career has taken me up and down and sideways," she says. "It's nice to have the recognition that comes with being a principal. Although if you asked me to dance in the corps tomorrow I would do it, gladly."


While her days can be grueling, life in Miami Beach has its perks. "I love the sunny days," says Lauren, who lives close to the studios and the beach with her husband Blake, her pug Sophie and cat Coco. "As soon as we moved here, it was pure warmth and joy."

Earlier this year, Pointe followed Lauren throughout her typical workday. At the time, she was preparing for her debut as the lead in Balanchine's Theme and Variations, a major milestone for any ballerina. "It's pure classical ballet, pure Balanchine, which is what I love and what I live for."


Breakfast usually includes a granola bar with almond butter, a banana drizzled with honey and a cup of coffee.

Around 8:30 am, Lauren walks her 14-year-old pug Sophie. "She's very old and diabetic, so we take care of her a lot," she says. "Sometimes we put her in a stroller because she can't walk for long. People think it's either adorable or ridiculous. But everyone smiles."

Company class starts at 10 am. "I usually focus on whatever is relevant to what I'm rehearsing at the moment," says Lauren. "For instance, "Theme and Variations" has a lot of turns from fifth. And I'm always stretching and working on lengthening."

"This is my 20th season dancing professionally,

and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon.

I'm still loving every minute of it." —Jennifer Lauren

In company class.

Checking her rehearsal schedule for the day

Lauren and her regular partner, Kleber Rebello, rehearse sections of "Theme and Variations" with artistic director Lourdes Lopez.

"Lourdes has pulled a lot out of me that I didn't know I had."

—Jennifer Lauren

"I really enjoy working with Lourdes because she's very clear and easy to understand," says Lauren. "She gives me lots of ideas that help me present myself more as a ballerina."

After rehearsal, Lauren has a costume fitting for an upcoming performance of "Stars and Stripes."

Lauren and soloist Ashley Knox pose for a selfie near the beach across the street from MCB's studios. Dancers often head there during breaks. "We look at the water, get a little vitamin D," says Lauren. "But not every day, because sometimes you're so tired that all you want to do is rest."

Show Comments ()
Viral Videos
Josephine Lee exploring Oklahoma. Photo Courtesy Lee.

Earlier this summer, we followed master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop as she made her on a pointe shoe fitting tour around the West Coast and California. Now she's back, this time on a 45-day tour from California to Chicago, educating students on all things pointe shoes and helping them to find their perfect fit. Lee's making stops at top ballet companies and academies across the country, interviewing school directors and chatting with professional ballerinas to find out how they customize and break in their pointe shoes. Below, check out Lee's stop at Oklahoma City Ballet. She touches base with company soloist Amanda Popejoy and school director Penny Askew. Stay tuned for more!


Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
Sarah Beth Marr. Photo by Oliver Endahl of Ballet Zaida, Courtesy Marr.

Several years ago, Sarah Beth Marr, then a dancer with Mejia Ballet International in Arlington, Texas, went to see a famous ballerina give an interview at a nearby theater. She was eager to hear the dancer's insights on navigating a ballet career. "I was hoping for some kind of secret sauce in order to keep going," she says. When it came time for a question and answer period, several in the audience asked the ballerina about what got her through challenging times. "Her answer was that she worked really hard and pushed herself and tried to be the best," says Marr, "and there's a lot of truth in that." But she was left with a heavy feeling inside. "Is it all about working really hard and striving and carving my own path, or is there something deeper?"

Keep reading... Show less
News
Joffrey Ballet's April Daly, Yoshihisa Arai and Amanda Assucena in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Assucena will make her debut in the role of Odette/Odile this week. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey.

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

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Training
Remie Goins, a student at International City School of Ballet in Atlanta, performs at the YAGP finals. Photo by VAM, Courtesy YAGP.

You've watched First Position, the 2011 documentary about dancers at Youth America Grand Prix. You've studied videos of past ballet competition winners online. Now, you're interested in joining those elite ranks by entering a competition yourself. But what if your school doesn't have a pro- gram set up to guide you through the process? Pointe asked four experts to break down what ballet competition newbies need to know.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Joseph Gordon, pictured here in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, became New York City Ballet's newest principal this weekend. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

On October 13, the evening before the close of New York City Ballet's fall season and longtime principal Joaquin De Luz's retirement performance, Jonathan Stafford, the leader of the company's interim artistic team, promoted seven company dancers: six men and one woman. In addition to De Luz, NYCB lost three other principal men this fall. Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar were fired last month in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit communications. With principal Adrian Danchig-Waring out of commission while recovering from a broken foot, the company has been in need of male dancers to bolster its upper ranks.

Joseph Gordon has been promoted to principal, and Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist. All seven made a number of debuts throughout the year and shone in featured roles; we've rounded up some of their recent accomplishments below.

Keep reading... Show less
News
From left: ABT principals Devon Teuscher, Christine Shevchenko and Gillian Murphy isn Praedicere. Photo by Marty Sohl, Courtesy ABT.

Last spring American Ballet Theatre artistic director Kevin McKenzie announced the company's Women's Movement, a multi-year initiative to support the creation of new work by female choreographers. ABT's fall season, running October 17–28 at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, sets the project in full swing. The opening gala features a world premiere by tap extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance. A co-commission with the Vail Dance Festival, this work marks ABT's third collaboration with Dorrance this year: She created Praedicere, a pièce d'occasion for ABT's spring gala, as well as a work on company dancers at Vail last summer. The gala performance also includes past and present works by two female choreographers: Twyla Tharp's 1986 In The Upper Room and Lauren Lovette's 2017 Le Jeune, which will be danced by the ABT Studio Company.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Sarah Lane and Jeffrey Cirio in Harlequinade. Photo: ErIn Baiano

American Ballet Theatre's two months of performances at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House can be an exciting but demanding time for the dancers. With nine ballets in eight weeks including Whipped Cream and Harlequinade, a night off is hard to come by.

James Whiteside as Harlequin in Harlequinade. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos
Josephine Lee outside Ballet West Academy. Photo Courtesy Lee.

Earlier this summer, we followed master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop as she made her on a pointe shoe fitting tour around the West Coast and California. Now she's back, this time on a 45-day tour from California to Chicago, educating students on all things pointe shoes and helping them to find their perfect fit. Lee's making stops at top ballet companies and academies across the country, exploring schools and getting know academy directors. Below, check out Lee's stop at Ballet West. She touches base with academy director Peter Merz. Stay tuned for more!

Editors' List: The Goods
San Francisco Ballet soloist Koto Ishihara stretches in her warm-up boots. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Dance Magazine.

With cooler weather finally here, it's time to talk warm-ups. And while your dancewear drawer is probably overflowing with oversized sweaters, leggings and enough leg warmers to outfit the whole class, warm-up boots are often forgotten. To keep your feet and ankles cozy in between rehearsals, we rounded up dance warm-up boots that suit every style.

Bloch Inc. Printed Warm-up Bootie

via Bloch Inc.

Created by Irina Dvorovenko and Max Beloserkovsky, this collection comes in a variety of tie dye, floral and even butterfly prints.
blochworld.com, $48

News
Kimin Kim and Soobin Lee. Photo Courtesy SunHee Kim.

Kimin Kim may be a huge star in Russia, but he hasn't forgotten his roots. The prodigious South Korean dancer, who became the Mariinsky Ballet's first foreign principal in 2015, trained at the Korea National University of the Arts, also known as K'Arts. He owes much of his success, he says over email, to the academy's teachers, who prepared him well for his high-profile career. So when dean SunHee Kim approached him about guest-starring in the American premiere of her original ballet Song of the Mermaid, which K'Arts Ballet brings to New York City next week, he didn't hesitate to sign on. "I had performed the role of the Prince while I was at school in Korea and it was such a memorable performance," Kim says. "I've always wanted to do it again, so I happily accepted her offer."

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
From left: ABT principals Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera and Cory Stearns with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse. Photo Courtesy HBS.

Between long rehearsal days, performances and hectic touring schedules, it can be hard for professional dancers to plan for their post-performance careers while they're still onstage. This fall, that changes for five American Ballet Theatre principals. Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Cory Stearns, James Whiteside and Gillian Murphy have been chosen as the first dancers to participate in Crossover Into Business at Harvard Business School, a semester-long program designed for professional athletes.

Last year, Crossover Into Business program director and HBS professor Anita Elberse was developing a case study on ABT, and reached out to the company executive director Kara Medoff Barnett, an alumna of HBS. "Anita mentioned the Crossover Program as an experience that has been transformative for professional athletes," says Barnett. "We looked at each other and had the same idea: How about inviting the ABT dancers to sit next to the NBA players?"

Keep reading... Show less
Trending
Joy Womack in "Don Quixote." Photo by Kyoungjin Kim, Courtesy Universal Ballet.

Joy Womack is no stranger to the road less traveled. As the first American graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and first American woman to join the Bolshoi Ballet, the California native is accustomed to going out on a limb. Now at 24, after spending last season as a principal dancer with the Universal Ballet in Seoul, South Korea, she is taking a leave of absence and is back in Moscow with a revamped perspective and an impressive bucket list. We caught up with Womack over the phone to hear about her move from Russia to Korea and back again, and how life has changed since venturing on her own.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Viral Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!