Ballet Stars

Inside Lia Cirio's Dressing Room: Why She's Never Without Her Elephant Collection

Photo Courtesy Cirio

A dancer's dressing room is often her "home away from home." In our August/September issue, we went backstage with three ballerinas, including Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio. Below, she shows us how she personalizes her space and walks us through her pre-performance routine.

Cirio snaps a selfie at her dressing room spot.

The setup: Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio shares her dressing room with fellow dancers Misa Kuranaga and Kathleen Breen Combes. "We all personalize our spaces," she says. "It's about making it comfortable." Cirio keeps her spot as organized as possible. "But after a full-length, it's a disaster area! Makeup, hairpins, curls everywhere—it's a mess."

Photo courtesy Cirio.

"Merde" gifts galore: Her brother, American Ballet Theatre principal Jeffrey Cirio, gave her an oversized My Little Pony before her debut in Theme and Variations. "It's pretty silly, but it puts a smile on my face," she says. The tiny ballerina box (just left of the My Little Pony) has special meaning—it was given to her by stager Florence Clerc before her debut as Nikiya in La Bayadère. "I had just been promoted to principal, and it was my first full-length," says Cirio.

Photo courtesy Cirio.

The good witch/bad witch magnets, a gift from Breen Combes, was a "merde" gift for Swan Lake ("You know, white swan, black swan?").

Photo courtesy Cirio.

Hair and makeup must-haves: TRESemmé No. 4 aerosol hairspray. "My hair is really frizzy, and it's the only thing that keeps it slick. I also only use big hairpins—the smaller ones don't work." Her favorite lipstick is MAC's Lady Danger. "It's great for Balanchine ballets." Laying a towel down helps keep her makeup and toiletries organized.

Photo courtesy Cirio.

Favorite scents: "I'm a stickler for smelling good," says Cirio. She alternates between Chanel Chance perfume (above) in spring and Le Labo's Thé Noir in winter.

Photo courtesy Cirio.

Good-luck charms: "Elephants are really good luck for me—most of these are from friends or family members over the years."

Photo courtesy Cirio.

Pre-show routine: "I don't like to be rushed," she says. Cirio usually does her hair and makeup an hour and a half before curtain so that she has time to warm up. Before she goes onstage, she says a little prayer, then checks her ribbons "incessantly" to make sure they're secure.

Pre-show music: Cirio listens to Top 40 hits to get pumped. And she can't live without her Bragi wireless headphones. "There's no cord, it's just Bluetooth, so I can do a barre and they don't fall out of my ears. They're awesome!"

Post-show routine: "I'm not one for sitting around," she says. "I'll take a shower if it's a full-length, but normally I just get out of makeup and leave the theater."

Ballet Careers
Roderick Phifer in Trey McIntyre's The Boogeyman . Bill Hebert, Courtesy BalletX.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Roderick Phifer graduated from University of the Arts with a BFA in dance in 2017.

While walking out of a technique class during the first semester of his senior year at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Roderick Phifer was approached with an unexpected offer. BalletX needed a guest artist for an upcoming performance, and after seeing Phifer perform in one of his senior shows, a UArts alumnus dancing with the company had offered up his name. Phifer ran straight from his technique class to a company class with BalletX, and the troupe's artistic leadership quickly gave him the green light to perform. "It was so last-minute, that, I kid you not, I had three rehearsals," he says. He performed with BalletX as a guest artist that fall, auditioned for an open company position in the spring and had a contract by the end of his senior year.

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
Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

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