Ballet Stars

2018 Stars of the Corps: Kansas City Ballet's Lilliana Hagerman

Hagerman, here with Kevin Wilson and Liang Fu in Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room, easily shifts between classical and contemporary roles. Photo by Kenny Johnson, Courtesy Kansas City Ballet.

Lilliana Hagerman stepped into the spotlight in 2016, dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Kansas City Ballet's Nutcracker during her first season as a full company member. But it's her chameleon-like ability to shift between classical and contemporary roles—such as her featured performances in Matthew Neenan's The Uneven and Stanton Welch's Play last season—which make this dancer so special.


Born in Italy to a military family, Hagerman trained in jazz, ballet and contemporary before joining Orlando Ballet as a trainee and then as a main company member. She was accepted into KCB's second company in 2014 after auditioning with her then-boyfriend (now husband) Lamin Pereira dos Santos. "Thankfully, we both got jobs," she says.

Hagerman with Dillon Malinski and Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye in Helen Pickett's "Petal." Photo by Brett Pruit & East Market Studios, Courtesy KCB.

KCB is unranked, so it's not unheard of for newer dancers to perform principal roles. But dancing Sugar Plum in her first year, and Tinkerbell the following season, in artistic director Devon Carney's Peter Pan, is notable in a company with plenty of veterans. Even as an apprentice, Hagerman was awarded a featured role in Helen Pickett's Petal, which she points to as a significant launchpad for her KCB career.

Carney says Hagerman is "quite driven and very talented." As KCB presents an increasingly contemporary repertoire, we are likely to see more of this versatile dancer.

The Conversation
Summer Intensive Survival
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It is easy to feel as though the entire ballet year revolves around summer: more hours in the day for dance, and another summer intensive to add to your resumé. You've likely dreamt about which program you want to attend, traveled to auditions and gotten excited about the new challenges in a big city school. But what if you find yourself staying home?

It can feel heartbreaking to watch your peers take off for their intensives. Whether you're staying home by choice or because of injury or finances, you can still improve and have fun at your local studio. Unlike those headed off to big intensives, you have flexibility and money on your side. Jody Skye Schissler, owner of Skye Ballet Center in Herndon, Virginia, encourages dancers to start by asking, "How can you make your summer more focused on yourself and what you need for your future?" Here are tips for making the most of your time at home.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Ballet Stars
Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae with his kids. Via Instagram.

With Father's Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge some of the dancer dads out there who are doing double duty at home and onstage. So in between feting the father figures in your life this weekend (and thanking them for sitting through countless hours of dance recitals throughout the course of your lives), check out these eight ballet dads below.

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Ballet Stars
Antonio Carmena (right) coaches a Barnard College student. Photo by Marcus Salazar, courtesy Carmena.

Some ballet dancers, the lucky ones at least, get to enjoy long, successful careers. Yet their dancing schedule usually allows little time for anything else. At New York City Ballet, for instance, most dancers don't have secondary jobs on the side, although layoffs between seasons provide short opportunities to flex new muscles, like teaching. But performance careers inevitably come to an end, and dancers must then "become" something else.

When former NYCB soloist Antonio Carmena retired from the company in 2017, he realized he wasn't quite prepared for the next step. His retirement uncovered an insecurity buried deep within him—that without dance, he wasn't "good" at anything anymore. It's taken two years for Carmena to develop more work experience as he searches for a new place for himself in the dance world. And while he admits it's an ongoing journey, the pieces are finally starting to come together.

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