News

Meet the 2017 Candidates of English National Ballet's Emerging Dancer Competition

The ballet world is full of competition, from the recent Youth America Grand Prix to constant auditioning and jockeying for roles. But the English National Ballet takes it to the next level; for the past eight years the company has held its annual Emerging Dancer competition, a chance for ENB's lower-ranked dancers to compete for the Emerging Dancer Award. The competition has been a good predictor of future ENB stars. Past winners include principals Shioni Kase and Yonah Acosta. This year's Emerging Dancer competition will take place at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre on May 25. The six finalists, nominated and coached by their peers in the company, will each perform a classical pas de deux followed by a more contemporary solo in front of a panel of distinguished judges including their boss, Tamara Rojo.

The 2017 female finalists are Isabelle Brouwers, Rina Kanehara and Madison Keesler, an American dancer previously with San Francisco Ballet. All three have been finalists before, and their deep passion for ballet is clear.


The company's male finalists are Aitor Arrieta, Guilherme Menezes and Emilio Pavan. While Menezes was a finalist in 2015, Arrieta and Pavan are both relatively new to the company, Arrieta still in the midst of his first season.

Also revealed on the 25th will be the recipients of the People's Choice Award and the Corps de Ballet Award. Last year's winner of both the Emerging Dancer Award and the People's Choice Award, Cesar Corrales, will also perform. Stay tuned for updates on the competition! We can't wait to see which of these vibrant and promising dancers will walk away as the winner.

Ballet Training
Hortense Millet-Maurin (third from left) and her classmates perform August Bournonville's La Conservatoire. Svetlana Loboff, Courtesy POB.

As a little girl, Hortense Millet-Maurin fell in love with the wide spiral staircase that dominates the center of the Paris Opéra Ballet School. Today, as a focused 15-year-old POB student, she and her classmate Vincent Vivet navigate the school's spacious architecture on a daily basis. In a hallway strewn with foam rollers and tennis balls, their faces are laced with concentration as they prepare alongside their peers for afternoon ballet class. Color-coded uniforms reflect Vivet's and Millet-Maurin's third division; with only two advanced divisions remaining, they are increasingly close to realizing their professional aspirations: joining the Paris Opéra Ballet. Pointe spoke with these two young dancers to see what it's like studying inside the world's oldest ballet academy.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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Ballet Training
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

If you're feeling wobbly in adagio or wish you could hold your piqué attitude a bit longer, there are ways to assess and improve your balance. Try these four exercises, recommended by Heather Southwick, Boston Ballet's director of physical therapy.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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