American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland has been all over the news recently, promoting her revealing new memoir, Life in Motion. (If you don't have a copy yet, we suggest you get on that—it's a fascinating read.)

While it's great to see Copeland covered in mainstream news outlets, many of them—probably under pressure to "demystify" ballet for non-dance audiences—have been asking relatively superficial interview questions. A new Q&A in The Atlantic, however, digs a little deeper, especially when it comes to Copeland's thoughts on bodies and body image. (It ran in the magazine's online health section, which might explain the difference.)

When asked about what it was like to go through puberty as a dancer, Copeland responded thoughtfully: "As a professional, that’s the scariest thing to experience—your body changing—because that’s your tool," she says. "That’s your instrument and when it becomes unfamiliar, you don’t know how to work with it. So it was extremely difficult to experience puberty and my body changing at such a late age, 19, when I was already a professional."

But Copeland, whose book describes her struggles with weight in painful detail, now has a healthier perspective on body issues: "I think I’m proof that you don’t have to have all of the things people think you have to have in order to make it in this world," she says. "With the knowledge we have of our bodies, of working out, and of cross-training, I think it’s possible to train yourself to do anything."

Read the full interview here. And Copeland fans, let's just say you'll enjoy our June/July issue—stay tuned!

Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Ballet Stars
Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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Ballet Training
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I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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