Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.

Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.

We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.

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Ballet Stars
Houston Ballet's Yuriko Kajiya and Linnar Looris in "The Merry Widow." Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy of Houston Ballet.

With Houston Ballet's Sunday performance of Marie, the company bade farewell not only to its spring season, but to two of its most beloved leading men: principal Jared Matthews and first soloist Linnar Looris each took their final bows on the Wortham Theater Center stage. Both men will travel soon to Estonia, where they will work together to lead the Estonian National Ballet, with Looris serving as the company's artistic director and Matthews as the assistant to the artistic director.

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Site Network
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

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

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Trending
The bunheads of Bunheads. Adam Lakey, Courtesy ABC Family

Seven years ago today something very special entered the lives of bunheads everywhere. What was it? Well, "Bunheads," the Amy Sherman-Palladino television show that aired on ABC Family for 18 short episodes, until the final curtain fell in February of 2013. Unlike the sadistic pop culture depictions of ballet that sandwiched it (Black Swan in 2010 and "Flesh and Bone" in 2015), "Bunheads" was a wholesome, funny and mostly true-to-life look at what it's really like to be a teenage trina.

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Brooklyn Mack in Le Corsaire. Photo by Carlos Quezada, Courtesy Mack

After almost a decade at The Washington Ballet, Brooklyn Mack has struck out on his own. Last summer, after unsuccessful contract negotiations with the company—now under the direction of Julie Kent—the 32-year-old star decided to go it alone. So far, his full-time freelance career has taken him to Hong Kong, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Georgia (the country, not the state) and various cities across the U.S. But his biggest debut is still to come. This month, he appears with American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House for four performances of Le Corsaire, playing both Conrad and Ali.

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News
Photo via Instagram

Balletomanes, bunheads, and Center Stage fangirls alike, listen up, because there's a big announcement here for the dance community: on Saturday, June 8, legendary ballet power couple Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel welcomed their son, Ax Nathaniel Stiefel, into the world!

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News
Houston Ballet's Melody Mennite in Stanton Welch's Marie. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.

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

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News
Terrence S. Orr with dancers of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Aimee DiAndrea, Courtesy PBT.

Change is in the air in Steel City: On Friday Terrence S. Orr announced that, after 22-years as artistic director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, he will retire in June 2020 following the conclusion of PBT's 50th anniversary season.

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Ballet Stars
Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Courtesy CineLife Entertainment.

A while ago we alerted you to Nureyev, a new feature length documentary about the life of legendary ballet star Rudolf Nureyev. The film is now enjoying a limited run in several U.S. cities, nicely coinciding with the release of Ralph Fiennes' Nureyev biopic The White Crow. The documentary, directed by brother-sister team Jacqui Morris and David Morris, tells the infamous dancer's life story from his deeply impoverished childhood to his years at the Kirov Ballet and his eventual defection from Russia. It then continues where The White Crow leaves off, chronicling his dance career and pop-culture celebrity in the West, his celebrated partnership with Margot Fonteyn and his life-ending battle with AIDS.

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Natalia Osipova in rehearsal. Photo by Alastair Muir, Courtesy Sadler's Wells

You never quite know what's going to happen when Natalia Osipova steps onstage—you know you're in for something extraordinary, but the exact nature of what you'll get is a mystery until it's happening. It's only fitting, then, that we would learn of Force of Nature, a new documentary following a year of the ballet superstar's career, a day before its limited release in the UK.

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