It's nothing new for athletes to be sponsored by sports brands, but it's relatively rare for the same opportunity to be extended to professional dancers. Misty Copeland is famously a spokesperson for Under Armour, and her participation in the "I will what I want" campaign helped catapult ballet into a position of visibility. Copeland's unmistakably athletic body shows how hard ballet dancers train to achieve their goals.

From left: Olivia Boisson, Unity Phelan, Meagan Mann, Mimi Staker and Savannah Lowery (PUMA x NYCB. Photo by Erin Baiano)

Now, in a new partnership, the dancers of New York City Ballet will have their active wear sponsored by PUMA. It feels timely, as "athleisure" stays trendy for everyone and dancers are increasingly adding athletic gear to their arsenal of leotards, tights and practice skirts. Additionally, thanks largely to Copeland's prominence, ballet has enjoyed some pop culture recognition in the last few years, making the glamor and prestige of a NYCB endorsement beneficial for PUMA.

(PUMA x NYCB. Photo by Erin Baiano)

Apparently the partnership extends beyond stylish workout clothes, too. In a statement, PUMA says the two companies will "explore ways for PUMA to support a variety of NYCB initiatives, including the ballet company’s education, audience development and dancer health and wellness efforts."

We're all for investment in dancer health and wellness, and if a global sports brand wants to get involved in audience building for a ballet company, well, we're excited to see where that might lead. In the meantime, keep an eye out for NYCB dancers in upcoming PUMA marketing campaigns.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

 

Health & Body
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

In fall 2012, New York City Ballet associate artistic director Wendy Whelan, then a company principal, was taking morning class when her foot slid out from under her, causing her to pull the very top of what felt like her right hamstring muscle. "It shocked me from the inside out," she notes.

Whelan spent three months nursing her hamstring. But once she got back to performing, her right hip flexor began flaring up. "By the end of Nutcracker season, I could no longer bear standing in fifth position. I could not lift my right leg without severe pain," she says. "I couldn't imagine why or how this was suddenly becoming so debilitating." A sonogram revealed a complex labral tear in Whelan's hip.

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Courtesy Grishko ltd. (Moscow, Russia)

If you're one of the many American ballet dancers who loyally wear Grishko pointe shoes, you may have noticed something different about your shoes recently.

In the midst of a lawsuit, Grishko ltd. is now selling in the U.S. under the name Nikolay to reduce confusion and ensure that American dancers get the high-quality shoes they've come to expect.

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Ballet Stars

Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo both took The Royal Ballet by storm when they arrived at the company in 1998 and 2000, respectively. Virtuosic, enigmatic performers, the two forged a storied partnership over the course of their next decade together at The Royal. Now they've both gone on to lead the next generation of ballet dancers in England: Rojo has been the artistic director of English National Ballet since 2012, and Acosta will take the helm of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January. With this 2007 clip of their balcony scene from Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, it's easy to see why they are already the stuff of ballet legend.

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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

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