As you might have noticed, a new cover girl has taken over our website: New York City Ballet's Kathryn Morgan. Read her story from our February/March 2010 issue here.

Even though she was still a corps member when we started talking about who we wanted to put on the cover of this issue, it was pretty much a unanimous decision by Pointe's editorial team to feature Kathryn. This girl has that intangible "it" factor that is simply magnetic onstage—you can't ignore her, even when she's one of dozens in the corps. Her lyrical, adagio movement is one of a kind in NYCB. And it reveals her sweet, no-nonsense personality. She consistently digs beyond the pure steps to find a deeper character or emotion to convey to the audience.

When I interviewed Kathryn last year for "In These Hands," Pointe's roundup of seven artists who we believed were moving ballet forward, she told me that she hopes to one day become a dancer who has her own unique style and puts her own stamp on the ballet world, like Wendy Whelan or Jenifer Ringer. "It’s more than what they do, but how they do it and how they put their individual take on everything," she said. Now that she's been promoted to soloist, hopefully Kathryn will be given more and more chances to do just that.

Go behind the scenes at our cover shoot here.

Ballet Stars

For many a bunhead, "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is not just a holiday tradition, but a rite of passage. The variation, with its tinkling celesta, bourrées and petit battus, is one that all ballet dancers are familiar with, and getting the opportunity to perform it often represents moving into new realms in your training or career. Such was the case for Soviet ballerina Ekaterina Maximova. In this 1957 clip, the 18-year-old aspirant performed the Sugar Plum variation at a ballet competition, where she represented the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

For any young dancer performing in The Nutcracker, Marie (aka Clara, depending on the production) is a dream role. But Charlotte Nebres, who will be playing Marie in New York City Ballet's Nutcracker this year isn't just bringing her own dream to life—she's also making history.

Charlotte is the first black dancer to ever perform the role of Marie in NYCB's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which dates all the way back to 1954. Charlotte was, of course, hugely excited to perform the role of Marie, but, according to the New York Times, when her mother told her that she was the first black dancer cast in the role, she said "Wow. That seems a little late."

Keep reading... Show less
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:

Keep reading... Show less