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Our Favorite Pointe Stories of 2015

From historic promotions to ballerina retirements to groundbreaking new work, 2015 was an incredible year for ballet. We can't wait to see what the new year has in store, but first let's take a moment to reflect on some of our favorite Pointe stories from the past year. Happy 2016!

 

"Better than perfection is the ability to let it go"—American Ballet Theatre's Veronika Part, photo by Gene Schiavone

Amy Brandt, Editor in Chief

"My favorite was April/May's 'In Pursuit of Perfection,' by Laura Jacobs. Her essay delves into dancers' driving, unattainable quest for the ideal, and the fractured relationship all artists have with perfection. I think it's something we can all relate to, and it holds a very important message for young dancers. 'Artistry that possesses a flashing life force—daring, reaching, giving—will always contain moments that are not quite correct,' Jacobs writes. '...it's the life we remember: the singing of the self.' "

 

 

 

 

Madeline Schrock, Managing Editor

"I loved the cover and accompanying story for Miami City Ballet soloist Nathalia Arja. At her photo shoot, I was blown away by Arja's infectious energy and the pure joy in her dancing. (Yes, she really is as genuine as she seems!) When I read the cover story, I became even more excited about her. I was inspired by her courage to move from her mother's dance school in Brazil to Miami, where not only the language but the Balanchine style was completely foreign to her. Now, Arja seems at home in Balanchine works, and her success is even more thrilling because of her perseverance."

 

Taylor Stanley, photo by Nathan Sayers

Suzannah Friscia, Assistant Editor

"When I saw Justin Peck's new Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes at New York City Ballet in early 2015, I was mesmerized by Taylor Stanley, and his performance stuck with me throughout the year. So it's not surprising that one of my favorite stories was our cover and feature on Stanley's journey at NYCB. I loved reading about his ability to be both a great partner and a true individual onstage—and how this has made him an inspiration to Peck and other choreographers."

 

 

 

 

Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, Assistant Editor

Dylan Gutierrez and Victoria Jaiani in Wheeldon's Swan Lake, photo by Quinn Wharton

" 'From Studio to Stage,' the Joffrey Ballet photo essay of Christopher Wheeldon rehearsing his Swan Lake with the company, from the February/March issue. Photographer Quinn Wharton captures the sweat and the glamour and conveys a sense of intimacy with the photographs."

 

Hannah Foster, Research Editor

"In 'Ballet's Not Dead.' Allan Ulrich argues exactly that (definitive period included). I agree! When I look towards all the exciting projects in store for 2016—from digital stages to diversity initiatives, large-scale story ballets to collaborative side projects—I think our beloved art form is taking off anew.

Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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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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Dane Shitagi, Courtesy Chronicle Books

Earlier this year, we shared that photographer Dane Shitagi's Ballerina Project—his gorgeous, ongoing collection of dance photos that have dominated our Instagram feeds for years—would be coming to an end. But all is not lost—starting September 17, you can enjoy over 170 of these photographs in Ballerina Project, a stunning new book showcasing Shitagi's work.

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From left: Kathryn Posin Dance Company members Daniel White, Claire Mazza and Momchil Mladenov in Evolution: The Letters of Charles Darwin. Nan Melville, Courtesy Posin.

Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution might not seem like a natural fit for the ballet stage. But that's exactly the topic of one of choreographer Kathryn Posin's three new ballets, scheduled to premiere at New York City's 92nd Street Y September 13-14.

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