Happy New Year! Photo by rawpixel via Unsplash

The Top 10 Pointe Stories of 2018

2019 is almost here—can you believe it? As you tend to your Nutcracker-sore bodies and prep your resolutions, take some time to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and delve into 10 of 2018's best ballet stories.


1. "I'm Forever Grateful Towards Ballet": Miko Fogarty Opens Up About Her Decision to Stop Dancing, and Her Exciting Next Steps

Miko Fogarty. Photo by Andrew Ross, Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet.

After a few years out of the spotlight, fans of former comp star Miko Fogarty were dying to know what she was up to. Her incredibly candid interview with Pointe reminded us that the lessons that ballet teaches are applicable to so much more than a stage career.

Read Claudia Bauer's story here.

2. Misty Copeland's "Fouetté Fail" Is Proof Even the Pros Make Mistakes

Misty Copeland. Photo by Jayme Thornton for Dance Spirit.

Misty Copeland's social media response to critical comments on a video of her imperfect Swan Lake fouetté turns wins the award of best ballet clapback of 2018.

Read Marissa DeSantis' story here.

 3. 12 Exercises for Stronger, More Supple Feet

Modeled by Corinne Chowansky of Marymount Manhattan College, photo by Jayme Thornton for Pointe.

Let's be honest, with all of the banana and biscuit jokes on Instagram, it's no surprise that every dancer wants to increase the strength and flexibility of their feet.

Read Madeline Schrock's story here.

4. The Show Must Go On: 4 Pros on How They Managed Their Most Embarrassing Onstage Moments 

Miami City Ballet's Nathalia Arja in George Balanchine's "Emeralds." Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB.

With all of the striving for perfectionism that comes hand-in-hand with ballet, it's a relief to remember that mistakes happen to everybody. These four professionals' stories will have you in stitches.

Read Hannah Foster's story here.

5. How My Approach to Class Changed Once I Went From Student to Professional Dancer

Purcell with Sarasota Ballet coryphée Weslley Carvalho. Photo Courtesy Purcell.

Madeleine Purcell's advice-filled account of entering Sarasota Ballet after countless years of training is a helpful reminder of what being a pro is all about.

Read Madeleine Purcell's story here.

6. Meet Shelby Williams, The Real Pro Behind Biscuit Ballerina 

Shelby Williams as her alter ego, Biscuit Ballerina. Photo by Nicha Rodbon, Courtesy Williams.

We don't have the numbers on this, but we're confident in saying that Biscuit Ballerina is the biggest breakout ballet Instagram star of 2018. It's no wonder that everyone wants to know the real story behind this mysterious maverick.

Read Chava Lansky's story here.

7. "I Wasn't Cast As Clara": 3 Professionals Share Their Childhood "Nutcracker" Disappointments

New York City Ballet soloist Claire Kretzschmar in Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

We know that Nutcracker season just ended and that you can't bear to think about another sugarplum or rat king for at least another year, but this story about three successful ballerinas who weren't cast as Clara as children is both heartwarming and encouraging.

Read Rachel Hellwig's story here.

9. 5 Resistance Band Exercises for Stronger Pointework

Getty Images

Pull out those Therabands! Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee's video outlining five resistance band exercises will help you to see big results in your pointe work—and fast.

Read Josephine Lee's story here.

9. Get to Know the 10 Dancers Heading to the 2019 Prix de Lausanne

The 2018 Prix de Lausanne finalists. Photo Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

In the ballet world, the start of a new year also means competition season. Now's the perfect time to brush up on the 10 American dancers heading to Switzerland come February.

Read Chava Lansky's story here.

10. Think A Dance Degree Is Only Good for A Performance Career? Here Are 4 Grads with 4 Different Career Paths.

Colleen Reed and a classmate in rehearsal at The University of Oklahoma. Photo by Noor Eemaan, Courtesy Reed.

Many young dancers pursue dance degrees with the hopes of joining a ballet company after graduation. These four dancers share how college opened their eyes to different paths and helped them develop new career goals.

Read Maggie McNamara Mandal's story here.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Coming Back to Ballet After Years Away Has Saved Me During the Pandemic Shutdown

I was 4 years old when I took my first ballet lesson. My mom had dressed me in a pink leotard with matching tights, skirt and slippers. She drove me on a Saturday morning to a ballet academy in downtown Caguas, the town in Puerto Rico where I grew up. I don't remember much from the first lesson, but I do recall the reverence. My teacher Mónica asked the class if someone wanted to volunteer to lead. She was surprised I—the new girl—was the one to raise my hand.

I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

This was the same feeling I had when, after years away from dance, I finished my first YouTube ballet class at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks