Sage Humphries and Lauren Herfindahl in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

2019 Stars of the Corps: Boston Ballet's Sage Humphries

Onstage, Boston Ballet artist Sage Humphries is notable for her elegant poise and liquid grace. But offstage, she's a creative whirlwind: model, singer/songwriter and talented emerging choreographer. Amidst the demands of rehearsal and performance last fall, she choreographed her first major work, a deeply personal quintet set to original music by her brother Michael and showcased on Boston Ballet's BB@home: ChoreograpHER 2018. And this past May, the company asked her to create a new work for the music festival Boston Calling. Her White, commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' White Album, shared the festival spotlight with the likes of Tame Impala and Twenty One Pilots. "It was amazing to be part of that circle of artists who already had a huge fan base," she recalls. "The fact that Boston Ballet could be amongst that and get people excited about the art form was so special."


Humphries choreographing in the studio.

Brooke Trisolini, Courtesy Boston Ballet

A Youth America Grand Prix award winner, Humphries grew up in Orange County, California. Training with Dmitri Kulev landed her merit scholarships to study at American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Dresden Semperoper Ballett and Ballet Munich before she joined Boston Ballet II in 2016 and the main company in 2017. At just 22, she thrives on new challenges, determined, she says, to "push forward as a dancer and choreographer and a leader in the ballet industry, a role model that's positive and uplifting to young girls."

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Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

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DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

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As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

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