Ballet Careers
Georgina Pazcoguin as Hippolyta in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

In January, when news broke that Peter Martins had retired from New York City Ballet amid allegations of sexual harassment and physical and verbal abuse, I was sitting with my mother, a former dancer and teacher. We stared at the headline in shock, wondering what this meant for the future of ballet as a whole: In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, cultural shifts were stirring, and conversations about feminism and workplace equality plunged into ballet. Some of my favorite dancers started sharing their statements and stances on Instagram, and their comments sections were bursting with dancers and ballet fans all struggling to define what feminism and equality in our art form would look like—or if it is even possible. Especially since female dancers have historically been considered muses to be seen and not heard, to perform but not lead.

Feminism isn't just possible in ballet—it's necessary, and the biggest part of that is an artistic advantage, too: empowering dancers to have and use their own voices.

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Ballet Stars
Ingrid Silva and her dog, Frida Kahlo. Nathan Sayers.

You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).

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Trending
Photo via Miami City Ballet on Instagram.

For dancers, every day is like Halloween. You don't have to wait until October to try on new personas and elaborate costumes. But that certainly didn't stop the ballet world from going full out yesterday. We rounded up some of our favorites across Instagram to help draw the *spooky* holiday spirit out for one more day.

Matthew Bourne's New Adventure's production of The Red Shoes is nearing its final performances at New York City Center this weekend. American Ballet Theatre's Marcelo Gomes is guest-starring in the production as Julian Craster, the composer boyfriend to protagonist Victoria Page. But for Halloween, Marcelo donned the infamous red shoes himself to dress as the leading ingenue.


Dance Theater of Harlem's Ingrid Silva (and Pointe's June/July cover star) dressed as a unicorn alongside her dog, Frida Kahlo.

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Ballet Careers
Allison DeBona teaching class at her artÉmotion summer intensive at Ballet West. Photo by Joshua Whitehead, Courtesy Ballet West.


After Ballet West first soloist Allison DeBona appeared on The CW's "Breaking Pointe," studio directors nationwide started calling her up, inviting her to teach master classes. Soon DeBona was traveling every month out of the year, honing her passion for coaching the next generation of artists.

While jet setting may not be in your future, regular teaching gigs are a great way to boost your resumé—and your income. Whether you're looking for layoff-season work or want to branch into coaching and choreography, dipping your toe in the teaching world is a smart way to start.

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Ballet Stars
Dancers at Ballet Sun Valley marvel at the eclipse. Photo by Gemma Bond via Instagram.

Unless you've been living under a rock, chances are that you experienced the eclipse-mania that took over the country yesterday. Thousands flocked to the 70-mile-wide path of totality (the path of the moon's shadow), which stretched from Oregon to South Carolina. And dancers were no exception. Ballet stars across the country flooded Instagram with their sense of awe over this once-in-a-decade event.

Dancers at Ballet Sun Valley, the two-day festival starting today curated by Isabella Boylston, were lucky enough to be on the path of totality (in fact, Gemma Bond's new ballet for the festival was inspired by the eclipse). We love seeing dancers from different companies hanging out, and Tiler Peck posted this New York City Ballet/American Ballet Theatre crossover moment.

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Houston Ballet's Melody Mennite with Ian Casady in Kylián's Forgotten Land. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.

If you're a member of a repertory company, tight rehearsal timelines are often a fact of life. You might have only a few weeks to memorize and master a piece before you take the stage. In that time, you'll need to absorb not only the steps but also the choreographer's particular style—the qualities and quirks that set that choreographer apart. Should the movement be buoyant or grounded, fluid or staccato? Is your port de bras meant to be classical or pedestrian? How should you relate to your fellow dancers, and to the audience? Answering these questions will take your performance to the next level. After all, a ballet is so much more than the sum of its steps.

"The ballet isn't going to be the ballet without the choreographer's intention and style," says Sandra Jennings, a longtime répétiteur for The George Balanchine Trust. "Balanchine had an intent in his choreography that affects how we move, from our musicality to the way we use our feet on the floor and how the man offers his hand to the woman in partnering. Those nuances matter."

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The CW series Breaking Pointe has thrust Ballet West into the national spotlight. One of the show's most compelling characters, Allison DeBona, chatted with Pointe about what it's like to have her personal life and career exposed in front of a million people. 

 

What was the filming like?

Having them come to our homes and follow us out with our friends, that was a crazy experience! People stare at you wondering what the heck’s going on. They followed 11 or 12 of us. We only found out which seven the show ended up focusing on when it aired.

 

What’s it like to see yourself on TV?

The first episode, when the credits began and I heard my voice, I just started crying. I was like, no way! I’m not on TV! My friends aren’t on TV! This isn’t real! It’s intimidating to see my personal life watched so closely.

 

Do you feel accurately represented?

To be honest, it was really hard at first. Before I saw a single episode, early reviews were coming out calling me a bitch and witch and a horrible person. I was like, what the heck is going on?! But my personal life with Rex, yes, that’s real. The TV crew showed up at time when I was going though a lot of change—I’d been in a relationship for seven years. And my determination in class and my drive are also very real. To young girls, I may come off a little harsh. But I think women who are my age where they’re trying to put their career first over anything else, they can relate to me. I went to college and didn’t start my professional career until I was 24. I feel like I need to catch up all the time. That’s why you see my eagerness. So I’m ok with how I’m being depicted.

 

Is there anything you’d do differently in front of the cameras?

Honestly, no. I didn’t try to hide my feelings or hide when I was frustrated. Being a ballet dancer, we always want to look perfect, and at first I struggled with seeing myself. I thought, people are going to think, ‘How does this girl have a job? How is she a demi soloist?’ But our company did this to show everybody that ballet is really, really hard. And there’s a reason why not everybody can do it.

 

How do you deal with criticism on the show from other dancers?

I know it may seem a little bit dramatic at points and they do focus on our personal lives. But more dancing is to come! Tonight they reveal casting, then you'll see onstage rehearsals and performances of Paquita, Emeralds and Petite Mort. When Ballet West decided to do this, we knew we were going to represent ballet dancers across this country. That intimidated us, but we really wanted to make ballet accessible to the general public. I hope dancers understand that and can get behind us and not be so judgmental about it. People are Tweeting, “Wow, this show makes me want to see ballet live.” Everyday people are getting excited about ballet!

 

The third episode of Breaking Pointe airs tonight on The CW at 8/7 c.

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