Ballet Stars
ABT corps members Rachel Richardson (left) and Zimmi Coker in rehearsal with choreographer Gabrielle Lamb. Photo by JJ Geiger, Courtesy ABT.

"I feel like you want to move one more thing," says choreographer Gabrielle Lamb, her head cocked slightly to the right as she watches American Ballet Theatre corps dancers Zimmi Coker and Xuelan Lu work through an intertwined movement sequence. "My hip," answers Lu, who stands with her right leg extended, foot flexed, her hand on Coker's head. Both are in socks, and in the background music plays softly, providing atmosphere rather than counts and cues. It's week two of ABT Incubator, a new choreographic workshop spearheaded by principal dancer David Hallberg that was held earlier this month. Lamb is one of five choreographers, including New York–based dancemaker Kelsey Grills and ABT dancers Sung Woo Han, Duncan Lyle and James Whiteside, who were chosen to participate through an audition process.

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Ballet Careers
From left: ABT principals Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera and Cory Stearns with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse. Photo Courtesy HBS.

Between long rehearsal days, performances and hectic touring schedules, it can be hard for professional dancers to plan for their post-performance careers while they're still onstage. This fall, that changes for five American Ballet Theatre principals. Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Cory Stearns, James Whiteside and Gillian Murphy have been chosen as the first dancers to participate in Crossover Into Business at Harvard Business School, a semester-long program designed for professional athletes.

Last year, Crossover Into Business program director and HBS professor Anita Elberse was developing a case study on ABT, and reached out to the company executive director Kara Medoff Barnett, an alumna of HBS. "Anita mentioned the Crossover Program as an experience that has been transformative for professional athletes," says Barnett. "We looked at each other and had the same idea: How about inviting the ABT dancers to sit next to the NBA players?"

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Just for fun
Jennifer Garner made all of our dreams come true and officially joined the Cindies at American Ballet Theatre's studios this week.

What's been going on in the wonderful world of the Cindies (a.k.a. American Ballet Theatre principals James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston)? Just a casual visit at the ABT studios from actress Jennifer Garner, of course.

Judging from both Boylston's and Whiteside's Instagram accounts, Garner dropped by ABT's company class this week while in New York City promoting her new movie, Peppermint. And this means two major things: Garner has officially earned her Cindy title—at least according to Boylston's Instagram caption, which is about as official as it gets. And, perhaps even more importantly, this picture of the Cindies together means we can finally stop photoshopping Garnerhotoshopping Garner onto photos of the dancers (you're welcome).

While we hope there's more Cindy content on the way, we needed to take a minute to give Garner's tendu the recognition it deserves.

Ballet Stars
Jennifer Garner made all of our dreams come true and officially joined the Cindies at American Ballet Theatre's studios this week.

What's been going on in the wonderful world of the Cindies (a.k.a. American Ballet Theatre principals James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston)? Just a casual visit at the ABT studios from actress Jennifer Garner, of course.

Judging from both Boylston's and Whiteside's Instagram accounts, Garner dropped by ABT's company class this week while in New York City promoting her new movie, Peppermint. And this means two major things: Garner has officially earned her Cindy title—at least according to Boylston's Instagram caption, which is about as official as it gets. And, perhaps even more importantly, this picture of the Cindies together means we can finally stop photoshopping Garner onto photos of the dancers (you're welcome).

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Just for fun
Lauren Post unwinds by sewing pointe shoes in the tub. Photo via Instagram/@laurencpost

Let's face it. Dancers just do things differently. We can never walk down a grocery aisle—we have to tap. We can never simply pick something up we've dropped—without going into a penché. But it's not a bad thing. We love all the ways that dance bleeds into our daily lives.

Turns out the pros aren't ever really off-duty either. Here's how we caught them dancing through their downtime.

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Just for fun
Lauren Post unwinds by sewing pointe shoes in the tub. Photo via Instagram/@laurencpost

Let's face it. Dancers just do things differently. We can never walk down a grocery aisle—we have to tap. We can never simply pick something up we've dropped—without going into a penché. But it's not a bad thing. We love all the ways that dance bleeds into our daily lives.

Turns out the pros aren't ever really off-duty either. Here's how we caught them dancing through their downtime.

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News
Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III at Ballet Sun Valley in 2017. Photo by Steve Dondero, Courtesy Ballet Sun Valley.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.


Isabella Boylston Curates Her Second Hometown Ballet Festival

American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston moonlights as artistic director of Ballet Sun Valley, which she founded last year. The second annual festival will run July 17–18 in Sun Valley, Idaho, Boylston's hometown. Boylston has created two programs composed of pas de deux and solo pieces from choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and William Forsythe, as well as Justin Peck's In Creases, the one work for a larger ensemble.

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Ballet Stars
ABT principals Christine Shevchenko and James Whiteside rehearse "Swan Lake" in Singapore.

In the middle of American Ballet Theatre's spring season, principal dancer Christine Shevchenko takes a break from her comedic role of Pierrette in Harlequinade to (briefly) transform into a swan. During the half hour rehearsal, Shevchenko seamlessly transitions from Odette to Odile, running through her various solos without pause—save for the short conferences with ballet mistress Irina Kolpakova, which switch between Russian and English almost as quickly as Shevchenko whips out her fouetté turns (but more on those later).

"The rehearsal process is a lot different right now because every week it's a new ballet," Shevchenko says during a rehearsal break last week. "I'm really trying to squeeze in as many Swan Lake rehearsals as I can, and at the same time, I'm trying to prepare for Don Quixote, which is the week after," she explains of juggling the season's eight programs. "This is my first year as a principal during the Met season, so I'm learning how to figure it out as we keep going. In a way, I'm used to doing parts last minute because that's how I got most of my roles," she says. Ahead, Shevchenko shares exactly how she's gearing up for her Met debut on June 20.

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via Instagram

The wait for Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of Petipa's Harlequinade is almost over! But if you can't wait until American Ballet Theatre officially debuts the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 6, we've got you covered. ABT brought the Harlequinade characters to life (and to the Alder Mansion in Yonkers, NY) in a short film by Ezra Hurwitz, and it's a guaranteed to make you laugh.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

Ballet Training
Ballet student Ashton Bradley in a scene from "Danseur." Photo courtesy NuArts Foundation.

Updated on 10/1/18

"I never wanted to stop dancing, I just wanted the bullying to stop," says American Ballet Theatre corps member Patrick Frenette in the trailer for Danseur, a new feature-length documentary about the social stigmatization young men face in ballet. His words shed light not only on the prevalence of harassment boys endure from peers outside the studio, but also their passion and determination to keep dancing in spite of it. The film, produced by NuArts Foundation, features interviews with ballet students, teachers and directors, as well as professional dancers like James Whiteside, John Lam, Derek Dunn and Harper Watters. And while screening dates are yet to be determined, Danseur has already generated a lot of social media buzz.


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Ballet Stars
Photo via @abtofficial on Instagram.

Though according to our calendars today is the first day of spring, it feels like anything but. That's why we've been extra jealous watching American Ballet Theatre dancers' Instagram posts from their tour to Singapore. From swimming in rooftop pools to hiking with monkeys to jet-lag influenced shenanigans (oh, and dancing Swan Lake), their photos are making us believe that warm weather really is on its way. We rounded up some of our favorite shots from the first half of ABT's Asian tour; they'll spend this week in Hong Kong dancing Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. Keep the photos coming, ABT!


Rather than cling onto the railing in fear (like we would have), Isabella Boylston stepped gracefully into the highest pool in the world with a low arabesque.

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Trending
ABT principal Isabella Boylston, Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in "Red Sparrow," and Lawrence in a shot from the film. From left: Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine; Murray Close, Courtesy 20th Century Fox.

As the star of the 20th Century Fox thriller Red Sparrow (opening March 2), actress Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a former Bolshoi ballerina who becomes a dangerous and cunning spy. Though ballet is relegated only to the first 10 minutes of the film, Lawrence needed to dance six minutes of Firebird choreography by Justin Peck alongside dancer-cum-actor Sergei Polunin. In the fall of 2016, on Peck's recommendation, director Francis Lawrence invited American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston to be Lawrence's dance double and asked Kurt Froman, a former New York City Ballet dancer whose many credits include training Natalie Portman for the 2010 film Black Swan, to turn the notoriously clumsy Lawrence into a convincing ballerina in just four months.

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Trending
via Instagram

Every ballerina grows up aspiring to nail the fouetté turns in the coda of Swan Lake's Black Swan Pas de Deux. From classic primas like Natalia Makarova to current pros like Gillian Murphy, the 32-fouetté sequence has become so iconic that even our non-dancer friends know about the tricky turns. But yesterday, American Ballet Theatre principal Christine Shevchenko introduced us to a totally new take on the fouettés that we've been watching on a loop, in awe.


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Ballet Stars
Photo via @isabellaboylston on Instagram.

Though American Ballet Theatre principals James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston have long displayed their envy-worthy friendship on Instagram, this week the Cindies (their nickname for each other) offered viewers an even deeper glimpse into their world. While on tour with ABT at the Kennedy Center, the duo sat down in front of the camera to answer some questions from their fans via Facebook Live.

Starbucks in hand, they discuss their mutual love of food (particularly pasta and Japanese curry), the story behind the Cindy nickname and what it's like picking up contemporary choreography versus classical. Boylston also delves into her experience guesting with the Paris Opéra Ballet, her dream of choreographing an avant-garde ballet on Whiteside to a Carly Rae Jepsen song and best and worst Kennedy Center memories (like the time she fell onstage while doing fouettés at the end of La Bayadère's first act).

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Ballet Stars
Hupoy (right, as Alla Snizova) and Laszlo Major in "Le Corsaire." Photo by Zoren Jelenic, Courtesy Ballets de Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

One of the highlights of New York City's Fall for Dance Festival this year was an appearance by the Ballets Trockadéro de Monte Carlo, a company of men who dance on pointe with as much panache and style as any prima ballerina. Their performance of Paquita was funny, of course—they specialize in comic renditions of classical ballets— but also bracingly well executed. The star of the evening, Carlos Hopuy, aka Alla Snizova, was simply astonishing. His pointework sparkled, his hops on pointe were clean and strong, and he looked like he could have balanced in attitude forever. There was something deeply exciting about the way he combined delicacy and control with the explosive power and steel of a man's physique.

Hopuy, who was born in Havana, Cuba, and trained at the country's famed National Ballet School, has been with the company since 2012. Like all the Trocks, he has both a female and a male alter-ego: when he's not portraying Alla Snizova, he's Innokenti Smoktumuchsky, a dopey cavalier. He is also one of the dancers featured in the upcoming documentary Rebels on Pointe, which will have its theatrical release November 15 (click here for theaters and dates near you). I recently caught up with Hopuy, who, when he's not on tour, lives in Orlando with his husband Paolo Cervellera, a former Trock. We spoke by phone, in Spanish.



Did you always want to dance?

I always liked ballet. My mother, Norma Hopuy, was a principal with the Ballet de Camagüey. I used to hang around the rehearsals. She started giving me lessons at home. Then, when I was nine, I auditioned for the National Ballet School. I had the choice between that and gymnastics and I chose ballet.

When did you start going on pointe?

When I was 11. I would ask my classmates for their old pointe shoes and would try them on at home. When my mother realized that I liked to go on pointe, she started training me and bought me my own pair.

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Ballet Stars
Photo via Instagram.

Ever since Jennifer Garner's first "Tutu Tuesday" post starring Tiler Peck popped up three weeks ago, we've been eagerly awaiting her weekly installment. Garner seems to be on an American Ballet Theatre kick: last week she featured Isabella Boylston, and this week it's James Whiteside (and Boylston again).

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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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By now, we've come to expect the usual celebrity set like Sarah Jessica Parker and Katie Holmes at big nights in ballet like the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre galas. But actress Jennifer Garner just proved she might be ballet's biggest celeb fan yet with her new "Tutu Tuesday" posts on Instagram.

Putting her "instastalking knowledge" to work as she calls it, Garner decided to highlight NYCB's Tiler Peck as her first "Tutu Tuesday" feature, sharing a clip of her and Amar Ramasar dancing in Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing.

You're definitely going to want to listen with the sound on for Garner's hilarious narration (and scroll over to see her amazing Photoshop skills at work in a pic of Swan Lake).

Read more at dancemagazine.com!

Ballet Stars
P.O. Alienz in Lavender Leotard; Paulina Waski modelling a Kreature Kulture t-shirt. Photos Courtesy Paulina Waski.

Walk into any ballet class and you're bound to see a row of dancers clad in leotards patterned with dainty flowers and lace. But nearly three years ago, American Ballet Theatre corps dancer Paulina Waski wore a very different kind of leotard to class—and her colleagues loved it. Now an average day at ABT includes any number of dancers in leotards featuring angry aliens, detached eyeballs and grinning monsters.

"My dad, John, is an artist, and he draws all these crazy creatures," Waski explains. "One year he did what he called his paper plate project; he drew a new creature onto a paper plate every single day for 365 days. I thought, 'he should put one on a leotard!' He screen printed one onto one of my old leotards himself, and when I wore it to class everyone was wowed." And so, Kreature Kulture was born.


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Health & Body
Pixabay

The next time your teacher makes the class repeat a petit allégro combination endlessly, don't groan. Aside from improving your footwork and ballon, you may notice that you eat healthier after class.

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Ballet Stars
James Whiteside and Misa Kuranaga. Photo via Instagram.

Last week you might have seen Instagram light up with photos of American Ballet Theatre's James Whiteside and Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranaga dancing a Beauty and the Beast pas de deux for Disney Japan in Tokyo. When we realized that Whiteside had also choreographed the piece, we wanted to know how this Disney/ballet crossover came to be. We caught up with Whiteside to get all the details.

What's this pas de deux for? Where will it be released?

The pas de deux will be a bonus feature on a Japanese exclusive DVD and Blu Ray release of a new series called Disney Ballet Mousercise. It's essentially a ballet lesson series that uses well-loved Disney characters and songs. It will only be available in Japan, but I'm hoping it ends up online at some point!


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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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Call Board
Boylston working with choreographer Gemma Bond

With most of American Ballet Theatre's classical repertoire under her belt, principal Isabella Boylston is ready for a new challenge, specifically, launching Ballet Sun Valley, a dance festival with educational outreach in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho. "I'm in a place in my career where I can expend a little more creative energy on outside projects," she says. This year, her long-held dream will become reality, with performances on August 22 and 24, and free dance classes on August 23. "Sun Valley has a successful symphony, and a lot of people are interested in the arts," Boylston says. "When I was there three years ago, I realized the Sun Valley Pavilion would be the perfect venue for dance." Hilarie Neely, Boylston's first ballet teacher, put her in touch with a team of executive producers who have assisted with fundraising and technical logistics.

Once Boylston knew the festival was happening, she was faced with the task of creating dynamic programming. "All the dancers I'm inviting are close friends who I've danced with before, and choreographers I have relationships with," she says. Audiences can expect classical repertoire, plus ballets by Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Pontus Lidberg.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy James Whiteside Presents.

On Wednesday, June 19, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival welcomes James Whiteside Presents to the outdoor Inside/Out stage. This will be the American Ballet Theatre principal's fourth time at the Pillow. He first came to the Massachusetts–based Dance Festival as a corps de ballet member of Boston Ballet in 2004. ("I was struck by the beauty of the place," he recalls.) Whiteside returned in 2010 with Avi Scher & Dancers and most recently with Daniil Simkin's Intensio in 2015.

Now, Whiteside is bringing a program of his own work, performed alongside muse and fellow ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary and actor/show maker Jack Ferver.

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Ballet Careers
NYCB in Scherzo Fantastique. Photo by Paul Kolnick, via reidandharriet.com

Have you ever walked out of a show wishing you could take the costumes home with you? Thanks to Reid & Harriet Design, the label behind many of New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre's most imaginative contemporary costumes, this dream is becoming a reality. Founders Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung have designed a line of ready-to-wear swimwear from the watercolor-like striped fabric they created for Justin Peck's 2016 Scherzo Fantastique. This design duo is responsible for costuming 10 of Peck's ballets over the past few years, and was featured in the 2015 Peck documentary, Ballet 422.

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman for Pointe

When it comes to style, James Whiteside likes to push the limits. “Conforming isn't really my thing," says the American Ballet Theatre principal. He chooses pieces that express his personality, while always leaving room to experiment with new ideas. “I haven't really married myself to one aesthetic, and that gives me a lot of options," he says. “One day I'll be preppy, next day I'll be super-urban, then I can be all tattered and '50s. I like to keep an open mind." In the studio, he sports knits and crop tops, and dyes his hair funky colors when the repertoire allows. It works well for ballets like The Sleeping Beauty (in which he wears a wig) or contemporary work. “But if I'm playing Romeo, this wouldn't make sense," he says. Whiteside is influenced by everything from Japanese anime to '90s boy bands to New York City itself, a place he's always wanted to live. “It's so inspiring walking around the city," he says. “Some people are just killing it. Anybody can buy fashion, but having style is a completely different thing."

Kyle From for Pointe

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News

Ballet dancers are nothing if not enterprising, and Rebecca King is certainly one of the most ambitious. The Miami City Ballet corps member has long been something of a social media maven—she helped coordinate an Instagram campaign for MCB and even started her own social media management company. She's also contributed regularly to her popular blog, Tendus Under a Palm Tree, since 2010. This week, King and fellow MCB corps member Michael Sean Breeden have started a new media venture: podcasting. Their self-produced show, “Conversations on Dance" (available on King's blog and on iTunes), will include discussions on training, technique and choreography, as well as interviews with other professional dancers. This week's timely topic: summer intensives.

King and Breeden join an increasing number of dancers taking to the virtual airwaves, including MCB soloist Lauren Fadeley, whose show, “ReDiscovering the Dream," chronicles her recent career move and new life in Miami. American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside, New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild and advice guru Kathryn Morgan have also started hosting their own podcasts on Premier Dance Network. So get your headphones ready. Dancers on dancing? Yes, please!

News
Iana Salenko, photo courtesy Zarely.

If you're wishing events like World Ballet Day LIVE came around more than once a year, you're in luck: Next week brings not one, but two ballet livestreams that you can enjoy right from your phone or computer. Mark your calendars, and prepare for a week of stellar ballet:

Zarely's first World Online Gala. This Sunday, more than 20 principal dancers from around the world will participate in a 10-hour online performance. The star-studded lineup includes Staatsballett Berlin's Iana Salenko, American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, San Francisco Ballet's Yuan Yuan Tan, New York City Ballet's Lauren Lovette and The Australian Ballet's Amber Scott—to name just a few. The dancers will perform their favorite classical or contemporary works, and share personal stories of their own dance journeys. The event promises to be an inspiring way to kick off your week.

Catch it: January 31, beginning at 10:30 am EST. Watch the livestream here.

Yuan Yuan Tan, photo courtesy Zarely.

The 44th Prix de Lausanne. After all that starpower, tune in on Monday for the beginning of the 2016 Prix de Lausanne, and watch some of ballet's most exciting emerging talent. All week, the annual competition will stream daily backstage events, giving viewers behind-the-scenes access to the action. It all culminates in the finals on Saturday, February 6, when 20 young dancers will compete for one-year scholarships at the Prix's partner schools and companies. This will be livestreamed as well.

Catch it: February 1–6 on the Prix de Lausanne's website or YouTube channel. Find the full livestream schedule here.

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