Natalie Varnum, in red, with Houston Ballet dancers in front of the Dubai Opera House. Photo Courtesy Varnum.
Last week, Houston Ballet toured artistic director Stanton Welch's Swan Lake to Dubai, making it the first American company to ever dance at the Dubai Opera House. Demi soloist Natalie Varnum covered this historic tour for Pointe through a series of vlogs, taking us from the long plane ride to harrowing camel rides to backstage shenanigans to opening night. Settle in and enjoy!
Patricia Delgado and Justin Peck in Vail, Colorado. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy Patricia Delgado.
With the surplus of ballet festivals happening around the world these past few months, it's obvious that there's really no such thing as summer break for the pros. But between the red-eye flights and onstage performances, our favorite stars still found time to soak up the sun and enjoy some seriously stunning views (even if they were from rehearsal). From Verona, Italy to Vail, Colorado, click through to see the highlights from the 2018 summer tours.
While on their first tour in Paris, Pacific Northwest Ballet's Elle Macy and company made sure to squeeze in some sightseeing—naturally visiting Paris Opéra Ballet's home theater, Palais Garnier, was top on the list.
Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Dorothée Gilbert. Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.
You might be used to throwing on a leotard, tights and warm-ups each day, but now it's summer, and your schedule is different. Whether you're trying to dress to impress for a day off at your intensive or you're packing for a much-needed vacation during your company's summer break, the idea of wearing "real clothes" can leave you feeling paralyzed. Never fear! We've pulled some of our favorite dancers' street styles from past issues of Pointe to give you the summer style inspiration that you're looking for.
"I'm kind of a collector of clothes," says Natalie Varnum. The Houston Ballet corps member turned a spare room in her home into a walk-in closet and fills it with eccentric pieces. "I love big, clear oversized sunglasses; or a high-waisted pant, socks and loafers; or a newsboy hat," she says. Varnum is inspired by icons from the '60s and '70s—Jimi Hendrix, Jane Birkin, Elton John—and she finds endless ideas on social media. She'll search Pinterest for photos, follow up-and-coming stylists on Instagram or update her own blog with "outfit of the day" posts. It was through Instagram that she recently met South Korea–based designer Sandra Meynier Kang, who reached out in hopes of collaborating and sent her a sample from her new leotard line. "It's the best way to make faraway friends now," Varnum says.
In the studio, Varnum takes a more conventional approach—sometimes. "I like a classic ballerina look, like light pink, long sleeves," she says, "or I go for something completely crazy." She commissions fun patterned leotards from her friend, former company dancer Jordan Reed, who now runs Lone Reed Designs. Her collection includes leos printed with pizza and doughnuts. Whatever she's wearing, Varnum is not afraid to stand out. "There's a time and place for a classic little black dress," she says, "but I tend to go for the more out-there pieces and colors."
One of the many outfits Kansas City Ballet's Kelsey Ivana Hellebuyck sports on her Instagram, @ivanadance.
While we know you practically live in your leos and tights (and a tightly wound bun), summer is the perfect time to literally let your hair down and show off your style outside the studio.
Not sure where to start? Take a page from these pro dancers' ensembles. From classically chic to kooky and daring, these ballerinas know how to express themselves—on and off the stage. The #1 rule? There are no rules.
From June 24–July 10, Houston Ballet is embarking on its biggest tour yet to Melbourne, Australia, hometown of artistic director Stanton Welch. Pointe asked demi-soloist Jacquelyn Long to keep a diary of her experiences.
July 10, 2016
Today we said goodbye to Melbourne—well, some of us did. A few of the dancers are staying in Australia to travel because we are now on a two week layoff! Woohoo!
Our last shows of Romeo and Juliet went well. The Australian audience really responded to the performances, and many of the reviews were very enthusiastic about our company. There was a champagne toast on the last evening to celebrate the success. I think everyone was happy to finish the tour.
One last glimpse of the Melbourne skyline
We are about to get back on that 16 hour flight, but I miss my puppy and it's worth it! I think what I am going to miss most about Melbourne is their strong coffee and chocolate Tim Tam cookies. I hope all of you enjoyed following my journey on this tour! I really did enjoy writing for you. If you want to keep following me, my Instagram account is jac_long.