Ballet Stars
A madcap solstice celebration: The Joffrey Ballet in Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

During Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream, a singer croons: "By morning the dancers/Will start to wonder/Had it all been a dream?/Had it all been a blunder?" While The Joffrey Ballet's performances of Ekman's 2015 full-length last April were most certainly the former, they could not have been further from the latter.

Ekman's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' | Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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Just for fun
San Francisco Ballet soloist WanTing Zhao adds a pop of color to her winter wear. Photo by Quinn Wharton.

Winter weather is here, and since it's not going away anytime soon, we're embracing the cold and bundling up in style. If you're looking for a new coat to throw on over your leotard and warm ups or some every day clothing inspiration for your (limited) life outside of the studio, these pros have got you covered. Check out some of favorite street wear ensembles—winter edition.

American Ballet Theatre Principal James Whiteside

Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe

Proof that neutral colors don't have to be boring, James Whiteside pairs a crisp, white turtleneck with a dark peacoat and pleated pants. We're also totally behind wearing sunglasses in the winter.

Ballet Stars
The Joffrey Ballet rehearses "Orphée et Eurydice." Photo by Andrew Cioffi, Courtesy of Lyric Opera.

Song and dance are an enduring artistic pairing. In the early days of ballet, the art form usually appeared in the realm of professional theater via dance scenes in operas. But ballet and opera certainly still mingle today.

The Joffrey Ballet is currently in rehearsals for its very first collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in John Neumeier's new production of Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice. The 18th-century opera, which runs from September 23-October 15 at the Lyric Opera House, is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and his quest to bring his bride, Eurydice, back from the dead.



How is preparing for an opera different than preparing for a ballet?

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Ballet Training
Quinn Wharton

Why darn your pointe shoes? The Joffrey Ballet's Victoria Jaiani finds that darning gives her shoes a slightly bigger platform and harder tip, and helps them last longer through demanding ballets. We asked her to share her secrets with us.

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Jaiani and Dylan Gutierrez in Swan Lake. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

You've been at the Joffrey Ballet for your whole career. What do you love about the company?

When I joined, at 16, I was drawn to their repertoire. We were doing John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, and not many companies in the U.S. do that version. I was fortunate to dance Juliet my first year. And I love working with choreographers who have created on me or had special visions for me—I love the things they pull from my body and the way they push me.

What do you enjoy more: performing or being in the studio?

I cherish every moment in the studio, because it's vital. I believe in hard work and repetition, although not to the point of killing myself. But the more prepared I am, the more understanding I have of the role, the better I feel onstage.

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From historic promotions to ballerina retirements to groundbreaking new work, 2015 was an incredible year for ballet. We can't wait to see what the new year has in store, but first let's take a moment to reflect on some of our favorite Pointe stories from the past year. Happy 2016!

 

"Better than perfection is the ability to let it go"—American Ballet Theatre's Veronika Part, photo by Gene Schiavone

Amy Brandt, Editor in Chief

"My favorite was April/May's 'In Pursuit of Perfection,' by Laura Jacobs. Her essay delves into dancers' driving, unattainable quest for the ideal, and the fractured relationship all artists have with perfection. I think it's something we can all relate to, and it holds a very important message for young dancers. 'Artistry that possesses a flashing life force—daring, reaching, giving—will always contain moments that are not quite correct,' Jacobs writes. '...it's the life we remember: the singing of the self.' "

 

 

 

 

Madeline Schrock, Managing Editor

"I loved the cover and accompanying story for Miami City Ballet soloist Nathalia Arja. At her photo shoot, I was blown away by Arja's infectious energy and the pure joy in her dancing. (Yes, she really is as genuine as she seems!) When I read the cover story, I became even more excited about her. I was inspired by her courage to move from her mother's dance school in Brazil to Miami, where not only the language but the Balanchine style was completely foreign to her. Now, Arja seems at home in Balanchine works, and her success is even more thrilling because of her perseverance."

 

Taylor Stanley, photo by Nathan Sayers

Suzannah Friscia, Assistant Editor

"When I saw Justin Peck's new Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes at New York City Ballet in early 2015, I was mesmerized by Taylor Stanley, and his performance stuck with me throughout the year. So it's not surprising that one of my favorite stories was our cover and feature on Stanley's journey at NYCB. I loved reading about his ability to be both a great partner and a true individual onstage—and how this has made him an inspiration to Peck and other choreographers."

 

 

 

 

Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, Assistant Editor

Dylan Gutierrez and Victoria Jaiani in Wheeldon's Swan Lake, photo by Quinn Wharton

" 'From Studio to Stage,' the Joffrey Ballet photo essay of Christopher Wheeldon rehearsing his Swan Lake with the company, from the February/March issue. Photographer Quinn Wharton captures the sweat and the glamour and conveys a sense of intimacy with the photographs."

 

Hannah Foster, Research Editor

"In 'Ballet's Not Dead.' Allan Ulrich argues exactly that (definitive period included). I agree! When I look towards all the exciting projects in store for 2016—from digital stages to diversity initiatives, large-scale story ballets to collaborative side projects—I think our beloved art form is taking off anew.

Photo by Quinn Wharton

The Joffrey dancer doesn't think of herself as fashionable, but she loves to shop. “I can always come up with a reason. I'll say to my husband, 'That was a really good show—let's go shopping!' Or, 'That didn't go well—let's go shopping.' " Luckily, her husband, fellow Joffrey dancer Temur Suluashvili, is actually the bigger fashion hound. The couple usually ends up at Zara because, Jaiani says, the store's daring looks fit her philosophy: She sees each ensemble as an experiment. “I want to have fun with what I'm wearing. Clothes are more about your attitude than the pieces you buy."

Photo by Quinn Wharton

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