Ballet Stars
Wendy Whelan leads a crowded morning class. "The energy was amazing," she says. "Among the visiting companies, there was such a shared respect and friendliness toward each other." Kyle Froman.

On a crisp day in late October, the studio air is thick and hot as dozens of sweaty dancers finish up grand allégro at New York City Center. Despite the fact that many of them are jet-lagged, there is a palpable, positive energy throughout the studio. Teaching class is former New York City Ballet star Wendy Whelan, which seems fitting. The dancers, culled from eight major companies around the world, are getting ready for opening night of Balanchine: The City Center Years, a five-day festival highlighting the choreographer George Balanchine's early works.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Tereshkina in Le Corsaire. N. Razina, Courtesy Mariinsky Ballet.

You started out in gymnastics—did it have an effect on your dancing?
It helps immensely. My father was a gymnastics coach, and I think that if my daughter wanted to become a dancer, I would send her to gymnastics classes first, and only after that to ballet. Gymnastics builds character and coordination. It gives you a strong foundation.

What do you enjoy more: performing or being in the studio?
Performing. Some dancers, like Diana Vishneva, love the rehearsal process, but I prefer the result. For me, it's about more than the performance itself: It's getting ready in the dressing room, doing my makeup, fixing my eyelashes, the emotion when it's about to start…

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox