From the outside, classical ballet can seem restrictive with its decorum, elaborate costumes and, of course, uncomfortable pointe shoes. Yet as ballet dancers we know that our technique actually allows our bodies to move with incredible freedom. That physical freedom is never more apparent than in watching dancers like Sylvie Guillem and Massimo Murru, both of whom danced with historic ballet companies, take on contemporary masterpieces like Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort. Stripped down to the barest costumes, their musculature and sheer physicality are unencumbered and demand awe.


Guillem, a former étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet and then an international guest artist, could certainly not be contained to classical repertoire. Alongside Marru, a former La Scala Ballet étoile, her legs bend, swivel, expand and fly. Guillem and Marru's intelligent bodies slip from angular shapes into flowing classical lines. Their movement relies on tension, supporting each others' weight in unexpected shapes. In one moment at 3:30, as Murru clasps Guillem's hand between her legs, she flicks her feet off the floor and suddenly levitates in grand plié. Continuously weaving into each others' negative space, they wrap their legs, arms and bodies around each other, dancing as a single organism. The audience was obviously moved—the applause goes on for two minutes! Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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Sarasota Ballet's Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano in Balanchine's Western Symphony. Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

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

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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

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Viral Videos

Buying your first pair of pointe shoes is a huge milestone. Below, ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee gives some of her top tips on finding the best fit for first time pointe shoe wearers.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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