When it comes down to it, there are two basic types of performers who make great dancers: Those who demand attention onstage, and those who inconspicuously draw it in without outwardly trying.

 

In many ways, it's much simpler to be that first type of dancer. You just have to hit it, hit it hard and give the steps everything you've got all the time. Not to say that's an easy thing to do, but audience members can't help but notice the "wow" factor of extreme technique or a fierce stage presence. This performance quality often comes in handy, winning dancers medals at competitions and helping them stand out from the crowd at cattle calls.

 

But personally, I always prefer to watch more subtle performers. I found one of them Saturday night when I saw The Washington Ballet perform a triple bill of bare-legged leotard ballets by Edwaard Liang, Karole Armitage and Nicolo Fonte. Morgann Frederick shone through the corps of each of the three pieces with an understated, but committed focus.

 

In each piece, she was never the first dancer my eye was drawn to (save for when she was showing off those runway-diva struts in Fonte's Bolero). But once I spotted her, she was captivating. Every move she made—whether it was a big developpé a la seconde or a simple turn of her head—had an intention behind it. Her eyes, her face, her very being seemed to be fully "in the present," focused on each step of the choreography. It was very internal. Yet despite eye-popping tricks or look-at-me projection, it was exhilirating. She seemed to be dancing for her, not anyone else—and throroughly enjoying it.

 

 

 

 

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Original photos: Getty Images

We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.

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Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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