Ballet Stars

Go Behind-the-Scenes at the Vail Dance Festival with These Incredible Instagram Posts

Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

If, like us, you're anywhere that isn't the Vail Dance Festival right now, you're obviously bummed to be missing all the amazing performances, premieres and collaborations currently underway. Luckily, many of our favorite bunheads have been keeping us updated on the amazing work being done up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains via Instagram. Here's a roundup of some of our favorite posts so far.


Jennifer Garner is Back on the Ballet Scene

These days, it feels like no ballet performance is complete without a visit from well-known ballet lover Jennifer Garner, who joined her fellow Cindy, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, as well as New York City Ballet's Lauren Lovette and Unity Phelan backstage after their performance of George Balanchine's Serenade. Garner also had the chance to celebrate with her other beloved Cindy James Whiteside backstage during the world premiere of his new work, New American Romance.

Isabella Boylston is Fall-ing in Love with "Serenade"

Speaking of Boylston, the ABT star made her debut in Serenade on Friday, and posted a hilarious behind-the-scenes video of her attempt at the infamously hard promenade from the ballet's pas de trois with Whiteside and Lovette. Bonus points to Boylston for managing to stay on pointe all the way until the end!

An Insider Look At "Apollo" Rehearsal 

Phelan joined fellow Vail regular, ABT soloist Calvin Royal III, in rehearsal for another complicated Balanchine partnering maneuver. In this video, Royal and Phelan harness their inner ballet gods and goddesses during a rehearsal for Apollo while being coached by former NYCB principals Heather Watts and Vail artistic director Damian Woetzel.

Visit the Vail Stage with the Dancers of ABT

ABT corps dancer Isadora Loyola gives us another chance to go behind-the-scenes with her fellow company members in rehearsal for Antony Tudor's Jardin Aux Lilac, Whitesides' New American Romance, as well as a pre-barre glimpse at the perfectly picturesque Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (can you say dream performance space?)

James Whiteside, Tap Phenom

Catch Whiteside back in his tap shoes in rehearsal for Michelle Dorrance's 1-2-3-4-5-6, which made its world premiere at Vail in 2016. Whiteside will tap-tap-tap alongside Dorrance herself, as well as Vail breakout star Lil Buck and Pam Tanowitz Dance's Melissa Toogood.

Colorado Ballet + Isabella Boylston + "Serenade" = Perfection

Catch the lovely ladies of Colorado Ballet (feat. special guest star Boylston) in rehearsal for Serenade in this video. Nothing says Vail like an amazing collaboration, and we love watching Boylston bourrée alongside Colorado corps members Mackenzie Dessens, Emily Speed, Sarah Tryon and Fernanda Oliveira.

Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

Keep reading... Show less
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:

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

An artistic director's position was far from Li Cunxin's mind when the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet came calling in 2012. Since his retirement from the stage in 1999, the Chinese-Australian dancer had embarked on a highly successful career at the helm of a stockbroking firm. His wife, former dancer and current Queensland ballet mistress Mary McKendry Li, changed his mind, Li remembers. "She said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give something back to the art form that we both have benefited so much from?' "

Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

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

Keep reading... Show less