Though she is winding down her career performing with New York City Ballet, Wendy Whelan isn't retiring from the ballet world. This fall, she will join the faculty at Ballet Academy East, and will continue to share her vast experience with the students in the school's Pre-Professional Division. BAE—under the directorship of Julia Dubno and Darla Hoover—is already home to notable faculty, including former American Ballet Theatre principal Maxim Beloserkovsky. Hoover is a répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, and Whelan's addition to the faculty will certainly enhance the students' performance and understanding of Balanchine's work.

 

BAE students in "Serenade", choreography by George Balanchine, ©The George Balanchine Trust, photo: Rosalie O'Connor

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Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

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Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

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Ballet Stars

At the end of Swan Lake's Act I, Prince Siegfried finds himself alone after guests have departed from his birthday celebration, processing the news that he'll soon need to choose a wife. The soul-searching prince dances an introspective, almost mournful solo that is one of the most challenging male variations in the classical repertoire. Rudolf Nureyev, a formidable performer and a relentless technician, gives an inspired interpretation of the solo in this clip from a 1964 Vienna State Opera performance.

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Ballet Careers
David Kornfield, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada

I first saw Maria Seletskaya when she was dancing as a leading soloist in Europe. Years later, she sent me a video of herself with the Stuttgart Ballet—not as a dancer, but as a guest orchestra conductor! I found her work and this particular transition very exciting and so I brought it to the attention of David Briskin, musical director of the National Ballet of Canada (where I dance), to see what he would think.

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