Yuan Yuan Tan is the Newest Ballet Barbie

Mattel has just announced the newest 14 dolls in its Barbie Global Role Model series, and we're thrilled to see that San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan has made the list. Tan joins the ranks of Misty Copeland, who was immortalized in Barbie form just last year.

The Barbie Shero program honors real women who have broken boundaries in their fields, and can act as an inspiration to the next generation of girls. Tan certainly fits that bill. She was both the youngest dancer ever promoted to principal in SFB's long history and the first Chinese-born ballerina to maintain a principal position at the top of the American ballet world. Her doll wears her Swan Lake Odette costume and is in relevé in white shoes (though any bunhead knows that those untucked ribbons would never pass). "It's important to me that young girls know that they can be anything they want to be, so they should dream big and never give up," Tan told the San Francisco Chronicle.



This newest crop of Sheros was released to coincide with International Women's Day on Thursday, March 8. Tan is in good company alongside Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and designer and entrepreneur Leyla Piedayesh, among others. The Role Model dolls are one of a kind and are not for sale, but nevertheless we always love when ballet is well represented in the mainstream. Mattel, the company behind Barbie, is seeking suggestions for other inspiring women via the #MoreRoleModels hashtag on social media. Which other dancers to you think should be added to the list?

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Jayme Thornton

Roman Mejia Is Carving His Own Path at New York City Ballet

In a brightly lit studio high above the busy Manhattan streets, Roman Mejia rehearses George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Though just 20, the New York City Ballet corps dancer exudes an easy confidence. Practicing a tricky sequence of triple pirouettes into double tours his breathing becomes labored, but his focus doesn't waver. He works until he finds the music's inherent rhythm, timing his turns evenly and finally landing them with a satisfied smile.

Since joining NYCB in 2017, Mejia has had the chance to take on ballets ranging from Romeo + Juliet to Fancy Free to Kyle Abraham's hip-hop–infused The Runaway. Though he often finds himself the youngest person in the room, Mejia is rarely intimidated. He's been immersed in ballet since birth. His father, Paul Mejia, danced with NYCB in the 1960s, and his mother, Maria Terezia Balogh, danced for Chicago City Ballet and Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet. Both of Mejia's parents and his grandmother attended the School of American Ballet. Now, Mejia is quickly building on his family's legacy, creating buzz with his shot-from-a-cannon energy, rapid-fire footwork and charismatic charm.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy

Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

As COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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