A Star Is Born
Ah, the French. They really do have a flair for drama. In most ballet companies, even the biggest promotions happen quietly, offstage. At Paris Opéra Ballet, when someone is made an étoile ("star" in French—the equivalent of principal), the announcement happens onstage, usually following a breakthrough performance by the dancer in question. The audience gets to celebrate with him or her. It's always a wonderful—and often an extremely moving—moment.
Last night, Ludmila Pagliero (haven't seen her? she's gorgeous, and here's evidence) was made an étoile after she danced Gamzatti in La Bayadère—and the drama factor was even higher than usual. First: Pagliero wasn't supposed to be dancing Gamzatti. Four (seriously, four!) other dancers were to have alternated in the part, but all were felled by injuries before the broadcast. Pagliero, who last danced the role in 2010, had just hours to rehearse before hitting the stage. Second: The performance was broadcast live to cinemas worldwide. Talk about pressure! Third: Unlike the vast majority of POB dancers, Pagliero isn't French, and she didn't study at the POB School. So the fact that she became an étoile—overcoming the company's well-known French bias—is an extra-big deal.
What a crazy, exciting, marvelous way for this very, very talented dancer to begin her "star" turn. How is she celebrating? By dancing Gamzatti again, of course—at both of tomorrow's Bayadère performances. Congrats, Ludmila—and merde!
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽