Another Day, Another Weird Ballet Stunt
You guys. This is getting a little bit out of hand. First the Kendall Jenner debacle, and now this? Despite the fact that dance seems to be getting more coverage than ever before (thanks to celebs, TV shows, movies and tasteful advertising campaigns), there are still lingering stereotypes about ballet being easy, or dance not being a real job.
Le sigh. Vanity Fair released a short video to accompany a story on dance-student-turned-photographer Petra Collins. There are several things at play here, and before we totally freak out, I think it's important to weigh them all:
- The story is about how Collins rebounded from a devastating knee injury, incurred when she was a teenager, to find a love of photography. Neither the story nor the video are attempting to portray her as a professional dancer. It's about reinvention.
- That said, the video is set up to show Collins "teaching" ballet. Yikes! It's clear from the moment she walks on camera that she doesn't posses the level of ballet technique necessary to teach others. There's lots of giggling and she describes herself as an "expert non-expert," so we know this is for fun. But that's leads us to point 3.
- It's obvious that Collins isn't trying to pose as a professional. The real problem is that there are tons of stunning professional dancers who could have been hired for this video—for EVERY dance-related video and advertisement—but who aren't. When professional dancers aren't sought out and hired, it reinforces the idea that dance isn't serious, or popular...or even a real thing that people do for their career.
Let's consider a scenario in which a video combining ballet and Petra Collins could have been something other than very strange. She could have been dancing her heart out with her friends in her living room. She could have been receiving technique pointers from a pro, like Laurie Hernandez in this video. She could have been talking about what the loss of ballet meant to her while she improvised movement. She could have been photographing a few professional dancers, since photography is her current medium and dance is her first love. Too bad Dev Hynes (accompanying on piano) couldn't get some of his new dance friends involved with this project. #disappointed
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. 💃🏽 💃🏽