When I was 3, I told my mom that I wanted to be a ballerina. She thought I just wanted a tutu, so she made me one—but she quickly discovered I was serious! Two years later I started taking ballet classes, and I’ve been dancing ever since. During high school I attended summer programs at the Chautauqua Institution and Boston Ballet, and performed with a youth ballet company. A bad knee injury kept me from auditioning for professional groups, so I ended up at Princeton University, where I discovered choreography (and hip hop!) in a fantastic student-run dance troupe, diSiac Dance Company. College was also where I fell in love with writing. After graduation I pursued a master’s degree in journalism as part of New York University’s Cultural Reporting and Criticism program (where I met my idol, New Yorker dance writer Joan Acocella). Now I’m lucky enough to be combining all of my passions at Dance Spirit!
Five Fun Facts About Margaret:
- My family calls me Meg, but in kindergarten I decided to go by Margaret because I thought it was a better “ballerina name.”
- I have my best gym workouts when I’m listening to ballet music. No, seriously!
- I like raw carrots but not cooked carrots, and baked potatoes but not mashed potatoes.
- I never use the snooze button. I’m fully awake the first time the alarm goes off—or even a minute before. This is a problem on weekends.
- My cat, Molly, has fantastic “turnout.” Her front feet naturally face outward!
I’ve been addicted to dance since age 4, when my mom finally gave in to my year-long campaign to attend ballet classes. From there, I studied classical ballet at a couple of studios in the Philadelphia suburbs and attended Boston Ballet’s Summer DanceLab. After performing in my high school’s musicals—I was a lead dancer in both Footloose and Sweet Charity—I added jazz, tap and modern classes to my weekly training schedule. Before choosing a college, I wanted to see what a conservatory might be like. I found myself back in Boston, at The Boston Conservatory’s summer dance intensive. I completely fell in love with it and the city (go Red Sox!), and five years later I graduated from “BoCo” with a B.F.A. in dance performance. Today, I feel so lucky to have found a job that’s both in my dream city, NYC, and with the magazine that I subscribed to growing up—I still have all my issues.
Five Fun Facts About Jenny:
- I live with my dog, Louie. She’s a Labrador-mix that loves to give kisses and cuddle on the couch.
- I teach ballet classes around NYC. It’s inspiring and often hilarious—little kids really do say the darnedest things!
- Center Stage is my all-time favorite dance movie, no question about it. I can still act out every part line-by-line, and if it’s on TV, you know I’m watching it.
- I’ve taken class with Mark Morris and Robert Battle, and both Baryshnikov and Merce Cunningham have watched classes that I’ve been in. Talk about pressure to not mess up!
- Before I came to Dance Spirit, I was the education editor at both Dance Magazine and Pointe, and I was an assistant editor at Dance Teacher.
When I was 3, my mom signed me up for my first ballet class. I quit before my first Nutcracker, whining, “Mom, they make me suck in!” Five years later, I came back to dance on my own terms, taking tap and hip hop at Kickline Dance Center in Lawrence, PA. It was there that I caught the dance bug, and I haven’t looked back since. I began taking every class offered—jazz, modern, lyrical, musical theater—and eventually, I found my way back to ballet. In high school, I became the studio’s resident bunhead, and I began taking extra ballet and pointe classes at Bodiography Center for Movement in Pittsburgh. My senior year, I was selected as one of two trainees for Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, the affiliated professional company. This experience led me straight to Princeton University, where I studied English and dance. But much of what I learned at Princeton, I learned from the talented members of my two student dance companies—Bodyhype and Princeton University Ballet. Upon graduating, I never dreamed of finding a job that so perfectly combined my passions of dance and writing, and yet here I am!
Five Fun Facts About Maggie:
- I’m obsessed with raw fish, particularly spicy tuna. I eat so much tuna that my roommates are concerned I may have mercury poisoning.
- Before I discovered sushi, parsnips were my favorite food. Most people don’t even know what parsnips are, and my friends call me a rabbit for loving them!
- Cotton balls terrify me. The crunching noise they make when you squeeze them gives me the chills!
- I switched my major three times. I went in as a psychology major, declared religion, and then switched to English.
- My black lab mix, Tucker, likes to watch “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dance Moms” with me when I’m home in Pittsburgh.
When I was three, I took my first ballet class at a park district center. After a one-season stint as a softball player, I decided I should probably stick with dancing. I danced through grade school, junior high and high school, and then attended the University of Iowa as a dance and English major. I really wanted to audition for companies after graduation—until I spent a summer as an intern at Pointe magazine! That totally changed my perspective, and I focused on finding a dance-related job after graduation. I ended up back home in Chicago at the Joffrey Ballet, where I worked in development for a year and a half. Now, I’m thrilled to be working at Dance Spirit, back in the office that influenced my career decisions in a huge and positive way.
Five Fun Facts About Meggie:
- I have seen White Christmas probably 120 times. It’s my favorite movie, and I will (and do) watch it any time of the year.
- I really dislike sleeping without socks on. Sometimes, in the winter, I sleep with two pairs!
- When I was little, I walked around on my toes so much that my doctor told my parents they had to do exercises to my ankles to make sure my Achilles tendons wouldn’t shorten permanently. Sometimes, if I’m not paying attention, I still walk around on my toes.
- I will always choose vanilla over chocolate.
- A vase of fresh flowers is one of my favorite things in the world. I love tulips and lily of the valley.
I didn’t start dancing until I was 9 years old, when my mom suggested that I might be better suited to the dance studio than to gymnastics. She was right. I started out taking ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop, but I quickly became a serious bunhead. In high school I performed with a local student company, directed by two former Sacramento Ballet principals. I went to Hampshire College, where I completed a dual degree in resource politics and performance studies. College introduced me to modern and experimental dance, which fed my ongoing obsession with contemporary dance. Going to college also gave me the opportunity to choreograph my own work, something I continue to pursue. After spending a few years freelancing in Chicago, I’ve landed in New York. I can’t believe I get to dance and write in a city pulsing with so much creative energy!
Five Fun Facts About Nicole:
- When I was a senior in high school I made an onstage mistake in every single one of my performances, including one in front of 2,000 people.
- The only nickname I’ve ever had is Chel-Chel, thanks to college roommates who thought my name was Chelsea.
- I am a voracious reader and I average one book per week. Hit me up for recommendations!
- I love to climb trees and will do so at any opportunity.
- I’ve been in classes with San Francisco Ballet and LINES Ballet principals, and dancers from Gallim Dance and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. How inspiring!
(All photos by Erin Baiano)