We Can't Get Enough of "The Ballet Cook Book"
Anyone who follows enough dancers on Instagram knows that we love to cook (and, like all good Insta users, to post pretty pictures of the delicious things we make). But dancer-chefs were a thing long before the internets. And there's no better evidence of that than Balanchine ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq's delightful Ballet Cook Book, which turns 50 years old this year.
Le Clercq was a gorgeous, leggy dancer (and Balanchine's fourth wife), whose career ended tragically when she contracted polio at age 27 and was paralyzed from the waist down. But polio couldn't silence her creative voice. In 1967, she published The Ballet Cook Book, a huge collection of recipes from ballet luminaries, interspersed with Le Clercq's witty commentary. There's Balanchine's sweet kasha and choreographer Frederick Ashton's bread pudding and dancer Jacques d'Amboise's "blender Bearnaise." It's seriously fabulous.
Le Clercq and d'Amboise at a signing for "The Ballet Cook Book" (Martha Swope for Dance Magazine)
Last weekend, Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum put on a program celebrating The Ballet Cook Book's 50th birthday, with a panel that included d'Amboise, fellow New York City Ballet legend Allegra Kent, current NYCB foodies Adrian Danchig-Waring and Jared Angle, and food scholar Meryl Rosofsky. In between the dancers' fantastic food stories—like the time Allegra tried to bring 40 pounds of California ice cream home in her suitcase—we saw excerpts from ballets touched on in The Ballet Cook Book, including a reconstruction of "Gluttony" from Balanchine's The Seven Deadly Sins. There was also footage of Le Clercq, dancing Mr. B's Western Symphony and Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun. It was a beautiful celebration of food, dance, and Le Clercq herself.
Unfortunately, since The Ballet Cook Book has been out of print for a while, copies are hard to come by (unless you have $1,100 lying around). But some of the book is excerpted in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance, including this gem from Mr. B about "a true cook's"—or dancer's—"qualifications":
"No matter what he does, he must not rush, yet he must not be late, and the finished product must be exquisite. You need patience, and finally you have to appease your public's appetite. Besides this...the whole must be pretty and there must be a lot of it."
By the way: If you're obsessed with dancer-chefs, get excited for our February issue!
Have we mentioned lately how much we love dance dads? Especially ones who show up to their daughter's ballet class sporting a tutu, like Thanh Tran.
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
Bunheads, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and we fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what?
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
You rehearse your group routine to perfection, but when the big performance rolls around, everyone turns into speed demons. It's the runaway-train effect—and it only takes one loud tapper, or zippy turner, to throw the whole group off the music.
While nerves and excitement are partly to blame, the ability to keep to tempo begins in the studio. A well-developed sense of musicality is your best defense against the dreaded speed trap. "When you understand how the steps fit with the music, going too fast won't just feel like rushing," says Jeremy Arnold, lecturer of tap at the University of Texas at Austin. "It'll feel wrong." How can dancers develop that musicality? It all starts with learning to listen.
You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).
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Kalea (pronounced kah-LAY-uh) Hidalgo knows how to move. Her decisive, dynamic dancing commands the stage: She gobbles up space so confidently it's hard to believe you're watching a mere tween. Unsurprisingly, that presence and power have started turning heads in a serious way. Not only did Talia Favia choreograph one of her solos in 2017, but Kalea also recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency in L.A. and, last summer, placed first overall in the junior contemporary solo category at Radix Nationals.
"When you're out on the dance floor, don't ask for permission—ask for forgiveness."—Kalea Hidalgo
Taylor Swift is #blessed in many ways: She's got a great voice, insane song writing skills, and, to quote her new hit single, she's "Gorgeous." She is not, however, blessed in the dance department. But that doesn't stop her from busting out the occasional dance move. In fact, Swift likes to playfully show off her less-than-stellar dancing, be it in her music videos (hello, "Shake It Off") or at music award shows. So we weren't surprised when during the latest episode of her "Making of a Song" series for AT&T, she unveiled a new endearingly awkward maneuver, which she's dubbed the "dolphin body roll"—and it practically had friend and producer Jack Antonoff rolling on the floor!🤣