Head of the Class
Photo by Paolo Galli. November 2010: KAB participates in an outreach program that shares dance with public school students in the area.
Megan Amanda Ehrlich spent much of her childhood bouncing from city to city because of her father’s job with the military. But one thing remained consistent: her commitment to ballet. By age 6, she had decided to pursue a professional career. At the time, she was training in the Vaganova method with Boris Chepelev and Janna Kirova in Florida. A year later, when her family moved to Washington, D.C., Megan Amanda auditioned for the Kirov Academy of Ballet, but was told to come back in a few years. She returned the following year—and was accepted on full scholarship. She spent two years at the prestigious academy before being uprooted again, and then returned to KAB as a high school sophomore. An airy dancer with to-die-for feet and easy technique, Megan Amanda graduated this past spring. Here, she shares moments from her senior year, documented by photographer Paolo Galli. —Katie Rolnick
Photo by Paolo Galli. Here, Megan Amanda and her friend Isaac Aoki, also at KAB, rehearse for the performance.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and other KAB students rehearse a demonstration for public school students.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and Isaac sneak in a game of cards before class.
Photo By Paolo Galli. December 2010: At KAB’s winter performance, Megan Amanda danced the pas de deux from La Sylphide. Here, her mom helps her into her costume.
Photo by Paolo Galli, Courtesy The Balanchine Trust. She also danced the Waltz Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade.
Photo by Isaac Aoki. January 2011: Megan Amanda did an impromptu photo shoot with her friend Isaac Aoki, who’s also a fledgling photographer.
Photo by Paulo Galli. March 2011: Megan Amanda found time to read, one of her favorite hobbies.
Photo by Paulo Galli. April 2011: Megan Amanda and fellow student Alex Babayev were asked to perform at a special awards ceremony. Martin Fredmann, deputy artistic director of the KAB, joined them—and they were all picked up in a limo!
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda in class with teacher Ludmila Morkovina
Photo by Paolo Galli. April 2011: For the KAB spring performance, Megan Amanda was cast as Odette in the second act of Swan Lake. Here, she rehearses with Chase O’Connell, a former KAB student.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and Chu-En Chiu as Odette and Siegfried in KAB’s production of Swan Lake
Photo by Paolo Galli. As they approach graduation, seniors at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. get professional audition photos taken.
Photo by Paolo Galli. On May 28, 2011, Megan Amanda graduated from high school at KAB.
EDITOR'S NOTE: After graduating, Megan Amanda moved to California to apprentice with San Francisco Ballet.
Birthday: July 20, 1995 (she graduated at 15!)
Favorite dance movie: Center Stage
Favorite book: “I really like murder mystery novels and books by James Patterson.”
Favorite TV shows: “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory”
Most played on her iPod: The album Dusk and Summer by Dashboard Confessional
Dance idol: “I really like Polina Semionova. I also look up to a lot of my friends. Dancing next to them in class pushes me to make myself better.”
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
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 for a chance to be featured!
I know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?
Instagram star Kylie Shea has built a following of nearly 170,000 with her playful workout videos, which combine traditional fitness activities, like jumping rope or running on the treadmill, with pointe shoes and sassy choreography. Shea's effortless cool-girl-next-door vibe and solid ballet technique make her vids totally irresistible.
Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.
Physical discomfort is inevitable when you're spending tons of hours in the studio every day, but some pain shouldn't be suffered through. "Dancing through pain can make an injury worse and lead to more time away from dance," says Dr. Joel Brenner, medical director of dance medicine at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA. "Failing to rest and recover when you're in serious pain could even lead to the point where you're unable to dance in the future."
That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.
Think about it: How often do you see a ballet pas de deux for two women? Almost never, right? Sometimes, choreographers will forgo the traditional danseur-ballerina pas to make a duet for two guys, since they can lift and partner each other easily. But a dance for two ballerinas is a rare thing.
That's part of what makes "Duet," a new video by director Andrew Margetson featuring Royal Ballet beauties Yasmin Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so compelling.