With her endless, eloquent legs and serene stage presence, Maria Kowroski is precisely what you would imagine a New York City Ballet principal to be. At 7 years old, the Michigan native started studying at the School of Grand Rapids Ballet, and as a teenager she went on to train at NYC’s School of American Ballet. Kowroski’s hard work and commitment to the Balanchine technique paid off when she became a NYCB apprentice in 1994. That same year, she won a prestigious Princess Grace Award, an honor granted to outstanding emerging artists. Kowroski was invited to join the NYCB corps in 1995 and made a quick rise through the ranks, becoming a principal just four years later. Today, the long, lithe ballerina continues to impress audiences in Balanchine works like Prodigal Son, “Rubies” from Jewels and Agon. Don’t miss her as the Sugar Plum Fairy in NYCB’s Nutcracker, opening November 26th at Lincoln Center. —Katie Rolnick
To My Younger Self,
We strive for perfection as artists, but please don’t obsess over it. Be gentler on yourself. You may get frustrated because you want to be better, stronger or able to do things the way someone else does. You may suffer injuries that feel like the end of the world. But you will soon realize that those struggles are what help you grow. And though there are dancers who inspire you, remember that you are a unique individual. Your gift is precious and unlike that of any other dancer.
Educate yourself by attending the theater, reading books and visiting museums. Take all that life has offered you and let it enhance you as an artist. Be kind to yourself and to everyone around you, and you will receive the respect you desire. Enjoy your time onstage, for that is a very special opportunity that so few experience. But remember that you have a lot of life yet to live, and this is only one chapter in a long book.
Finally, take time for yourself, write in your journal and remain peaceful. Life as a ballerina can seem very glamorous, but it’s also hectic, so it’s important to stay centered.
Love and angels,
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?
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).
Let's face it—spare time is pretty tough to come by when you're a dancer. You're either rushing to get ready for rehearsal, rushing to rehearsal, a combo of the two, or in rehearsal (or performing, or in class, or at an audition...you get the picture). Well here at DS, we understand the struggle is REAL, which is why we've rounded up our favorite foolproof makeup hacks, approved by resident #LazyGirl when it comes to makeup (spoiler alert: it's me). On to the hacks!
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.
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!🤣
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.
Look, guys, we know: It is too darn early for holly-jolliness. But the Rockettes appeared on the "Today" show this morning to promote the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and we can't help it—as soon as we see that iconic kickline, we start daydreaming about sleigh bells and mistletoe and gingerbread lattes.