(Photo by Andrew Eccles)
A vision of power, grace and beauty, Renée Robinson has become one of the most respected modern dancers of our time. Growing up in Washington, D.C., she began taking ballet classes at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet at age 10. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School, receiving full scholarships to each, and was a member of Ailey II from 1979 to 1980. In 1981, Robinson joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She is now in her 29th season with AAADT—the longest tenure of any female dancer in the company’s history—and is the only remaining member of the troupe who was hand-picked by Alvin Ailey himself. In addition to dancing with the company, Robinson has performed at the Kennedy Center Awards, President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration and the 2003 White House State Dinner. Don’t miss your chance to see her as AAADT wraps up its 20-city U.S. tour at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 10–20. —Michael Anne Bailey
You are an individual. Remember that you have something to offer that is beautiful and unique.
The classes you take every day will give you the strength needed for a long and successful career. In addition to ballet, explore a wide variety of dance techniques, including Horton. You will need a diverse vocabulary for all the works you will one day perform onstage.
As your body is an instrument through which many different choreographers will share their voices, it must always be ready to sing. Cross-training will help you stay strong, balanced and in tune. You need to be able to work your muscles properly and with the right intensity. Knowing how to use your energy in a balanced way will keep the body intelligent.
Continue to grow as a person. A dancer who can bring herself fully to the stage will have something to say to the audience. So never stop learning. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open. Go to the theater, to museums, to concerts—and read everything!
Dance with joy and have faith that your journey will be full of grace and revelations. Feel the music and let the stage lights bathe your body as your story unfolds. The curtain is up and the world awaits.
From top to bottom photo by Andrew Eccles; courtesy Renée Robinson
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. 💃🏽 💃🏽