Meet the Editors
Margaret Fuhrer, Editor in Chief
Photo by Erin Baiano
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. Bad knees 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.
Courtney Bowers, Managing Editor
Photo by Nathan Sayers
For my first tap performance, at age 5, I wore the world's itchiest blue tutu—but I couldn't have cared less, because from that moment on I was absolutely in love with being onstage. A few years later, I got into musical theater dance and began attending summer programs at Broadway Dance Center. While studying at Georgia State University, I performed in regional productions—Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, 42nd Street—and also discovered my love of magazine journalism. After working for a few years at a publishing company in Atlanta, I decided it was finally time to make the move to NYC. Now, I'm beyond grateful to be merging my passions here at Dance Spirit.
Olivia Manno, Assistant Editor
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk
I was 4 years old when my mom thought it would be a good idea to put me on a pony rather than in a dance class. 18 years later, I have no regrets—I had an incredible competitive horseback riding career—but the itch to dance never really disappeared. So, instead of attempting an art form that takes a lifetime to master (not to mention some serious natural ability), I decided to admire dance as a spectator and a student. Attending New York University as a fine arts major was especially eye-opening. There was so, so much amazing dance within NYC. I started going to New York City Ballet and to shows at the Joyce Theater as much as possible, and was lucky enough to witness works of every dance genre by some insanely talented student-choreographers at NYU. Now I'm reading and writing about dance all day, and I couldn't be more excited!
Helen Rolfe, Assistant Editor
Photo by Erin Baiano
Because she knew I'd end up tall (I'm just over 5'10"), my mom thought I should learn to stand up straight and wear my height with pride. So she put me in a combination ballet/tap class when I was 4—and I hated it right off the bat. Everything changed a few years later, when I realized working hard meant improved technique and—even better—time in the spotlight! I tackled every style I could get my hands on in my hometown of Norfolk, VA, and on weekend trips to D.C. and NYC. During high school, I trained in musical theater at the Governor's School for the Arts and spent summers at the Rockettes Summer Intensive, Ballet Chicago and Interlochen Arts Camp before moving to NYC to model professionally. After four years studying Japanese, dance and philosophy at Connecticut College, I'm thrilled to be living my dance-writing dreams in the greatest city in the world. (Yes, that was a Hamilton reference!)
Katherine Beard, Assistant Editor
Photo by Jayme Thornton
I started studying ballet at three years old, and have been smitten with it ever since. When I was seven, my mom asked me why I liked dancing so much, and I told her that when I danced nothing else mattered and everything just made sense. (Although I 'm not gonna lie—the gorgeous tutus were a major draw, too.) Though I've tried to quit ballet, the little girl within just won't relent. After working at Marie Claire, U.S. News & World Report , and The New York Times, as well as a stint in Africa, I now get to combine my passion for journalism and my love of dance, working at the company that nurtured my dreams of tutus and pointe shoes to begin with.
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
American Ballet Theatre principal Sarah Lane charms audiences with her bright energy and crisp technique. The San Francisco, CA, native first started dancing at age 4 at a local community center, and at age 7 started training in Memphis, TN, at the Classical Ballet Memphis. Her family later moved to Rochester, NY, where she continued studying at the Draper Center for Dance Education. In 2002, she was a YoungArts Foundation winner in dance, allowing her to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2003, was made a soloist in 2007, and was promoted to principal last fall. Recently, she originated the role of Princess Praline in Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. Catch her later this spring during ABT's Metropolitan Opera season. —Courtney Bowers
You and I both know that dancing is the best thing since chocolate chip cookies! But its always nice when dance gets the recognition it deserves from non–dance-world peeps. That's why we did our own happy dance when we saw Shape magazine's article on how dancing can actually make you a better athlete.
When Ruby Castro became a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, she was a fresh, feisty new face to most at-home viewers. But in the dance world—particularly on the ballroom circuit—Ruby was already a household name. Miami-based Ruby grew up as a belle of the ballroom: Her parents, Manny and Lory Castro, are veritable superstars of the scene. They're the owners of Dance Town, an ultra-competitive studio in Doral, FL, and raised Ruby to follow in their furiously fast footsteps. Before she graced the "SYT" stage, Ruby had already been named a U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom, and competed on "America's Got Talent"—twice!
So, we know she's talented, we know she's versatile, we know she's stunning, and we know she can dance. But here's what you may not know about Ruby.
You know that thing when you're onstage at a competition and you catch your teacher unconsciously marking through every step of the choreography in the wings, just willing you and the rest of the group to dance perfectly?
Yeah—that happens in ice dancing, too. Case in point: the scene at the Olympic rink yesterday, as Canadian ice-dancing legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated their way to their third Olympic gold.
Obviously, their performance was all kinds of epic. But the off-ice "performance" given by their coach, Marie-France Dubreuil, was EVERYTHING.
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
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 want to dance in a ballet company, but I'm insecure about my body. I'm not skinny, and I don't think I ever will be, because that's just not the way I'm built. Please be honest with me: If I don't have the traditional ballet body, do I have a future in professional ballet?