The Misty Effect: Miranda Silveira, Corps de Ballet, San Francisco Ballet
There's a serenity and ease to every one of Miranda Silveira's movements. Even in a lightning-fast classical variation, her port de bras is effortlessly liquid.
Growing up in Barcelona, Spain, Silveira excelled at everything from hip hop to tap to contemporary. She moved to Madrid at 14 to start getting serious about ballet at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza Mariemma. At 16, she accepted a full scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School—with less than a week's notice. "It was hard moving 5,000 miles from home to suddenly start a new life," Silveira says. But she relied on ballet to pull her through: "The rhythm of everyday classes, and knowing it was a good step for my future, kept me going."
Silveira became an apprentice with San Francisco Ballet in 2013, and joined the corps in 2014. Since then, she's built a varied repertory, including featured roles in several full-length story ballets. In the future, Silveira wants to keep telling stories, bringing to life iconic roles like Onegin's Tatiana and the Alvin Ailey solo Cry. "Of course, there's been an increase in diversity in ballet—if we compare it to back in the day, it's amazing how many different dancers from all over the world are pursuing this professionally," she says. "But it's still a very narrow field, especially in terms of skin color. Change should start in the schools, with training. We need to go further to bring students from all over. If the dancers are diversified, the audience will be, too."
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."
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
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.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
"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.