The Dirt with Rachel Foster
Rachel Foster in Paul Gibson’s The Piano Dance. By Angela Sterling
Rachel Foster is the image of power and athleticism. The Pacific Northwest Ballet principal excels at both the intricacy of contemporary works and the precision of George Balanchine’s neoclassical choreography. She trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School before joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1998 and then the PNB corps in 2002. In 2009, Dance Magazine featured Foster as one of its “25 to Watch,” and the magazine had it right: Foster, who’d been promoted to soloist in 2008, was made a principal in 2011. Her time in the company also brought her luck in love, and she’s now married to Le Yin, a former PNB principal dancer who’s on faculty at the PNB School. Catch Foster this month in PNB’s “All Premiere” program, November 2–11, and read on for The Dirt.
What did you want to be when you were a teen? It's always been my dream to dance and become a professional ballet dancer. When I was a teenager, my parents would drive me 2 hours to ballet class and 2 hours home every day.
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Alina Cojucaru
Biggest guilty pleasure: Sleeping in. I have a dog named Ceasar who loves his early morning walks.
Favorite food: My husband's wonderful Chinese cooking. Everything else tastes so bland in comparison.
What's your biggest pet peave? Littering
One thing most people don't know about you: I'm really messy at the studio, but at home I'm a neat freak. I love to clean and organize.
If you weren't a dancer, what would you be? I love animals. I could see myself as a veterinarian.
One thing you can't live without: A telephone call to or from my mom every day.
Who is your dance crush? My husband. I still have a dance crush on him.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? My husband and I talk frequently about opening our own ballet studio.
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. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.