Nothing compares to that magical moment when your teacher says you're ready for your first pair of pointe shoes. We asked four A-list pros to recall the moment they learned they could start pointe.

Angelica Generosa, Pacific Northwest Ballet

"I was 9 years old when I got my first pair of pointe shoes and I couldn't stop smiling. My teacher told me I was the exception to the rule—strong enough to start at that age. It definitely hurt at first, and dancing felt strange. But after a few private sessions with my teacher I got the hang of it and wanted to learn more."

Megan Fairchild, New York City Ballet

"I remember taking such care sewing my first pair of shoes that I needed a whole hour to do it. My school's pointe classes started slowly, with us doing exercises facing the barre for a couple minutes at the end of class. My 'tailor's bunions' (the ones by the pinky toe) popped out in the first week. But I don't remember it being painful, and my body just kind of reshaped to deal with the new stress."

Jeraldine Mendoza, Joffrey Ballet

A post shared by Jeraldine Mendoza (@jeraldm) on

"I was 11 when my teacher told me to buy my first pair of pointe shoes. I'm an overachiever, so when I was allowed to take pointe class, I was excited to be at the level of the older dancers whom I admired."

Heather Ogden, The National Ballet of Canada

"Pointe shoes are such a beautiful part of the ballet aesthetic, and when I got my first pair, it felt like a true breakthrough on my path to becoming a ballerina. I remember it wasn't the most comfortable feeling, but I think I was on such a high that I was willing to withstand the pain. It didn't take long to realize that there was a whole new vocabulary of dance that became available once I had my pointe shoes on. I think my first pair lasted me a year. Now I wear through a pair per day!"

A version of this post appeared in the March 2013 issue of Dance Spirit.

Fairchild in rehearsal for the "Miss Turnstiles" number in On the Town (photo by Monica Simes, via Playbill)

Back in June, we shared the exciting news that New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild will play Ivy Smith in the upcoming Broadway revival of On the Town. If you're not familiar with the show, New Yorker Ivy Smith is chosen to represent the NYC Subway for a month as "Miss Turnstiles" (smh at odd 1940s customs...). Ivy's picture on the subway comes into play later, when the show's protagonists—three sailors on a day off from the Navy—embark on a quest to find her.

Recently, Broadway.com shared a rehearsal video of the "Miss Turnstiles" routine. Watch it once, and you'll know exactly why the NYCB principal was chosen for the role. Much like the rest of the show, this number is packed with difficult choreography. Everything from crisp petit allegro to some seriously intense lifts, from an epic menage to about a bazillion fouettés, choreographer Joshua Bergasse did not go easy on her. And quite frankly, we're thrilled—because watching one of our favorite ballerinas completely nail an action-packed Broadway number makes us feel happy inside.

Check it out!

On the Town officially opens October 16, but preview performances have already begun at Lyric Theatre on Broadway. For tickets, click here.

Pulling back the curtain on tried and true ballerina habits never gets old. We've pored over the contents of New York City Ballet dancers' travel cases (Weird heating pads! Notes from fans!), drooled over American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston's amazing style, (Helloooo 70s flair!), received our daily dose of #fitspo from international ballerinas with enviable workout gear (Black and neon, together, forever.) and gone completely bonkers for the delicious diets of the women at the National Ballet of Canada (Homemade kombucha. 'Nuff said.).

Now it's time to whip out our notebooks once more, because New York City Ballet principals Sara Mearns and Megan Fairchild, along with corps member Gretchen Smith, have revealed what they eat in a day. Aside from being co-stars in two absolutely stunning Cole Haan advertising campaigns, these lovely ladies know what it takes to fuel their bodies for weeks of hard dancing. Check it out below, and the full story here:

 

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Nutcracker mania is in full swing right now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. This year, some of our favorite ballerinas are getting much-deserved coverage leading up to their performances (obviously because of their talent, but also thanks to ballet's crazy-fast increase in pop culture visibility this year). Case in point: Megan Fairchild, a principal with New York City Ballet, spoke with People Magazine about what the iconic role of Sugarplum means to her.

Fairchild living her Sugarplum dreams. (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

Fairchild, who starred as Ivy Smith (aka "Miss Turnstiles") in On the Town on Broadway this past year, looks so at home on stage. But when asked about her first time ever performing the role, she told People, "I wanted to walk off the stage...I felt very vulnerable and I had no faith in myself. We got through it, but it wasn't a perfect show and I cried afterwards. There were a lot of growing pains." We all know this feeling, but Fairchild assures us that things get better with time, practice and experience.

Fairchild with Joaquin De Luz as her trusty cavalier. (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

The rest of the interview offers some wonderful insight into this timeless role. Click here to read on!

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It seems like every time we blink, another one of our favorite ballerinas is joining the cast of On the Town. We couldn't be more excited to see New York City Ballet's Georgina Pazcoguin as Ivy, starting August 11th!

Pazcoguin shows us how it's done with Amar Ramasar in Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. (Photo Paul Kolnik)

We can't wait to see how Pazcoguin will make the role her own. If her performance in the cast's ensemble, her dynamite performances in West Side Story Suite or the film adaptation of N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz are any indication, her time as Ivy is going to be high energy, to say the least. Fellow NYCB dancer Megan Fairchild has killed it in the role since the musical's opening, and American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland will undoubtedly do the same when she takes over for Pazcoguin beginning August 25th.

Last fall, Cole Haan and three New York City Ballet dancers—Megan Fairchild, Sara Mearns and Gretchen Smith—collaborated on a line of the most ballerina of ballet flats. We loved the results: adorable shoes and beautiful campaign pictures. What's better than seeing some of our favorite ballerinas jump around in big, glossy advertisements?

(From left) Gretchen Smith, Sara Mearns and Megan Fairchild modeling their ballet flat designs (Photo via Cole Haan)

Good news because not only are they keeping the collaboration going, but they've taken it to an entirely new level: "Prepare for Takeoff" guys! The campaign, which is promoting Cole Haan's ZerøGrand collection, once again features Fairchild, Mearns and Smith, but with an added twist–the trio is joined by two professional Parkour athletes, Jason Chu and Devon Spence.

The unstoppable "Prepare for Takeoff" group (Photo by Sebastian Kim for Cole Haan)

The whole thing was shot at the TWA Flight Center in Queens, NY, and Cole Haan made sure it had tons of elements: breathtaking photos of all five artists jumping, jeté-ing, chassé-ing and kicking, profiles on each person and an amazing behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot (check it out below!).

It's fascinating when you get a glimpse of a dancer's offstage life, and it's completely the opposite of what you'd expect based on her onstage presence. In a way it's even better, though, when you find out that an artist's non-dancer persona is exactly in tune with her dancer persona. There's the sense that this person just is who she is, whether she's relaxing at home or performing for thousands of people.

Fairchild in Balanchine's Theme and Variations (photo by Paul Kolnik)

Megan Fairchild, New York City Ballet principal and star of Broadway's On the Town, falls into that second category. When she's breezing through a Balanchine classic with NYCB or charming the pants off everyone as Ivy Smith in OTT, she comes across as sunny, polished and self-possessed. This weekend, the New York Times gave us a peek inside her Dobbs Ferry, NY, home—which she shares with husband and fellow NYCB principal Andrew Veyette—and the story made it clear that her offstage world is much the same: cheerful, elegant and totally put-together.

Seriously: We want this girl's life. Her gorgeous antique house came complete with an official plaque from the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society. There's a backyard for her two doggies to play in, and two spare rooms for her future kids to sleep in. Her decor is studded with  awesome little treasures, like a glass pitcher that was a wedding present from, ahem, Wendy Whelan. This is her living room...

Tony Cenicola/New York Times

...and this is her husband...

Tony Cenicola/New York Times

...and this is her puppy! (Well, one of two.)

Tony Cenicola/New York Times

It's all beautiful and perfect—a modern fairytale that parallels the fairytales she stars in onstage. Click here to see the rest of the photos and read the whole story!

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