World Ballet Day is BACK, dance friends! Tomorrow, October 5, five top-notch ballet companies—The Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet—will host a 22-hour (!) live stream, bringing viewers inside their classes, rehearsals, and backstage preparations. Ten additional ballet companies will join the hosting orgs for guest appearances. It's the fourth year we've been gifted this ballet present, and 2017's version looks to be bigger and more beautiful than ever before.
You guys know how obsessed I am with Insta meetups. These genius events unite passionate photographers with compelling subject matter, and then leverage the power of social media technology to give people multiple perspectives on the same idea, object or place.
May I then call your attention to The Royal Opera House's #balletbeauty meetup? Home of The Royal Ballet, ROH organized the event as a way to invite top London 'grammers to take a peek inside the dressing rooms of the company dancers. And while #balletbeauty pretty much spells out the theme of the images, there's a whole lot more performance face mirror selfies. Take a look:
As the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker (photo by Johan Persson/ROH)
Royal Ballet principal Sarah Lamb is an unlikely mixture of softness and steel. In photographs she looks like the archetypically delicate ballerina. Watch her move, though, and you’ll see the strength that grounds each refined pose.
Born in Boston, MA, Lamb began training at the Boston Ballet School at age 6. She joined Boston Ballet in 1998, and won silver medals at the Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition in 1999, the New York International Ballet Competition in 2000 and the USA IBC in 2002. In 2003 she was promoted to principal at BB, but a year later, looking to broaden her repertoire, she accepted a first soloist contract with The Royal in London. Lamb became a principal dancer in 2006, and has since danced nearly every classical lead. She’ll be onstage at Covent Garden this month in The Nutcracker and George Balanchine’s Jewels. —Margaret Fuhrer
Lamb as a teen (courtesy Sarah Lamb)
Before I preach all the wisdom one gains simply through living and experiencing life, I want to say I am quite satisfied with the way you’re living your teenage years. You’re serious about your academic studies, and I cannot emphasize enough how strong a foundation that will give you to continue to learn and seek knowledge. You’re not consumed by one goal—to be a ballerina. Rather, you know what you want and are working incredibly hard at it, whilst taking Advanced Placement French and government and having many friends who don’t even know what ballet is.
A young Lamb with her mentor, Tatiana Legat (courtesy Sarah Lamb)
Keep being skeptical and believing you have the intelligence to question people and truisms, but know when to be polite and keep it to yourself. Value your self-assurance. That is one thing that can disappear as you become more and more aware of the scrutiny and criticism that is intrinsic to our art. Be sure to use criticism to your advantage, not detriment. Right now you’re not overly self-critical, and that fearlessness is serving you well. Hold on to it, even as you gain knowledge of what it’s like to fail.
Everyone has highs and lows in life, so resilience is one of the most important characteristics to cultivate. Your tenacity and diligence will combine with desire and “talent” (however one wants to define that) to foster the best artist you can be.
If you're one of Dusty Button's 146,000 (and counting) Instagram followers, you know this ballerina doesn't fit any molds. Because while she holds down a job as a Boston Ballet principal dancer and takes the stage in ultimate classical roles like Odette/Odile (which she performed this past April), she's just as comfortable in a fast-paced contemporary Jorma Elo piece or in a thin pair of socks working a hotel ballroom floor.
We know you're obsessed with extraordinary ballerina Alessandra Ferri—because EVERYONE is obsessed with extraordinary ballerina Alessandra Ferri. (Non-bunhead friends: Even if the name doesn't ring a bell, the feet definitely will.) Ferri's brilliant artistry has been inspiring dancers ever since she was named the Royal Ballet's youngest-ever principal dancer at age 19.
That was in 1983. Today, Ferri is 52—and more inspiring than ever. Though she officially retired in 2013, Ferri recently returned to the stage, showing off still-solid technique (pointework included) and her singularly intoxicating perfume. This June, she'll even dance Juliet in Kenneth Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet—one of her signature roles—with American Ballet Theatre. She's pretty much the only 52-year-old who can make a convincing Shakespearian teenager.
British makeup company Boots just put out an ad that highlights Ferri's impossible youthfulness in a jaw-dropping way: It has her dancing alongside a hologram of her baby self. And here's the thing: "Now" Ferri? She's even more luminous than "Then" Ferri.
It's #MotivationMonday amazingness, and come Wednesday it'll be #WCW everything, and on Thursday we'll watch it again because it's also kind of #TBT perfection. But no hashtag is going to do this thing justice. Just watch it:
Raise your hand if you're a dance nerd! Cool, me too. The Royal Ballet is hyping Romeo and Juliet like crazy right now, since the company is launching the 50th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan's timeless production. All this promotion is especially great for those of us outside of the UK because it means tons of gorgeous photos, livestreamed rehearsals, dancer Tweets and official behind-the-scenes footage. If you're like me, and you can't get enough, check out this video of principals Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in rehearsal. Enjoy!
We're willing to bet that if you asked any bunhead about her favorite dance videos, the Royal Ballet's rehearsal clips would most definitely be on the list. It's no secret that in order to maintain such a level of amazingness, the company members have to practice as passionately as they perform. Our hearts flutter a little bit every time a new video is uploaded, and today's installment is all we could've hoped for.
The Royal Ballet's Marcelino Sambé flying high over Ballet Master Christopher Carr. (Screenshot Royal Ballet Youtube)
Watch as newly promoted company members Marcelino Sambé and Luca Acri work with guest Principal Ballet Master Christopher Carr on Frederick Ashton's The Dream. A perfect distraction and little bit of inspiration to tide us over until the weekend!
Way back in 1949, Sadler's Wells Ballet (which later became The Royal) had its first North American tour. A ballerina named Margot Fonteyn was introduced to America, became an international star and changed the face of dance. Fortunately for us, there are photos and mementos from those early touring days to show us what it was like.
Thanks to a recent donation from Robert Dunn, a former musician in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the archivists at the ROH were able to show some ephemera from that tour. There are also items from the company's third North American tour in 1953. Nothing like calf liver on a brunch menu to really make you thankful for healthy dancer food nowadays, amirite?
Just look at these cool cats. (Photo via ROH archives, donated by Robert Dunn)
Btw, The Royal Ballet is touring the U.S. RIGHT NOW! The company hasn't graced us with its presence since 2009, so this summer tour is long-overdue. Indulge in some #throwback nostalgia, and then, if you can, get your tickets! The Royal has already hit Washington D.C., but Chicago and NYC audiences still have a chance to see the company.