Barbie is pretty woke these days.
Not only did Mattel introduce a Misty Copeland Barbie doll last year, but now the company is Barbie-ifying another inspiring ballerina: San Francisco Ballet's Yuan Yuan Tan, the first Chinese dancer to reach principal status in a major Western ballet company.
Tan's doll is part of Mattel's 2018 Role Models collection, whose release coincides with International Women's Day. The series of "shero" dolls also includes Olympic snowboarding champ Chloe Kim, conservationist Bindi Irwin, and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
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."
San Francisco Ballet principal Dores André's flair for onstage drama and powerful, picture-perfect technique have solidified her as a company standout. She joined the company in 2004 as a corps member, was promoted to soloist in 2012, and in 2015 was awarded the title of principal dancer. Born in Vigo, Spain, André started studying ballet at age 9 before moving across the country to train seriously at the Estudio de Danza Maria de Avila in Zaragoza at age 13. Later, she headed to the States to audition for SFB and was offered a contract. Catch her dancing this month with the company. —Courtney Bowers
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.
San Francisco Ballet just released their repertory trailer for the 2017-2018 season and it's all sorts of #goals. This two minute teaser is just that; A tease—taking you from the studio to the stage and back again with dazzling behind the scene shots that make you feel like you're right there with the company!
We've said it before and we'll say it again: dance and film are made for each other. In the past couple of years, ballet companies have used the medium to promote new work, creating "trailers" that give beautiful peeks at upcoming premieres. These short films reach many people who are unable to see the ballets performed live—and they definitely debunk the misconception that ballet is boring. Here are five of our all-time favorites.
We love how creative ballet companies have been getting with their promotional videos recently. The latest company to eschew the traditional (and kind of stale) beautiful-shots-of-beautiful-dancers-dancing route? San Francisco Ballet. Not that its new short film—a teaser for SFB dancer and choreographer Myles Thatcher's upcoming premiere, Ghost in the Machine—doesn't include tons of gorgeous dancing. But rather than asking us to simply admire gifted bodies, director Ezra Hurwitz asks us to consider the creation of the work from Thatcher's perspective.
When dancers audition for Paul Taylor Dance Company, they're often thrown by one particular request: to walk across the studio by themselves. “Paul can see a lot about a person by the way they walk," says Michelle Fleet, a veteran Taylor dancer. "But many people get cut at that point, because they're terrified—a walk can be so revealing."