The Dirt: Isabella DeVivo
(Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB)
Isabella DeVivo is taking the ballet world by storm: During her first year as a San Francisco Ballet corps member, she danced featured roles in Alexei Ratmansky’s From Foreign Lands and Liam Scarlett’s Hummingbird. Before joining SFB in 2013, she studied dance at the School of American Ballet in NYC and was a San Francisco Ballet School trainee. DeVivo has also performed with New York City Ballet, and appeared in the Broadway production of Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life in 2006. Want to know more? Read on for The Dirt.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A geologist! Honestly, I owe it to the TV show "Dragon Tales." I was on the hunt for a magical rainbow stone of my own.
What's your dream role?
I'd love to perform the role of Kitri, but the principal in George Balanchine's Square Dance is a dream as well.
What can always make you laugh?
A good fall! (As long as no one got hurt.)
What's your favorite costume?
The costume for Myles Thatcher's ballet, Manifesto. The designer Mark Zappone made me feel like I was the winner of "America's Next Top Model."
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Filling in for Maria Kochetkova during a Saturday night performance of Alexei Ratmansky's From Foreign Lands. It was the first month of my first season with San Francisco Ballet.
What was your most embarrassing moment onstage?
After performing the principal in Parrish Maynard's Light Lime, I slipped running out for the final bow. The bow. Really?!
When you need a boost of inspiration, what do you watch?
Sofiane Sylve in the YouTube video "Super Pirouette." Perfection does indeed exist.
Who is your dance role model?
Frances Chung, an extraordinary principal with SFB, because she embodies just about everything you'd dream of.
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."
The Olympics are always full of inspiring Cinderella stories, where athletes no one had heard of mere months ago end up blowing all expectations out of the water, and maybe even nabbing a medal in the bargain. But we've recently caught wind of a different kind of Cinderella story—and it's one we really, really hope shows up in the Closing Ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, airing tonight on NBC starting at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific time.
Being a dancer comes with the task of having to entertain the same questions over and over again from those outside the dance world. Of course, we love having our friends and family take an interest in our passion—but if someone asks ONE MORE TIME whether or not we've met Travis Wall, we might just go crazy.
Here are 10 questions that dancers hate getting asked.
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.
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.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
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.