Troy Ogilvie has impeccable ballet technique and an angelic face. So when she shoots into angular, swooping, erratic movement—a characteristic style of today’s downtown NYC dance scene—it’s both a shock and a delight. Troy’s a favorite of Andrea Miller, artistic director of Gallim Dance, and Sidra Bell of Sidra Bell Dance New York, often taking center stage in their creations. “Her focus is alive and intentional,” says Bell, who has worked with Troy since 2007. “Her performance is always dynamic, and she investigates every part of the material she’s given. That makes her work wonderfully layered.”
A native of Piscataway, NJ, Troy, who’s now 25, started taking ballet, tap and jazz lessons when she was 3 years old. At 9, she joined the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble (NJDTE), which provided diverse opportunities: Troy performed in NJDTE’s Nutcracker and took classes with modern dance masters, including Robert Battle and Martha Graham Dance Company members.
At 11, Troy decided she needed more intense ballet training, so she enrolled in Princeton Ballet School (PBS). When she first started at PBS, Troy thought she wanted to be a ballerina. But after two high school summers at Juilliard workshops in NYC, that all changed. Troy moved toward contemporary dance and ultimately enrolled at the prestigious college.
Troy’s time at Juilliard provided useful practical lessons, from constructing a manageable schedule to working one-on-one with choreographers. More important, it taught her how to find ways—whether in class, rehearsal or onstage—to assert her independence. “You’re in charge,” she says, “from how you execute a tendu to choosing your friends.”
This thoughtfulness marks her dancing today. Troy says she’s interested in work that questions assumptions or provides a new perspective on things she thought she knew. “Andrea [Miller] puts phrases next to each other that, dance-wise, you wouldn’t consider logical,” Troy says.
Though Troy looks forward to taking on new projects and teaching in the future, right now she’s riding this wave: In January, she’ll perform at NYC’s Dance Theater Workshop in a combined program featuring both Gallim Dance and Sidra Bell Dance New York. She says, “I’m excited to see what life brings me.”
Birthday: January 31, 1985
Fave Food: Peaches in the summer
Fave Movies: Toy Story 3, Cinema Paradiso, Big Fish
Fave Dance Flick: The Turning Point
Fave Books: War and Peace, Orlando
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
There are zillions of things to think about when choosing a summer program, but here's one you might not have considered: using an intensive as an opportunity to focus on a new style. Maybe you're a tap dancer who's ready to see where else your rhythm and quick feet can serve you, or a contemporary dancer curious about the more traditional roots of your genre. A summer program can be the perfect place to broaden your horizons, giving you the opportunity to make technical and artistic changes that stick throughout the year.
Happy birthday, George Balanchine! The great choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet would have been 114 years old today. Balanchine revolutionized ballet, especially American ballet—and he also had quite a way with words. To celebrate Mr. B's birthday, we rounded up some of our favorite iconic Balanchine quotes.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.