5 Things We Learned from "city.ballet." Season 2, Episode 2

Season 2 of “city.ballet.”—the AOL On series that gives an insider’s look at New York City Ballet—is live now! We’re recapping one episode per week. Watch all 12 at dancemagazine.com

It's pretty darn hard to make it as a choreographer. It's even harder to do so while you're dancing full-time. In the second episode of "city.ballet." Season 2, we meet Troy Schumacher, a member of New York City Ballet's corps, and follow him as he creates his first work for NYCB. Here are five things we learned from this particularly fascinating ep.

Schumacher at work in the studio ("city.ballet." still courtesy New York City Ballet)

1) If you want to choreograph a great dance, choose a piece of music you're obsessed with. Schumacher's ballet is set to "Clearing, Dawn, Dance," by Judd Greenstein—which he's been listening to for three years. And I thought I couldn't get "Shake It Off" out of my head.

2) Casting a ballet at NYCB is like being a kid in a candy store. Or, to use Schumacher's better food-related simile: "It's like going to a buffet when you're really hungry. Everyone is excellent!" And Schumacher knows all of these dancers super well—he's in the studio with them every day, after all—which makes the decision process even harder.

Schumacher rehearsing his chosen ones (Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB)

3) Ballet dancers call aerobically intense ballets "puffy." As in, you'll be huffing and puffing. Cute!

4) Choreographers' notes are so cool. We get a peek at Schumacher's notebook (5:17), and while I'm not exactly sure how his system works, his elaborate doodlings are a little language all their own.

5) Georgina Pazcoguin is hilarious. The costumes for Schumacher's ballet, dreamed up by designer Thom Browne, are basically school uniforms, complete with pleated miniskirts for the ladies. Soloist Pazcoguin's reaction? "Ooh, Sister Marie Clarence is giving detention for this!" Hee hee.

Click the image below to watch the full episode!

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

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In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!


Dear Katie,

When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?

Chrissy

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The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.

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