May We All Grow Up to Be This Fabulous 81-Year-Old Ballerina
Barbara Peters is all the #goals. (BBC)
Barbara Peters is a grandmother of eight. She's also our new favorite dancer.
At 81, Peters, who lives in Halifax in the UK, is officially Britain's oldest ballerina. While she's been dancing since she was 2, and beloved by her students since she started teaching ballet in her early 20s, she just earned a MUCH larger fanbase—us included, obvi—after appearing on the BBC show "The Greatest Dancer."
How amazing was her performance? So amazing that it inspired judge Matthew Morrison to join her onstage for a waltz afterward.
Unsurprisingly, she earned 75 percent of the audience's vote, and is on to the next round of the competition.
In case you weren't already in love with this incredible octogenarian, a bit more of her backstory: Peters achieved grade five in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus by the time she was 12—a seriously impressive feat—and opened her own dance school in 1956, at age 24. All three of her children, and all eight of her grandchildren, have danced. In 2015, she decided to head back to the studio to complete the final three RAD levels. Earlier this month, she was awarded grade eight, the highest level—on the same day that her 11-year-old granddaughter achieved grade two.
In other words: This wonderful human is ALL. THE. GOALS. 🙌
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!