Ballet Dancers Bare Their Souls in "Core-ography"

We all know the ballerina fairy tale: She's basically born dancing, studies intensely for years, scores a company contract and works her way up the ranks until she emerges, butterfly-like, as a gorgeous prima. There are no moments of doubt, no periods of self-questioning; she knows, from the beginning, that she's destined for the spotlight.

But that's not the path most dancers, including many of the most acclaimed ones, travel. And a new web series, "Core-ography," aims to share the real stories of some of the ballet world's brightest stars—both ballerinas and danseurs.

Each video in the "Core-ography" collection, created by choreographer and dancer Barry Kerollis, will include footage of an artist discussing her struggles and triumphs, followed by an original ballet inspired her journey. It's a powerful one-two punch: We see a dancer talking about her life, and then re-telling that story in the language of movement—a language she speaks even more fluently.

Over the next year or so, "Core-ography" will profile the likes of Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Maria Chapman, Washington Ballet dancer Brooklyn Mack, former English National Ballet principal Bridgett Zehr and Boston Ballet principal John Lam. The first video in the series, released a few days ago, features fantastic Pennsylvania Ballet principal (and former DS cover star) Lauren Fadeley. Fadeley left New York City Ballet after two years and struggled with clinical depression before rediscovering her love of dance while in school at Indiana University. Watch her video below—and stay tuned for more "Core-ography."

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Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer

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