Ryan Seacrest with Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside (Amanda Sherwin)

I Helped Break a Dance World Record

Dancers breaking world records before they've even had their morning coffee? Shouldn't surprise you, considering our next-level enthusiasm for absolutely anything that has to do with dance. And that's exactly the feat 300+ dancers—myself included!—achieved this morning on the streets of NYC.


A few weeks ago, dynamic American Ballet Theatre duo Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside sent out an all-call for ballet dancers to appear with them on the morning talk show "Live with Kelly and Ryan" on September 10. The mission? Break the current Guinness World Record for most dancers en pointe simultaneously: 245.

Dancers appeared on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" on September 10 to break a Guinness World Record (Amanda Sherwin)

It was an instant "challenge accepted" from me. When I arrived at the "Live" studios at our call time of 7:30am, there was already a line of excited dancers half a block long (because as any dancer knows, thou shalt always arrive at least 15 minutes before your actual call time). I was assigned to a specific section of the street outside the studios, which had been roped off for the event.

Ready to break the record! (Abby DeReamer)


Students from the Joffrey Ballet School (Amanda Sherwin)

Despite the rain and everyone's obvious lack of sleep, the dancers were in high spirits. And we were all pretty much instantly best friends. Something about the shared pain of wearing those boots for two hours in the rain made bonding pretty easy.

Dancers did what they could to keep their shoes dry! (Amanda Sherwin)

The diversity of the crowd once again reflected that ballet is truly for everyone–I saw boys, girls, beginners and professionals alike, and learned that many had come from around the country to participate in the record-breaking attempt.

The McCarter family, including Rosemary, a former dancer in the Yugoslavia State Ballet, her daughter Elizabeth, a former Joffrey Ballet Company member, and her three granddaughters (Amanda Sherwin)


Dancers young and old came to break the world record, including 7-year-old Cora Virshek. (Amanda Sherwin)

And of course, it wouldn't be live TV without star guests! Boylston and Whiteside appeared about an hour into the event, and were soon joined by New York City Ballet principals Tiler Peck, Lauren Lovette, and Maria Kowroski. Host Ryan Seacrest, who wasn't afraid to admit he knew absolutely nothing about "on pointe," and Kelly Ripa, drawing on her 13 years of ballet training to join in on the attempt, also appeared onstage.

(From left) James Whiteside, Isabella Boylston, Kelly Ripa, Tiler Peck, Lauren Lovette, and Maria Kowroski (Amanda Sherwin)

Guinness officials herded us into lines of five in each section, which obviously wasn't hard—we always stan a neat formation. After the officials explained all the rules about the attempt, the clock counted down, and we were off!

In order to officially break the record, we each had to remain en pointe for exactly one minute, and we weren't allowed to lean on each other or hold hands (but thankfully, we were allowed to bourrée, which we took full advantage of). I was having a grand old time using my port de bras, but looking around, most dancers kept their arms down with laser focus, determined to reach the goal. Before we knew it, the minute had passed, and we had done it!

With over 300 dancers participating, we broke the record easily. As soon as we were off the clock, we all high-fived and hugged, to the cheers of the crowd that had gathered to watch. The dancer next to me said, with a look of relief, "I totally cramped up in the middle of that, but nothing was going to make me stop!"

And that, friends, is why dancers absolutely rock.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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