How much have we missed American Ballet Theatre and Bolshoi Ballet star David Hallberg? SOOOOOOOO MUCH.
The gorgeous dancer suffered a serious ankle injury back in 2014, which was the beginning of a dark period in many devoted Hallbergians' lives. But we really started to worry about a year ago, when he shaved his famously luscious locks and then essentially disappeared—not just from the stage, but also from NYC, and even from Instagram. Let's just say that many prayers were sent to the dance gods on his behalf.
Then, a few months ago, there was a glimmer of hope: It looked like Hallberg was back in the ballet studio. And a couple of weeks ago, we got the news we'd been waiting for: An Australian dance critic revealed Hallberg would be returning to the stage December 13, dancing Franz in the Australian Ballet's production of Coppélia.
This week, the Sydney Morning Herald published an interview with Hallberg in which he talks about how he's spent the past year. Basically, he moved to Australia and devoted himself completely to his recovery—a long, grueling, mentally devastating process. "Emotionally, some days I was just going by the words of my team and not my own self-belief," he told the Herald. "I was lost mentally but something inside me kept fighting. It took an army of people to get me back on stage. It wasn't just me. It really took the positive reinforcement of the entire team to say, 'you are doing this, this is happening'."
Hallberg's Coppélia performance will actually be his debut as Franz, which makes sense in a way—a fresh start for his fresh start. We are, to put it mildly, profoundly jealous of Sydney's balletomanes. (Here's hoping Hallberg finds his way to NYC soon.)
Welcome back to the stage, David. May you never have to leave it again!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.