It's Mother's Day weekend—which means it's a good time to remember that every mom is, basically, a superhero. Being a mom requires incredible strength and patience and all kinds of other superpowers.
But ballerina moms? Ballerina moms are simultaneously superheroes and fairy princesses. They somehow balance the demands of momdom with a physically strenuous job—one that asks them to transform themselves onstage every night. Doing all that requires not just superhuman strength, but also a little magic.
Photographer Lucy Gray spent 15 years following three San Francisco Ballet moms—Katita Waldo, Kristin Long and Tina LeBlanc (all now retired)—as they conjured that particular magic. The resulting book, Balancing Acts, came out this spring. Unsurprisingly, it's full of beautiful, touching and crazy adorable images. And just in time for Mother's Day, San Francisco's Harvey Milk Photo Center will be presenting an exhibit of Gray's photos, also titled "Balancing Acts," from May 9–June 7. (You can find more info about the exhibit here.)
Not in the Bay Area? Never fear: Check out a few of our favorite images below, and click here to order your own copy of Balancing Act.
(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.
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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.