Bharatanatyam dancer Sarika Bhattacharjee (photo by David Glasofer, courtesy Bhattacharjee)
Happy International Dance Day, everyone! Since 1982, this delightful holiday has been celebrated worldwide each April 29th. Why April 29th, you ask? It's the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810), who's often credited as the creator of modern ballet.
This year, we thought we'd mark the occasion by rounding up some of our favorite stories about world dance. Because we can think of no better occasion to learn more about the beautiful, rich traditions of styles like nihon buyo and bharatanatyam.
One of dancer Kristi Griffith's fitness shots (Wes Klain, courtesy Griffith)
Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you probably notice tons of awe-inspiring dance photos: a penché in front of a waterfall, a jeté over a busy city street. While these tend to get a lot of likes and attention, they may not be the best types of pics to send when you're trying to book a job. You want to keep the focus on what's most important to casting directors: you! So how do you find the right balance between eye-catching and professional? We talked to insiders across the dance world to find out.
San Francisco Ballet's Frances Chung in rehearsal (Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet)
Even for natural turners, pirouettes from fifth can be a challenge. You need to take off from a small crossed position and stay straight over your supporting leg, from start to finish. "It's the hardest place to turn from, because you can't access your plié as much as you can from fourth," says Jennie Somogyi, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and director of Jennie Somogyi Ballet Academy in Easton, PA. "I'm always telling my students to plié more!"
If you're struggling with pirouettes from fifth position or want to refine your approach, try these pro tips.
Colorado Ballet Studio Company member Robbie Downey created her first website with her mom's help, using Weebly. (courtesy Downey)
Colorado Ballet Studio Company dancer Robbie Downey has had her website, robbiedowney.com, for 10 years—nearly half her life. It's changed through the years, but in that time, she's relied on it to help secure auditions, network within the dance community, and find her own voice as a young performer at the start of her professional journey.
It's easy to see why having a website is a good idea for any dancer hoping to go pro. At the most basic, "it's a marketing tool," says Andrea Jasper, founder of the creative design and management company Urbane Collective, who has created sites for dancers including Kaelynn "Kay Kay" Harris and Will "WilldaBeast" Adams. Jasper likens a website to a business card—it's a way for casting directors, dance companies, and agents to get an idea of who you are and what you're capable of.
But even if you're not ready to go pro, a website is still a good idea. It's a great way to compile and prepare information that will eventually be a part of college applications, for one. It's also a way to steadily build and fine-tune your portfolio and learn how to market yourself for any career—even one outside of the dance world. Whatever your goals, building your own website can be a valuable experience.