Juliet dancing a variation from Diana and Acteon (pas de deux) at Youth America Grand Prix (VAM Productions)
Juliet Doherty just may have it all: ridiculously long legs, the archiest feet on any given stage, big, beautiful eyes, sky-high leaps and totally controlled turns—plus a starring role at Radio City Music Hall. And she’s smart and super sweet? Yes, 14-year-old Juliet has the kind of dance life most of us only dream of.
Juliet started dancing when she was 3 at her great-grandmother’s studio, Fishback Studio of the Dance, in her hometown of Albuquerque, NM. “I was born into a dancing family,” says Juliet, who trains with her mom. She began with ballet classes, and by the time she was 5 she had added modern, jazz, tap and acrobatics as well. Juliet also made an early name for herself on the competition and convention circuit. “I did my first competition solo when I was 7, and it was a hip-hop number,” she says, giggling. “But then I was like, hmm, maybe this isn’t a fit for me.”
Hip hop wasn’t her forte, but ballet certainly is. In addition to attending competitions such as New York City Dance Alliance, International Dance Challenge and Showstopper, Juliet began competing at Youth America Grand Prix at age 9. “I love attending conventions because you get to learn from and put yourself in front of so many amazing teachers,” she says. “But at YAGP, you get the opportunity to earn scholarships and take a step even further into your future. I love competing with dancers from all over the world.”
In 2009, Juliet traveled to Chicago to audition for the role of Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She was cast in the show’s Seattle/Pittsburgh tour in what Juliet calls “the most exciting time of my life!” The next year, she was cast in the Florida/Texas leg of the tour. Finally, in 2011, Juliet landed the role of Clara in the biggest production of all: the NYC show at Radio City Music Hall. “After two years on tour, I was ready for New York,” she says. During the 2011 season, Juliet performed alongside the Radio City Rockettes in two to five shows a day, six days a week.
With such a grueling dance schedule, is Juliet burnt out? Not even close. “I love performing in front of a live audience,” she says. “Someday I want to be in a ballet company like New York City Ballet—those dancers are so inspiring and the Balanchine ballets they perform are gorgeous.” And she’s already taking steps toward her future dance career. “Last year when I went to YAGP, I had some scholarship interest from overseas programs, and I’ve kept in touch with those contacts. I want to research my options overseas and in America—I’m figuring out what will be the best fit for me and where I’ll be most comfortable.”
Birthday: June 10, 1997
Most-played on her iPod: “Breathe Me” by Sia. “But before competitions I love listening to Beyoncé’s I Am...Sasha Fierce album. She’s so confident, and I would love to have that confidence every time I go out and perform.”
Favorite movie:Matilda. “When I was 5, she was my hero. I watched that movie every day growing up.”
Favorite dance step: Saut de chat. “I’m a powerhouse when it comes to leaping.”
Favorite food: Octopus and white rice. “My parents spent time in Japan before I was born, so I was introduced to really good food from other cultures.”
Dance idols: Misty Copeland and Ashley Bouder
Who would play her in a movie? Audrey Hepburn
Dance crush: Daniel Ulbricht. “He has a girlfriend, but don’t worry: He’ll realize soon his true future lies with me…[giggles.]”
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!