Lauren Lovette Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self
Lauren Lovette (photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet)
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
Dear little Lovette,
There are so many things I wish I could prepare you for—so many challenges and joys ahead! Little do you know how brave you're going to become. You're afraid of the camera now, you freeze in the spotlight, and you fear large groups of people. But I'm here to give you some wisdom and advice to get you through the next few years of your life.
You'll have to work harder than everyone else. You'll meet girls who are better than you and you'll be tempted to give up. Learn from those dancers. Stand next to them at the barre and absorb their work ethic.
(Photo by Ellen Crane, courtesy School of American Ballet)
Live life with an open hand, for what has been given to you can quickly be taken away. Roles aren't "yours," they're everyone's. Your health is a gift. The quicker you learn this, the better.
Learn how to give, even if it's helping your biggest competitor. Don't store up the things that keep you sharp; share them with those around you. Who you are as a human being on this planet is far more important than how many pirouettes you can do.
Lovette at SAB in 2008, age 16 (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Don't live your life to check things off the list. Live each moment fully and feel things all the way, even the painful moments. Enjoy the daily work, for in the work there is reward and deep satisfaction. Knowing you've done your best is the greatest peace a person can have.
Stop trying to force your life in one direction or another. Let it happen and live it as hard and as intensely as you can. Perform every time you dance and you'll never have regrets when you fall asleep.
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!