Whether she's leading the pack in George Balanchine's athletic Symphony in Three Movements or floating across the stage as the Sylph in August Bournonville's La Sylphide, New York City Ballet principal Sterling Hyltin is the definition of classical. Hyltin grew up training at the Etgen-Atkinson School of Ballet in Dallas, TX. Once she arrived at the School of American Ballet at age 14, it was a pretty quick rise to the top: She became a NYCB apprentice two years later and in 2007, after appearing as Juliet in the premiere of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet, Hyltin was appointed principal. Catch her in NYCB's Spring season at Lincoln Center. —Jenny Dalzell
First and foremost, remember that you love to dance. You're in your spring season of mastering a craft that should forever give you joy. Frustrations with technique or feelings of inadequacy are normal—but make sure your emotions are constructive. Never forget your natural talents. The dancer next to you may be a good turner, but you're a good jumper! Nourish yourself by looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself at least once in every ballet class.
Peter Martins will later tell you, “The perfection is the imperfection." The imperfection is the quirk of your own personality shining through your dancing. What's perfect technique if there's no soul behind it? Don't get so caught up in comparing yourself to other people that it becomes a distraction. Instead, compare today's self with yesterday's self. You'll improve much quicker that way. Dancing is what makes you you. And you wouldn't be yourself anymore if you tried to dance like someone else.
At age 8 (courtesy Hyltin)
Take risks. George Balanchine said, “What are you waiting for? What are you saving for? Now is all there is." Don't get intimidated by a step that looks too difficult. Attempt it—and without expectations. You'll probably surprise yourself. And if you don't succeed right away, it's OK to let out a little giggle about it. Laughter doesn't mean you aren't taking it seriously. Try to figure out why the step didn't go well and delight in the challenge of that process. Enjoyment is the most important part!
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancyFX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.
Gabrielle Hamilton in John Heginbotham's dream ballet from Oklahoma! Photo by Little Fang Photo, courtesy DKC/O&M
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, extraordinary ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several Dance Spirit faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list: