NYC’s loss was Philadelphia’s gain when Riolama Lorenzo left New York City Ballet to join the corps of Pennsylvania Ballet in September 2002. Born in Havana, Cuba, trained at Boca Raton’s Harid Conservatory and the winner of a Princess Grace Award, Riolama was at the School of American Ballet when Jerome Robbins selected her to dance in the world premiere of his 2 & 3 Part Inventions at SAB’s 1994 Spring Workshop. A brief apprenticeship with NYCB that fall led to her joining the corps in spring 1995.
A commanding 5'8", Riolama dances with bold attack and a vivid sense of line—she seems to fill the entire stage. These qualities served her well at NYCB, where she performed principal roles in such Balanchine ballets as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Apollo, Agon and “Emeralds” from Jewels. Exposure to Balanchine’s masterpieces made her move to Pennsylvania Ballet (after being sidelined by injury) particularly smooth—PB has a robust Balanchine tradition of its own. Riolama rose to principal at PB by March 2005, and her ever-growing repertoire includes works by Paul Taylor, James Kudelka, Matthew Neenan and Christopher Wheeldon. This month, you can see Riolama in the PB premiere of Robert Weiss’ Messiah, set to the Handel masterpiece of the same name. —Harris Green
Your love of dance has set you on the path to share your talent with others. You not only excel at it, but it brings out your passion as well. Dancing has become your life, but because of that, you tend to take it too seriously. One of the hardest and most important lessons you will learn is to not take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. Yes, you want to be the best you can, but remember that your talent is a gift.
The ballet world is a deceptively glamorous place. The audience sees perfection and beauty while the dancer conceals effort and pain. Use every rehearsal as an opportunity to explore your abilities. Saying to yourself, “my technique isn’t good enough” or “my body is not the right shape” will only diminish your love of dance. Remember, you have qualities that are yours alone and that set you apart. They translate into the beauty the audience sees. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection destroy your gift.
(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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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?