Rachel Foster in Paul Gibson’s The Piano Dance. By Angela Sterling
Rachel Foster is the image of power and athleticism. The Pacific Northwest Ballet principal excels at both the intricacy of contemporary works and the precision of George Balanchine’s neoclassical choreography. She trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School before joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1998 and then the PNB corps in 2002. In 2009, Dance Magazine featured Foster as one of its “25 to Watch,” and the magazine had it right: Foster, who’d been promoted to soloist in 2008, was made a principal in 2011. Her time in the company also brought her luck in love, and she’s now married to Le Yin, a former PNB principal dancer who’s on faculty at the PNB School. Catch Foster this month in PNB’s “All Premiere” program, November 2–11, and read on for The Dirt.
What did you want to be when you were a teen? It's always been my dream to dance and become a professional ballet dancer. When I was a teenager, my parents would drive me 2 hours to ballet class and 2 hours home every day.
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Alina Cojucaru
Biggest guilty pleasure: Sleeping in. I have a dog named Ceasar who loves his early morning walks.
Favorite food: My husband's wonderful Chinese cooking. Everything else tastes so bland in comparison.
What's your biggest pet peave? Littering
One thing most people don't know about you: I'm really messy at the studio, but at home I'm a neat freak. I love to clean and organize.
If you weren't a dancer, what would you be? I love animals. I could see myself as a veterinarian.
One thing you can't live without: A telephone call to or from my mom every day.
Who is your dance crush? My husband. I still have a dance crush on him.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? My husband and I talk frequently about opening our own ballet studio.
(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 by clicking on their names here:
vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.