The Dirt with Rachel Foster

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.

Latest Posts


Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search