Teen Vogue's "Strictly Ballet" Dancers: Where Are They Now?
Screenshot via YouTube
In 2014 Teen Vogue came out with one of our favorite dance series yet: "Strictly Ballet." From NYC's School of American Ballet to Florida's Miami City Ballet School, we got to follow dance students through the rigorous, glamorous, and sometimes intense ups and downs that are the norm for most serious ballet students. Though the reality web series only lasted two seasons, we love the intimate look it gave into the ballet world and the students whose lives it followed. We loved it so much that by the end of each season we were almost as invested in those dancers' careers as they were.
Now, four years later, we're dying to know what some of our favorite dancers from the series are up to. Keep reading to find out where the blood, sweat, and blisters have gotten them.
The last time we saw Mimi Staker she was on track to join New York City Ballet, having just received her apprenticeship with the company. Now she's a full-fledged member of NYCB's corps de ballet and has performed a diverse repertoire of classical and neoclassical ballets. Staker has even had the opportunity to dance featured roles, such as Maria in Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. She also appeared in Puma's collaboration with the company.
Australian heartthrob Alec Knight was still a student at SAB when Season 1 ended. Since then he's been promoted to NYCB's corps de ballet and has performed major feature roles including Benvolio, The Prince of Verona in Romeo and Juliet. He's also found success as a model, walking the runway for big name brands like Dolce & Gabbana.
Jasmine Perry is in her fifth season with the Los Angeles Ballet—and she's thriving. Her strong technique and beautiful lines continue to shine. Perry was also featured in our March cover story as one of ten black ballerinatrailblazers who are following in Misty Copeland's footsteps and helping to usher more racial diversity into the ballet industry.
Victor Jarvis traded the Big Apple for the Midwest and has been dancing at the Cleveland Ballet. He's performed numerous ballets with the company, including Coppelia, Midsummer Night's Dream, Beethoven Trio, and Nutcracker Suite.
Remember the passionate and enthusiastic Russian ballet student Valeria Chaykina from Season 2? She's currently a member of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, where she's performed numerous roles including Spring Fairy in Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella.
On Season 2 of "Strictly Ballet," Ella Titus proved that while it can be hard, it is possible to juggle an involved dance schedule and public school. The down-to-earth dancer received her contract at the end of the series and is now living her dream as a dancer with Miami City Ballet. Titus has also turned her knack for stylish dancewear into a business as she's created her own line of hand-knitted legwarmers, called Ella Warmers.
Mayumi Enokibara was the darling, petite, Miami City Ballet apprentice who you couldn't help but love—and when she received her contract I'm pretty sure there was a collective round of applause from viewers. Enokibara still dances for Miami City Ballet and has accumulated a diverse repertoire.
(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:
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.