Teen Vogue's "Strictly Ballet" Dancers: Where Are They Now?
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 ballerina trailblazers 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.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!