In the new film Antarctica: The First Dance, Madeleine Graham literally dances at the edge of the world. And while the footage of the Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer twirling and arabesque-ing her way across giant ice sheets is stunning, Graham braved the southernmost continent's frigid cold for a more important cause: to raise awareness about Antarctica's climate change crisis.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
All the dancers in my level auditioned for a prestigious summer intensive—but I'm the only one who got in. Now everything is incredibly awkward at the studio. I'm really excited about the program, but I don't want to make my friends feel bad. What can I do?
It's in Odette's gracefully arched neck, the Lilac Fairy's regal bearing, even a contemporary dancer's extreme lines. The "it" in question? Épaulement—the nuanced positioning of the head, shoulders, and neck. Using your épaulement (which translates, literally, as "shouldering") does more than make your dancing prettier: It makes it better, richer, and more artistic. But achieving effortless épaulement is easier said than done, especially since technique classes tend to focus on the legs and feet.
Let's be real—as much as we love dance, there are days where the pain and discouragement that come from perfecting our craft can make us question why we do what we do. Well, five principal dancers of the Czech National Ballet got on our level and revealed that pain and pressure are as much a part of the process of dance as joy.
Dancer and choreographer Jerome Robbins was undeniably one of the most important figures in American dance—and he would have been 100 years old this year. In honor of Robbins' centenary, here are a few things you should know about the legend.
The much-anticipated ballet thriller Red Sparrow hits movie theaters today, March 2. The film tells the story of a fierce Russian ballerina, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who's recruited by the Sparrow School, a secret Russian intelligence service that trains young people to use their bodies and minds as weapons. Expect lots of suspense, but also lots of dreamy dance scenes, thanks to Lawrence's dance double, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston; Lawrence's dance partner, Sergei Polunin; and choreography by New York City Ballet's Justin Peck.
Stefanie Roper didn't take her first ballet class until she was 20. Despite her obvious facility, she encountered plenty of naysayers. "I remember one teacher telling me, 'Honey, you're just too old,' " she says. And she did have to overcome obstacles as she entered the ballet bubble. "People talked about how good my feet were, and I didn't understand what they meant for the first four months," Roper remembers, laughing. But she found a mentor at Utah Valley University, where she was a student, and persevered. Now, six years later, Roper's professional resumé includes a stint with BHdos, Ballet Hispanico's second company.
It seems like most professional ballet dancers started taking ballet classes before they were born, especially the women. For those who didn't discover ballet until after elementary school, it can feel impossible to catch up to dyed-in-the-wool students. But it's not. Late starters face plenty of hurdles, but good facility and hard work will take you far—even if it isn't into the ranks of a ballet company.