Via Lauren Lovette's Instagram

There's nothing more purrrrfect than some fabulous trinas and their feline friends. We're not kitten: These bonds are paw-sitively adorable! From hanging out backstage to working out together and more, these pairs will pas de chat their way straight into your heart.

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Dancer to Dancer
via @puma on Instagram

Lauren Lovette's on 🔥 and Puma knows it. So in honor of International Women's Day, the athletic clothing brand featured Lovette in their Do You campaign. The New York City Ballet star appears in the inspiring video with WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith, where the two talk about their mottos for success and how they're using their platforms to pay it back.

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Dance News

New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers

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Dancer to Dancer
Alison Stroming's feet (Lucas Chilczuk)

The Washington Post just ran a rather epic story about ballerinas' intense, inherently abusive relationships with their feet. And while a lot of it is stuff that serious dancers already know—getting up on pointe requires dancers to be as strong as football players, every dancer has her own pointe shoe break-in method, etc—the piece also includes anecdotal gems from the likes of Lauren Lovette and Julie Kent. (And some pretty photos of Washington Ballet dancers Sona Kharatian and Ashley Murphy.)

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Dancer to Dancer

As you know, French artist JR collaborated with New York City Ballet on 2014's Les Bosquets, a dance that combined ballet and jookin'. It was inspired by a housing project in Montfermeil on the outskirts of Paris—the epicenter of social and political protest in 2005.

I love JR's work. I'm totally obsessed with his Instagram and am consistently intrigued by his politically charged art works, which are often executed on an epic scale. That's why I'm so curious to see what his latest film is all about. Les Bosquets is inspired by the stage production of the same name, and it will premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on April 18.

So far, I can only tell you that it includes Lauren Lovette in a white tutu and pointe shoes, a ballet corps dressed in mod-ish pop art unitards (looking more like a scary army than a flock of swans), Lil Buck jookin' up a storm and buildings being demolished. How will all these elements be combined in a narrative that tackles racial inequality, poverty and the status of an immigrant in today's world? Who knows? But I'm excited to find out!

 

 

Dance News

Plus, the gala dinner setup was gorgeous! (photo via NYCB)

For ballet nerds like me, there are few things more exciting than watching young dancers develop into beautiful, authoritative artists. Last night, New York City Ballet's spring gala opened with a work that let some of my favorite rising stars prove just how much they've grown up.

That'd be Christopher Wheeldon's Soirée Musicale, an alternately elegant and playful little ballet that gives nearly every cast member a moment in the spotlight. And what a cast it was!

We got Brittany Pollack, Lauren Lovette, Taylor Stanley and Chase Finlay, recently-promoted dancers I've followed since their apprenticeships. And then there were the newbies I've just begun to pick out of the corps: Sara Adams, Harrison Ball, Indiana Woodward and Peter Walker.  Nearly all of them are under the age of 25—many have only been in the company for a year or two—but they danced with the confidence of seasoned pros. A special highlight came toward the end: a poignant, romantic pas de deux for Lauren and Chase that signaled what might be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

The gala was packed with many other fun treats too, of course. There was a second premiere by Wheeldon, a pas de deux in homage to Jerome Robbins' West Side Story danced by the sublime Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. There was the exhilarating nonstop acceleration of the final section of Robbins' Glass Pieces, featuring what seemed like the entire company. Queen Latifah stopped by to serenade Sterling Hyltin and Amar Ramasar as they glided through Balanchine's "The Man I Love" pas de deux from Who Cares?. And Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette had a jaw-dropping "anything you can do, I can do better" competition in the cheeky Stars and Stripes pas de deux.

But it was those young, newly-minted stars that stuck with me as I left Lincoln Center last night. In a gala that was all about high-wattage brilliance, they shone brightest.

Congratulations to the gaggle of New York City Ballet dancers who were just promoted! No fewer than 11 of the company's finest are feeling pretty great today. Here's the rundown:

Adrian Danchig-Waring, Chase Finlay and Ask la Cour are now principals.

Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Megan Lecrone, Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck, Brittany Pollack, Georgina Pazcoguin and Taylor Stanley are now soloists.

We're just about bursting with happiness for all of these lovelies—I mean, the list is basically a rundown of our NYCB faves. But we're especially glad for Miss Lauren Lovette and Mr. Taylor Stanley, our September 2010 cover stars, who we've been rooting for from the very beginning.

Just look how young and adorable they were at their cover shoot! And now they're all growed up. We feel like proud parents. *sniff*

(All photos by Erin Baiano)

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Olympic gymnast, recent Mirror Ball Trophy winner and all-around adorable human Laurie Hernandez has gifted us the most AMAZING holiday present of all time: a video of her stopping by New York City Ballet to learn a dance from The Nutcracker. 🙌

The video, shot by Teen Vogue, shows principal Lauren Lovette leading Hernandez in a barre warmup (along with other NYCB dancers) and then teaching Hernandez a bit of the Sugarplum Fairy's variation. Obviously Hernandez's technique isn't ballerina-worthy, but she's a great student and super eager to learnit's clear her passion for dance is 💯. (She also SLAYS the #studiostyle game. Polka dotted tights?! Yes, Laurie, YES.)

Check out the full video of her visit below, including her final solo performance on the iconic David H. Koch stage at Lincoln Center. It's the gift that keeps on givingreplay to your heart's desire. (Seriously, it never gets old.)

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Dance News

Dance Spirit and photographer Erin Baiano accompanied New York City Ballet principal—and budding choreographer—Lauren Lovette around for a day. Here's an insider's look at Lovette's well-rounded life.

You know we're obsessed with dancers' pointe shoe prep. But without a strong articulate foot to bring it to life, a pointe shoe is just a shiny pink boot.

Cue New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette in a behind-the-scenes video for Allure. Rather than talking about her shoe prep, she goes into detail about her foot prep. If you've taken a look, you might think that Lovette's banana feet don't need much maintenance. Think again! Even Lovette's drool-worthy arches require care and strengthening to get through the incredibly demanding roles she dances each night.

Check it out—you might pick up a few pro-tips for yourself!

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When you hear "mattress ad," the first place your mind goes probably isn't "world-class ballerina." And yet: Airweave Mattress has tapped fabulous New York City Ballet principal (and choreographer!) Lauren Lovette for its latest ad campaign, and the result is beautiful.

A video posted by airweave USA (@airweaveusa) on

It took us a minute, but the connection does make sense. Who depends on solid sleep more than a top-level athlete and artist, someone who needs both her body and her brain to be working at max capacity? And we have to hand it to Airweave for doing more than a hit-and-run–style campaign: Rather than simply taking photos of Lovette channeling Aurora on one of their mattresses, the brand posted a pretty extensive interview with the ballerina on their site, in which Lovette describes her career and talks about her pre-performance ritual. (Which, yes, includes serious sleep the night before.) There are also some pretty behind-the-scenes images of Lovette. All of which makes a visit to the site worth it, even if you're not exactly in the mattress market.

Airweave frequently uses athletes to advertise its products (it's the official mattress supplier to Team USA), but it seems to have caught the ballet bug recently. Look what else just popped up on its Instagram page:

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Every July, New York City Ballet heads to Saratoga Springs, NY for their annual residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and every July, us members of the dance world watch in envy as NYCB company members' Saratoga photos start filling our Instagram feeds.

Sara Mearns rehearsing onstage at SPAC (Photo by Kyle Froman Photography)

They've got it all: Lake days! Home-cooked meals! Hikes through gorgeous meadows! Dancing their incredible rep on a giant, outdoor stage! And best of all, engagements! (Congrats to Chase and Lauren!!!!)

 

Here are some of our favorite moments thus far:

 

#nofilter #saratogalake #daysoff #summertimevibes @justin_peck

A photo posted by @madeeks on

Annual Saratoga tradition (!) #BoSsam

A photo posted by Justin Peck (@justin_peck) on

Regram @reidbartelme | summertime living

A photo posted by Gretchen Smith (@gretchen.h.smith) on

Farm life 2 with @rustlegj

A photo posted by Reid Bartelme (@reidbartelme) on

 

(Via Marika Anderson's Instagram, Justin Peck's Instagram, Tiler Peck's Instagram, Gretchen Smith's Instagram, Reid Bartelme's Instagram and Ashley Bouder's Instagram)

Dance News

Let's step into a time machine and take a trip all the way back to September 2010, shall we? Lady Gaga won the MTV Video of the Year Award for "Bad Romance;" "Dancing with the Stars" Season 11 began with celebrities Jennifer Grey and Kristi Yamaguchi; and two promising New York City Ballet apprentices graced the cover of Dance Spirit:

Back in 2010, NYCB's Lauren Lovette, then 18, had been an apprentice for close to a year, and from the roles she was landing—including one in a Christopher Wheeldon premiere—it was pretty clear she was destined for greatness in the company. We were right. She (and fellow cover star Taylor Stanley) joined the corps de ballet practically as soon as the issue debuted—and the two were promoted to soloist in 2013.

On Sunday, NYCB director Peter Martins announced some really great news: Lovette is now principal!

Congratulations, beautiful Lauren! (Lovette in
George Balanchine's Raymonda Variations; photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB)

Ready for more good news? Lovette isn't alone in the promotions pool. Soloist Anthony Huxley was also promoted to principal...

If you're not already obsessed with Anthony Huxley, brace yourselves, folks. I mean, just look at him.  (Photo by Henry Leutwyler)

...and corps member Ashly Isaacs moved up the ranks to soloist!

How does she make this much flawlessness look so effortless? (Isaacs in
Bournonville Divertissements; photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB)

Congratulations, dancers!

Dance News

Season 2 of “city.ballet.”—the AOL On series that gives an insider’s look at New York City Ballet—is live now! We’re recapping one episode per week. Watch all 12 at dancemagazine.com

Ah, dancer love. It seems so much more intense than regular old civilian love, amirite? Dancing together is such an inherently romantic, and inherently intimate, thing. Episode 9 of "city.ballet." follows Lauren Lovette and Chase Finlay, two up-and-coming New York City Ballet dancers who are partners both on- and offstage. Here are five things we learned from the ep.

Lovette and Finlay in Christopher Wheeldon's Soirée Musicale (photo by Paul Kolnik)

1. Their romance started as a friendship in the back of the studio, of course. Initially, Lovette was a little intimidated by Finlay. He'd been something of a hotshot as a student at The School of American Ballet. "I never thought he liked me at all," Lovette says. "He was too popular and I was too...weird!"

2. Their non-dance relationship benefits their dance relationship...for the most part. Since they know each other so well, they're better at communicating what is and isn't working in the studio. "I can trust him with anything, I can ask him anything," Lovette says. But, she adds, "when you're dating somebody, you have to say what you want in a more sensitive way. You don't want to get in fights at home!"

3. OH MY GOSH LAUREN'S DOGGGGGGGG. Her name is Penny Banks. She is teeny. And she is a total scene stealer. Schmoop.

4. The couple that cooks together, stays together. Or, well, Finlay cooks, and Lovette cuddles with Penny and watches. Which is the way it should be.

5. You can totally tell these two are in love while they're dancing. The footage of Lovette and Finlay working in the studio (and there's a lot of it, yay!) will make you swoon. First of all, they partnered frequently even before they started dating because physically they're a great match. They look nice together. But there's also all kinds of electricity happening, and it's awesome. "You don't have to make up chemistry," Lovette says. "It's already there. It's romantic, and it's fun, and it's wonderful."

Click the image below to watch the full episode!

Dance News

It's spring! It's spring! It's finally, finally spring!

Actually, it's 40 degrees and rainy here in NYC (womp). But the spring signifier that REALLY matters to me and my fellow bunheads is the kickoff of ballet season—and that happened last night, aka opening night at New York City Ballet.

Over the next couple of months, both NYCB and American Ballet Theatre will be performing at Lincoln Center. (For a few weeks they'll even be there simultaneously, right across the plaza from each other. Eee!) But every year the NYCBers get the ballet party started first—and do they ever know how to start a party.

NYCB's big glittery spring gala, the event that brings out A-list celebrities in their A-game finery, isn't until next Thursday. (This year's gala also includes a premiere by the wonderful Justin Peck—check back here next week for more on that.) And yet the theater last night was filled not only with amazing dancing, but also with some pretty amazing celebs.

Why, you ask? First of all, because ballet is the coolest. But also because last night's program included the premiere of French artist JR's first-ever dance work, which starred none other than jookin' sensation Lil Buck.

Lil Buck—no Photoshop required. (Photo via JR's Instagram)

Titled Les Bosquets, the piece brought together fantastic costumes (including a pretty amazing paper tutu), music by French music phenom Woodkid, and choreography—dreamed up by JR with an assist from NYCB artistic director Peter Martins—that had Lil Buck and NYCB soloist Lauren Lovette swimming in a surging sea of corps dancers. (The whole thing was inspired by JR's experiences during the 2005 Paris riots.)

Bows after the premiere of "Les Bosquets." THEY'RE WATCHING YOU! (photo via JR's Instagram)

The dance featured some fascinating moments, including the opening sequence, which had men carrying women as if they were guns. And in the audience cheering on the project were both the fabulous Janelle Monáe and—wait for it—Madonna. Madonna!

After recovering from starstruck shock, I realized that Lil Buck has danced for both divas. How great is it that they came out to support their friend? And both stayed for, and seemed to enjoy, the rest of the program, which included Alexei Ratmansky's incredible Namouna: A Grand Divertissement. Have Lil Buck and JR made ballet converts of them? Here's hoping.

Speaking of Lil Buck being awesome, did you see him over on Vogue.com yesterday? I'll leave you with their haunting video of him doing what he does best. And ballet peoples, if you're in or around New York, get yourself to Lincoln Center, STAT!

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