School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
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.
Addie Tapp in Jorma Elo's Creatures of Egmont (photo by IGOP Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet)
Boston Ballet second soloist Addie Tapp immediately stands out onstage thanks to her impressively long lines, precise technique, and mature presence. A Glenwood Springs, CO, native, Tapp started dancing at age 6 at the Glenwood Dance Academy. At 14, she attended The School of American Ballet summer course, and afterwards was accepted into the year-round program. She joined Boston Ballet's corps in 2014, and was promoted to second soloist last year. Catch her dancing this month in the company's Parts In Suite program and Romeo & Juliet.
Jasmine Perry (photo by Reed Hutchinson, courtesy Los Angeles Ballet)
Most of us first met Jasmine Perry back in 2014, during her turn on Teen Vogue's web series "Strictly Ballet." At that point, Perry was a coltish teenager finishing up her last year at the School of American Ballet. Since then, she's taken a job with Los Angeles Ballet and matured into a dancer of refinement and charm—but fans still relate to her 18-year-old self. "Doing 'Strictly Ballet' was great because it taught me how to be professional, how to work with public relations teams, how to communicate with adults," she says. "But it's funny because, especially when I come back to NYC, people always recognize me from the show. There's this one part of my life on the internet—once it's out there, it never disappears!"
Perry, who trained at North Carolina Dance Theatre (now called Charlotte Ballet Academy) before enrolling at SAB, grew up in a diverse home, with a black father and a Filipino mother. "My whole family is from different places, so I didn't really see color until I went to school," she says. "Realizing that I was one of the only kids at SAB who wasn't white was eye-opening. But I used that as motivation to work harder." She admires Misty Copeland's groundbreaking advocacy, and hopes to follow her example. "It's heartwarming to come out after a show and have kids asking for autographs because I look like them," she says. "There's someone onstage they can relate to, and that's progress."
After most dancers graduate from The School of American Ballet they have lots of "firsts": first company contract, first performance with that company, and maybe even first solo role. But 2017 SAB grad Gianna Reisen is experiencing a different kind of "first" during her inaugural year in the professional ballet world: She's making her first choreographic debut at Lincoln Center. At just 18, Gianna Reisen is the youngest person ever to create a piece for the renowned New York City Ballet (NBD!). Her new work, Composer's Holiday, set to music by Lukas Foss, will premiere at the company's fall gala on September 28th.
Reisen impressed NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins with the ballets she made for SAB's Student Choreography Workshop and The New York Choreographic Institute, prompting Martins to invite her to create a piece for the main company. And though the pressure of such a proposal would intimidate even the most seasoned choreographer, Reisen's pragmatic poise about the whole thing assures us that she's up to the task.