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.
Like all of you, we were totally obsessed with Season 1 of Teen Vogue's series, "Strictly Ballet," and luckily for all of us, Season 2 at Miami City Ballet wasn't far behind. It certainly didn't disappoint—the competition was fierce, the location was dreamy (palm trees and the beach seem like a perfect remedy for recovering from the ballet blues) and the students (much like last season) were all great dancers and people.
Mayumi (left) and Ella (right) are literally living their dream. (Photos via Miami City Ballet)
While it's a bummer that the show has once again wrapped up (third season, please!), the ending is always bittersweet: The drama, dancing and dedication may be over for us, but the careers of two of our new favorites are just beginning. As we saw in the final episode, Ella Titus and Mayumi Enokibara were offered contracts with the company. We all collectively cried along with the two stars as they called their parents to tell them the news. However, MCB has just made the official announcement via a press release, making it all the more real! Major congratulations to both ladies.
There's been a pointe shoe-sized hole in our hearts ever since the first season of Teen Vogue's "Strictly Ballet" wrapped up last spring. The web series, which went inside the prestigious School of American Ballet, did such a beautiful job depicting the pressures and joys of life as an aspiring professional dancer. It showed us a familiar world in an eye-opening way. (And obviously we love a good dance-y web series.)
Dancers from the first season of "Strictly Ballet" (via teenvogue.com)
Well friends, get your popcorn ready, because "Strictly Ballet" Season 2 is officially a thing! The next installment of the series, which premieres May 20, will follow talented students at Miami City Ballet School. It's an interesting tack to take, because SAB and MCBS actually share a connection: They both come from the same Balanchine tradition. But NYC has significantly fewer beaches than Miami, and oh my gosh we can't WAIT for the dancing-on-the-beach montages that are inevitably headed our way.
To tide us crazy fans over until May 20, Teen Vogue put together a little video featurette on Mimi Staker, one of the gorgeous stars of the first season. Staker's now a full-fledged member of New York City Ballet, and the vid gives us a peek at what her professional life looks like. It also concludes with some pretty enticing sneak-preview Season 2 footage of MCBS students (including dance-y beach shots, yippee!). Take a look:
I'm also thankful for dancing turkeys. Thank you, dancing turkeys, for dancing. And being turkeys.
What are you thankful for this year? Finally hitting that 6 o'clock penchée? Being cast in your dream Nutcracker role? Getting your first pair of pointe shoes?
Here at Dance Spirit, we have a Thanksgiving tradition: Each year, everyone on staff expresses appreciation for the dance-y things that make our world a little brighter. And since being a member of the DS team comes with pretty amazing dance-related perks, we always have a lot to be thankful for. Here's what everyone had to say this time around.
"I'm thankful for the many web series about dance, like AOL On's 'city.ballet.,' Teen Vogue's 'Strictly Ballet' and Dance Spirit's own 'Road to Nationals.' Whenever I need a break at the office, I can grab my headphones, sit back and watch an inspiring episode—and it still looks like I'm doing work!" —Jenny Dalzell, managing editor
"I'm thankful to get to interview some of the youngest dancers featured in DS for our 'You Should Know' column. I'm constantly inspired by their passion, optimism, humility and gratitude—not to mention their insane talent!" —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor
"I'm thankful to be surrounded by amazingly gifted dancers. I always have inspiration to work harder." —Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, assistant editor
"I'm thankful for artists like Misty Copeland, Tiler Peck and Wendy Whelan, who show dancers everywhere that there are so many options beyond a traditional stage performance career." —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor
As for me? I'm thankful to be living in NYC, a city with more dancers per square foot than anywhere else in the universe. Every single day, I have opportunities to experience these artists' energy and passion—onstage, in the studio, at DS photo shoots, on the subway (it happens!). I love you, NYC—almost enough to make me forget how much rent I'm paying.