Why I Dance: Paloma Herrera
Retiring principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre
Herrera, here as Odette, takes her final bow with ABT this season. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to dance. At 7 years old, without having anybody in the family who danced or any connections with the ballet world, I told my mom that I wanted to dance on pointe. I have no idea how I knew about it. But whenever my family listened to classical music I danced around the house. I thought people were born knowing what they wanted to do; I never understood that other people had to think about it.
Dance has been my passion, my love, my religion, my bubble—my life! But more than anything, dance has shaped my way of living. I live every part of life to the fullest. If I’m cleaning the house, I’m cleaning full-out, with feeling. If I’m listening to music, it makes me fly. Dance has taught me that everything is better with passion. The experiences that we go through in this career, the way we do things, it’s created my personality. Nothing in my life is light; just as I approach my work as a dancer, everything is intense! And I love it that way.
I never understood why people came to see me dance. I always danced because I love it and it makes me happy, but what could I do for others? Yet the more I sat in the audience myself, the more I understood. Dance performances, books, plays, concerts fulfill my soul in ways that words can’t express. (I guess that is why I became a dancer, so I could express things words can’t.) I hope that my work onstage has done at least a little of what other artists did for me.
I would have thought that after performing for 24 years, I would be over dance. But I’m still waiting for that day to come. I’m retiring, and it’s still not happening. I look back, and realize I couldn’t have asked for a better dream. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined at 7. But I no longer have to be dancing myself. Even watching from the other side of the stage fulfills me because I can see more than ever that dance is not what I do, but it’s a way of life, in everything I do. It is who I am.
These days, it's not uncommon to see men dancing on pointe. Sure, the Trocks have been doing it forever, but now even men in traditional companies are seeing the benefits of training in pointe shoes.
And yet, we've never seen anything like this video of Houston Ballet's Hayden Stark, Derek Dunn and Daniel Durrett performing the "Shades" variations from La Bayadere on pointe. It's not a parody video or a spoof. These boys' pointework is the real deal, and we're all for it.
Your gut is a hot topic in nutrition right now. Experts say a healthy microbiome (the makeup of bacteria in our bodies) is associated with everything from a reduced risk of infection to a more efficient metabolism.
But can we actually make our inner bacterial population healthier?
For Dance Magazine's 90th anniversary issue, we wanted to celebrate the movers, shakers and changemakers who are having the biggest impact on our field right now. There were so many to choose from! But with the help of dozens of writers, artists and administrators working in dance, the Dance Magazine staff whittled the list down to those we felt are making the most difference right now.
Click through the links below to find out why they made our list.
With the first round of dancer duels complete, Jennifer Lopez and the World of Dance judges are bringing in some extra help as the competition thickens. American Ballet Theatre principal and all around dance superstar Misty Copeland will be the show's first guest judge for the July 18th and July 25th episodes.
It's our 90th anniversary! To celebrate, we excavated some of our favorite hidden gems from the DM Archives—images that capture a few of the moments in time we've documented over the decades.
We had a feeling that our ambitious list of "The Most Influential People in Dance Today" in celebration of Dance Magazine's 90th anniversary would turn some heads. But it's gotten even more attention than we'd expected.
It's not often that a magazine compilation of "movers and shakers" can be celebrated in the literal sense. But when the publication is Dance Magazine, that is of course the case.
The story mentions Dance Magazine's 1927 beginnings under the name The American Dancer, and highlights how our July issue tackled the idea of "influence" from many angles.
Thank you Adweek for the shoutout and the happy anniversary wishes!
On July 1 and 2, San Francisco audiences will encounter a performance that's an unsettling kick to our assumptions. Stephan Koplowitz has created Occupy, A site-specific journey through an urban garden to be performed by AXIS Dance Company at the Yerba Buena Gardens. This is a dance about inclusion.
As soon as we started putting together a list of the most influential people in dance today, we knew two things. By the very nature of the topic we were tackling, our final list was going to be:
1. Entirely subjective, and
2. By no means comprehensive.
We wanted to get your input and hear who else you felt should be on the list. So we asked you who we missed, and here's what you told us through email, Facebook and Twitter: