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15 Things That Real Dancers Know

On Monday, The Huffington Post’s teen site released an article outlining 21 things dance kids want their friends to know. I hate to break it to you, HuffPo, but cute as your list is, you’ve missed the mark slightly. (Ahem…lyrical? What is this, 1995?)

 

Here are 15 things that REAL dancers know:

 

1. Our bunions are worse than your grandmother’s. And when normal people say their feet hurt from wearing heels, we laugh.

 


Yeah.

(Photo by Troy Schumacher, via The Performance Club.)

 

2. We're never completely happy watching figure skating, because we're always too busy shouting "Straighten your leg!" at our TVs.

 


We love you, Ashley Wagner, but this picture hurts our hearts.
(Photo by Koki Nagahama, via Yahoo! Sports
)

 

3. We look like bag ladies. But, yes, we really do need three pairs of shoes, two leotards, tights, shorts, Band Aids, tennis balls, hair supplies, sewing kits, scissors, legwarmers, makeup and snacks with us at all times.

 


Miami City Ballet principal Tricia Albertson carries all this in her bag.
Photo by Rachel Papo, courtesy of
Pointe.

 

4. Those super-tight buns we demanded as children are coming back to bite us in the buns—or shall we say, the receded-behind-the-ear hair-lines.

 


"It's not tight enough!" "Mom! I said no bumps!"

 

5. Since we're used to busy dressing rooms, we're unashamed to strip down in front of pretty much anyone.  

 


New York City Ballet principals Teresa Reichlen, Tiler Peck, Ana Sophia Scheller and Rebecca Krohn in their dressing room.
(Photo by Henry Leutwyler, via
NY Daily News.)

 

 

6. The best clothing purchases can be worn in and out of the studio.

 


The fashion inside a Hubbard Street Dance Chicago rehearsal with Alejandro Cerrudo.
(Photo ©Todd Rosenberg Photography
, Courtesy HSDC.)

 

7. We sew everything like we would a pointe shoe ribbon—and we know that dental floss is the king of all threads.

 


(via
Real Simple)

 

8. Our Netflix queue looks like this:

 

 

9. We've tried every bar in this aisle at Whole Foods.

 

 

10. We go nuts when we hear music from The Nutcracker over the mall loudspeakers.

 


The only appropriate setting for the "Trepak" music.
(Daniel Ulbricht in
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Photo by Paul Kolnik.)

 

11. We inevitiably start the season with 1,000 bobby pins and end it with five. Why? Because we have at least one of them in every pocket we own.

 

12. Our idea of a perfect night is having friends over to gossip, stretch and roll out. 

 


A non-crazy Nina Sayers would have friends with her...

 

13. The line at the supermarket is an acceptable place to stretch—or when no one is looking, bust a move.

 

 

14. A sweaty yoga class is our preferred method of relaxation.

 


(Photo by Philippe Teston)

 

15. We regularly penchée to pick things up and grand jeté over puddles. Can't stop, won't stop. 

 


(Photo by Jordan Matter)

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

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