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.
(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)
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.