Photo by Nathan Sayers

25 to Watch 2018: Leal Zielińska

There's something about Leal Zielińska that defies easy explanation. In stillness, she captivates, flirting with androgyny yet remaining unapologetically feminine, her gaze at once frank and mysterious. In motion, her fierce athleticism seems at odds with her almost-ungainly facility, contorting into positions that beggar believability and then staying there too long for comfort.

She doesn't shy away from awkwardness but instead leans into it. Somehow these paradoxes resolve into a magnetic performance quality that makes the Polish-born dancer impossible to look away from, as well as a perfect conduit for Sidra Bell's bizarre, audacious, sometimes voyeuristic work.


Find out who else made Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" list this year.

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Darian Volkova, Courtesy Shayer

How I Deal with Racist Remarks as a Ballet Dancer of Color

After years of rigorous training, ballet dancers become accustomed to constructive and oftentimes harsh criticism. Being scrutinized is something that comes with the territory.

I myself spent the better half of my high school years in Russia, where political correctness does not get in the way of progress. We were trained to use criticism as fuel to propel us forward. Everything said in class or rehearsal was meant to help better ourselves and not to be taken personally.

But where is the line between helpful advice and offensive language?

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