Hey, Mainstream Media. Here's the Right Way to Feature Dance.
At this point, I don't think we can bear to see another botched ballet video. How many times do non-dancers have to don pointe shoes or a leotard and prance around for popular outlets like Vogue Spain and Vanity Fair? (No, Kendall Jenner, we don't think you're owning those pointe shoes. And Elle Fanning? We don't want you to show us how to "make a ballet turn." *Face palm.* Don't even get us started about this ballet tutorial where Petra Collins "teaches barre" to Vanity Fair staffers.)
Dancing is for everyone, absolutely, but let's leave the professional representations to the professionals. It's not about being elitist. It's about respecting and honoring the incredible hard work and dedication that dance requires.
*Steps off soapbox.*
But all is not lost. Who has been shining a positive light on dance lately? The advertising industry. Between touchdowns and Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show, Lil Buck jooked his way around a Lexus. Just weeks earlier, he promoted Apple's AirPods in a video that's racked up more than 10 million views. And Puma recently teamed up with New York City Ballet for its new ballet-inspired activewear line. (These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. We dove into love affair between dance and advertising in this feature.)
Now, computer company Acer is the latest business to use dancers' considerable talents to sell something that has nothing to do with dance. And we don't mind one bit.
Acer just released two spots for its #DareToBeSwift campaign, aimed at selling a sleek new laptop. What else is sleek? And daring? Yup, ballet and contemporary dancers. That's why the advertisements feature captivating slow-motion footage of New York City Ballet star Ashley Bouder springing onto pointe. And American Ballet Theatre's Gillian Murphy performing gravity defying leaps. "So You Think You Can Dance" winner Lauren Froderman even makes an appearance, along with contemporary dancer/model Dakota Moore.
The bottom line: Ad execs, keep up the good work. And I think I might need a new laptop...
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.
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?