This Ballerina's Vegan Lifestyle Helped Launch Her Instagram Following (And Build Her Dance Career)
Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.
"I became vegan in the summer of 2014 shortly after I discovered a lump on my left breast. Thankfully it turned out to be benign, but it kept growing and so I was advised by a naturopath to adopt a vegan diet to reduce the inflammation in my body. Two weeks after I became vegan I noticed that I had a lot more endurance and stamina when I was dancing, and my body felt lighter. I started documenting my vegan lifestyle shortly after."
Reaching Social Influencer Status
"My initial Instagram growth came strictly from luck when one of my ballet images went viral in 2015. Shortly after that I was approached by a social media agency who asked if I would be interested in making a career out of my influencer work. I didn't even know what that meant at the time, but I was offered a contract and my social media career officially took off. I stick to only working with partners and outlets that are authentic to me, my preferences and my lifestyle. No matter how big my business grows, what matters to me the most is showcasing what is true to myself. I think that is why people view my content."
Interacting With Followers
"People typically use my account as a resource to find their way towards a more sustainable lifestyle, so I get a ton of questions asking for the best vegan products, restaurants, sustainable retailers, etc. I also get many, many inquiries about being a vegan athlete and dancer—what kind of food I eat, my training regimen and my favorite ballet brands. I am an open book and will gladly share my recommendations. If I can inspire one person to make even just a small, healthy change to their lifestyle, I am happy. People often tell me how my account has inspired them to continue dancing even though they're having challenges in their training. It's really humbling to hear that. I'm grateful every day to be in this position."
Expanding Her Dance Career
"I get approached quite a bit for guest performances, or choreographers will reach out to me through Instagram because they want to develop a piece around me. I've even been approached about music video work! There is such a diverse world of dance opportunities that I would have never been exposed to had these people not found me via social media. I also get approached by a lot of brands for ballet themed ad work, which is great because I get to bring ballet out to the masses with these opportunities."
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:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"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.