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Shout-Out to the Real Superheroes: #BallerinaMoms

Ashley Bouder's daughter, Violet Storm, perfects the art of stage makeup. Photo via Instagram.

In our eyes, being a dancer is remarkable. Add motherhood to the mix, and you're practically a superhero.

We salute all the incredible women who have two of the hardest—and most rewarding—jobs around. Here are just a few of our favorite #ballerinamom moments. (And don't say we didn't warn you: Prepare for full-on cute overload.)


Partnering while pregnant? No problem.

Colorado Ballet's Dana Benton was still at it when she was 39 weeks pregnant. Yup, we're impressed.

Houston Ballet's youngest dancer

Just three weeks after the birth of her daughter, Houston Ballet's Karina González was back in the studio with a special someone in tow.

Built-in workout inspiration

At the National Ballet of Canada, Jurgita Dronina and her son squeezed in a round of push-ups before she took barre and he built Lego.

Like mother, like daughter

We're not saying that dancers' kids should grow up to be dancers, but it's pretty adorable when they pick up a few steps. Recently, the daughter of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah Ricard Orza and Seth Orza made a dining table her stage. We're here for it.

The mother of all #ballerinamoms: Ashley Bouder

Ashley Bouder even has a separate account for her daughter, Violet Storm, so choosing just one Bouder/Violet moment is tough. (We're still amazed by the video of Bouder's insane string of fouettés, perfectly executed when she was nine months pregnant.) This clip of Violet and Mom's matching swan arms is enough to melt your heart.

Need a stand-in for rehearsal?

These days, it seems like dancers are mastering iconic roles younger than ever. At Charlotte Ballet, Alessandra James' son has already pulled off Apollo.

She got it from her momma

We see a future in aquatic ballet for this mother-daughter duo featuring European-based contemporary ballet star Drew Jacoby. Click through for video.

Two words: backstage access

An exclusive view of pre-performance company class? "Been there, done that," says Koan, son of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz.

And this list wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to the ballerina-moms-to-be.

New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild and international superstar Diana Vishneva are both expecting.

In Memoriam
A flyer showing Alberto Alonso, Fernando Alonso, Benjamin Steinberg and Alicia Alonso. Photo courtesy the author

Alicia has died. I walked around my apartment feeling her spirit, but knowing something had changed utterly.

My father, the late conductor Benjamin Steinberg, was the first music director of the Ballet de Cuba, as it was called then. I grew up in Vedado on la Calle 1ra y doce in a building called Vista al Mar. My family lived there from 1959 to 1963. My days were filled with watching Alicia teach class, rehearse and dance. She was everything: hilarious, serious, dramatic, passionate and elegiac. You lost yourself and found yourself when you loved her.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"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.

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Hansuke Yamamoto in Helgi Tomasson's Nutcracker at San Francisco Ballet, which features an exciting and respectful Chinese divertissement. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

It's Nutcracker time again: the season of sweet delights and a sparkling good time—if we're able to ignore the sour taste left behind by the outdated racial stereotypes so often portrayed in the second act.

In 2017, as a result of a growing list of letters from audience members, to New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins reached out to us asking for assistance on how to modify the elements of Chinese caricature in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Following that conversation, we founded the Final Bow for Yellowface pledge that states, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages."

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Dance & Activism
Allegra Bautista in Nevertheless, by ka·nei·see | collective. Photo by Robbie Sweeny

An audience member once emailed Dallas choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, claiming his work was vulgar. It complained that he shouldn't be pushing his agenda. As the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Peugh's recent choreography largely deals with LGBTQ issues.

"I got angry when I saw that email, wrote my angry response, deleted it, and then went back and explained to him that that's exactly why I should be making those works," says Peugh.

With the current political climate as polarized as it is, many artists today feel compelled to use their work to speak out on issues they care deeply about. But touring with a message is not for the faint of heart. From considerations about how to market the work to concerns about safety, touring to cities where, in general, that message may not be so welcome, requires companies to figure out how they'll respond to opposition.

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