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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.

Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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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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In Memoriam
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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News
Rauf "RubberlLegz" Yasit and Parvaneh Scharafali. Photo by Mohamed Sadek, courtesy The Shed

William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).

As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.

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