Quinn Wharton

ABT Principal Cassandra Trenary on Her Career Highlight, Style Secret and Going Blonde

In her day job, Cassandra Trenary is known for her classical repertoire. But away from the stage, the American Ballet Theatre principal gives off Old Hollywood vibes, thanks, in large part, to her platinum hair—something that was fittingly inspired by her work.

"We wear platinum wigs for the third act of The Sleeping Beauty, and I always said I'd do that one day," Trenary explains. She had never gone through with it, afraid blond locks wouldn't suit her. But this June, stuck at home, she decided to give it a go.

Paired with her vintage wardrobe, her finished look is an effortlessly cool combination of classic beauty and '90s street style.


Cassandra Trenary standing on a bridge with the sunlight behind her

Quinn Wharton

Dream role: "I was rehearsing for Juliet prior to the shutdown. It was a dream being realized, and I look forward to eventually getting to perform it. I also want to work with Crystal Pite and dance contemporary works by Kylián and Forsythe. And Béjart's Boléro."

Battling nerves: "The worst nerves come just before getting onstage. But always—with the exception of a few times—the second I get out there, I'm able to be a character."

Favorite city to travel to: "Paris."

What's on her playlist: "I'm obsessed with Emily King and Michael Kiwanuka right now. And Etta James."

Career highlight: "There have been so many pinch-me moments, but one of my proudest was performing Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty on opening night when ABT toured to Paris. It was my first year as a soloist, and I was just overwhelmed with gratitude."

Performance strategy: "After I get those first few shows under my belt, I like to find a little more spontaneity. I'm the person who always, maybe to a fault, gives a little something extra when I get onstage or starts whipping things out that weren't there when I was in the studio."

Backstage ritual: "Before any performance, I try to remain near friends to relax. Maybe a minute before I go onstage, I bow my head, have a deep breath, say a little prayer and just remind myself to remain grateful."

Offstage hobby: "I was gifted a vintage Nikon from 1959. I am not a photographer by any means, but I've enjoyed playing with it. I've gotten to capture some iconic moments in my friends' careers—it's magic when you get something really beautiful."

Coffee order: "An Americano with honey."

Style secret: "Everywhere we go on tour, I shop. It's usually me, James Whiteside, Isabella Boylston and Gabe Stone Shayer. We Google 'thrift store near me,' pile in a car and go."

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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