Curtain Up

It’s become famously difficult for a female soloist at American Ballet Theatre to rise to principal. Some of the best dancers in New York are at the soloist level. But ABT imports spectacular guest artists from abroad (which is great for box office and buzz) with such regularity that it creates a ceiling beyond which these terrific dancers cannot pass.


Hee Seo is one of the very few women soloists to break through that ceiling. With her swoon-y dramatic gifts, strong technique, and capacity to devour coaching, she has proved herself to be a magnificent interpreter of a wide range of roles. Her Tatiana is heart rending, her Nikiya sensual, her Juliet passionate. This spring she’ll make her debut as the lead in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Ashton’s A Month in the Country. Read our cover story on Hee Seo, written by Dance Magazine associate editor Kina Poon, to find out why Seo felt happier as a soloist than she does as a principal—at least for now.


Hee Seo loves her Aurora tutu. Photo by Nathan Sayers.


For our second annual Technique Issue, our sharp-eyed senior advising editor, Joseph Carman, suggested a story on beats. He feels that batterie is in danger of becoming a thing of the past—and that we can help save it. As Patricia Wilde says in his feature story “In Praise of Beats,” that particular realm of virtuosity can add “wonderful excitement” to allégro variations.


Very often the push for extreme technique leaves out subtlety and style. That’s where Fosse comes in. Lauren Kay talks to Fosse mavens in our “Centerwork” column, titled “Not the ‘Old’ Razzle-Dazzle.” Yes, his choreography is iconic in its extreme hinges and lust for detail, but it’s the emotional connection Fosse demands that deepens a performance.


In “Technique My Way,” the ultra-fluid Doug Varone dancer Julia Burrer talks about extending her movement practice outside the studio. She does yoga, rolls on balls, and works on her posture in non-dance moments. And that’s what makes a dancer—when the mind and body involvement is total.



Breaking Stereotypes
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As a dietitian specializing in dance nutrition, the most common DM flooding my inbox is "How can I drop pounds (specifically from body fat) and gain muscle?"

The short answer? Not happening.

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Dancers Trending
Chantelle Pianetta competing at a West Coast swing event. Courtesy Pianetta.

Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.

She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.

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Cover Story
Jayme Thornton

Sean Dorsey was always going to be an activist. Growing up in a politically engaged, progressive family in Vancouver, British Columbia, "it was my heart's desire to create change in the world," he says. Far less certain was his future as a dancer.

Like many dancers, Dorsey fell in love with movement as a toddler. However, he didn't identify strongly with any particular gender growing up. Dorsey, who now identifies as trans, says, "I didn't see a single person like me anywhere in the modern dance world." The lack of trans role models and teachers, let alone all-gender studio facilities where he could feel safe and welcome, "meant that even in my wildest dreams, there was no room for that possibility."

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Health & Body
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It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?

Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?

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