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Susanne Carmina Cansino was born on April 21, 1930, and passed on April 10, 2021, at the age of 90. She was born at the Carnegie Hall Studio apartments, to ballet dancer Susita Rossi and Spanish dancer Angel Cansino, an original member of the Dancing Cansino family. Susanne was one of two Cansino children born at the famed Carnegie location; the second was her cousin Antonio Cansino III, born to family member and Spanish dancer Antonio Cansino II and his wife, dancer Catherine Stoneburn.
Cansino was introduced to her first audience over the New York radio waves to advertise her recent appearance in the movie short Starlets; she was 7 years old and was featured as the youngest Spanish dance member of the Dancing Cansinos.
Her roles as a dancer on Broadway included Aries Is Rising (1939), Sally (1948), As the Girls Go (1948) and Dance Me a Song (1950), alongside Bob Fosse. Cansino carried her musical theater talent over to summer stock, touring in countless national productions.
With encouragement from family members, as well as from her first cousin Margarita Cansino, aka Rita Hayworth, Cansino proceeded to tour in her own nightclub act, performing as Susanne and the Escorts. The ensemble performed at major venues, including the Copacabana in New York City and Palmer House in Chicago. In the 1950s she appeared on various television shows, including "The Red Skelton Show," "All Star Revue," "Your Hit Parade" and "I've Got a Secret." She finally met and worked with a new partner, American Ballet Theatre and Broadway dancer Jack Beaber, who died in 2013. They married in 1960, and each developed their own careers; Beaber became a musical theater choreographer.
Cansino last appeared on Broadway in No Strings (1962) and assisted in a tango scene for the film The Cardinal (1963). The couple then toured for 10 years in major cities of Europe and Australia, dancing in Monte Carlo, Rome, Sydney and Melbourne with their own ensemble of American songs and dances. Both finally moved to France in 1974, eventually settling in Caixas, where they spent their remaining years. —Michael Miguel Bernal, author of The Golden Age of the Spanish Dance
When Madelyn Ho joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2015, she was smack in the middle of medical school at Harvard. Instead of quitting, she simultaneously juggled school and company demands until graduating in May 2018. But she held off on pursuing a residency until after her dance career, and hadn't had a chance to practice medicine yet in any formal capacity. Then the pandemic hit.
In January, she began volunteering at two vaccination sites in New York City. She's picked up various roles, and spends the majority of her time helping run the vaccine floor—making sure vaccinators have the supplies they need, trouble-shooting, watching to keep any doses from getting wasted, answering questions and translating to and from Mandarin, and making sure people feel okay after getting their shots.
"Being able to help in this way has been really wonderful," she says. "People are coming in from all kinds of backgrounds, and with all kinds of emotions. But there's this great feeling of camaraderie that we're in this together—which is why I keep going back and volunteering!"
She puts in 12 to 14 hour shifts on many Saturdays and Sundays, even as PTDC has ramped up to a regular weekday rehearsal schedule.
Although this is the first time she's officially using her MD, she says her medical background has often come in handy, whether it's answering her colleagues' questions about when they should get that X-ray or being able to help family and friends suss out misinformation about COVID-19.
Madelyn Ho, MD
For any dancers concerned about the vaccine, she reminds them that it's a smart thing to ask questions and get all the information. "With this vaccination, it may feel like this new technology, but years of work has gone into this research—which is actually why these vaccines were able to be developed so quickly," she says.
Ho says that being on the frontlines of the vaccine rollout is especially meaningful to her as a dancer. "As this point, in the U.S.," she says, "the vaccine is our means of getting back into theaters and to being able to perform."
Growing up in Brazil, Mayara Magri declared she would have a professional dance career abroad before she even fully understood what that meant. She set her sights on The Royal Ballet—and, in just a few years, she went from watching a video of the company's production of La Bayadère to performing in it as one of her first corps roles.
"I was obsessed with the video with Darcey Bussell," recalls Magri, now a first soloist. "I knew I wanted that for my life. Funnily enough, when I got to do Gamzatti a few years ago, I was wearing Darcey Bussell's tutu!" she says, laughing in disbelief. "I was like, 'This just can't be.' "
Most memorable performance: "When my family secretly flew here to watch my Don Quixote show—I saw my sisters and my parents in the wings during bows, and I lost it."
What's on her playlist: "Jazz blues songs from Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles when I wake up. Bossa nova or Spanish guitar for when I'm cooking."
Coffee order: "A flat white with oat milk—I have it at least twice each day."
The moment this career became real: "Prix de Lausanne in 2011 was my first experience in Europe. I ended up winning the competition and the audience prize. That was such a huge thing for me because I realized, 'Wow, I might be able to have a career with this.' "
Favorite role: "Tatiana in Onegin."
Top place to travel: "Japan. I love the culture, and really respect the people. I would live there."
One product she can't live without: "This amazing face cream by The Seated Queen."
On lockdown life: "Whenever I feel a bit anxious or stressed, I've been trying to have some time without the phone. It can be frustrating because so many people are doing things and posting about it. As dancers, we already put so much pressure on ourselves. But respecting your well-being, I think that's what's going to get us out of this in a good state of mind."
Favorite spot in London: "Fidelio Orchestra. It's a restaurant, but it's also a concert house with live, proper music before dinner—they'll play Schubert, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff."
Missed debut: "I was meant to be doing my debut as Odette/Odile with the company before lockdown. I only got one stage call. But Act IV was so special because I felt like I lost myself in the role. Hopefully, I'll get to experience that again in a performance."
Her pre-performance ritual: "In Rio, we had a teacher who told us to tap our heart like gorillas for courage. I still do it."
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