Just for Fun

12 Childhood Pics and Videos That Prove These Stars Were Born to Dance

A young Robbie Fairchild, posing for a tap number. Courtesy Fairchild.

When you hear names like Maria Kochetkova, Sutton Foster and Robbie Fairchild, you immediately picture flashes of them as the fully-formed, phenomenal performers they are today.

But even when they were kids, they had a glimmer of their future star power, giving a glimpse of what was to come. Thankfully for Instagram, we've got the pictures and home videos to prove it.


Robbie and Megan Fairchild

Now: Talk about talent running in the family. Sister Megan is now a principal at New York City Ballet, while her brother Robbie has since departed NYCB, delving in to Broadway and film, including the much-anticipated Cats film.

Then: The sibling duo was putting on their own shows at home, with Megan lending her old costume to her Robbie. Mid-performance, Robbie even gets snot rubbed off his face.

Diana Vishneva

Now: Full-on ballet royalty, at 43, she's still performing with the Mariinsky and runs her contemporary dance festival, CONTEXT.

Then: Back in 1994, 18-year-old Vishneva gave a welcome address to kick off the new school year at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. It was an honor awarded to the program's most promising senior student.

Natalia Arja and Renan Cerdeiro

Now: The longtime friends are colleagues at Miami City Ballet, where Arja is a principal soloist and Cerdeiro is a principal.

Then: Back home in their native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the pair was chummy, seizing the opportunity to dance together even outside of class.

James Whiteside

Now: Whiteside is his own brand of triple threat: a principal at American Ballet Theatre, pop performer JbDubs and a choreographer.

Then: He was a regular teen who admittedly loved dancing to Britney Spears. We can't say we're surprised.

Daniil Simkin

Now: An international ballet superstar—currently a principal at Staatsballett Berlin and American Ballet Theatre—known for his bounding jumps and sailing turns

Then: A promising young dancer, known for his bounding jumps and sailing turns. Some things never change.

Catherine Hurlin

Now: A captivating soloist who's scooping up roles at American Ballet Theatre, Hurlin is also known by her nickname, Hurricane.

Then: At age 3, Hurlin seemed to be channeling Isadorables vibes, posing in a flowing vintage dress.

Kathryn Morgan

Now: Morgan leaps back into company life this season as a soloist at Miami City Ballet.

Then: From a young age, she was cheesing it up and already feeling at home in a mess of tulle and sequins.

Kyle Abraham

Now: The busy MacArthur "genius" choreographer is creating work this season for his own company, A.I.M, plus Misty Copeland, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Then: Abraham was that cool kid in high school who was also deeply intellectual. A longtime music lover, he played cello as a teen.

Maria Kochetkova

Now: Though the ballet maverick has struck out on her own, leaving traditional company life behind, Kochetkova continues to perform around the world.

Then: While most ballet students dance in a Nutcracker growing up, very few can say their first was at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Welcome to the life of Kochetkova.

Ryan Heffington

Now: Heffington has molded a career out of making the awkward enticingly cool, whether he's choreographing for Sia or crafting the central "five movements" for Netflix's "The OA."

Then: He was a spiffy dance student who appeared several times on "Star Search."

Karina González

Now: A longtime principal at Houston Ballet, the audience favorite also became a mother last year.

Then: As a kid in Venezuela, González was literally bending over backwards to dance. After showing up at the wrong address for dance lessons, we're extremely glad she was swiftly redirected to the right school.

Sutton Foster

Now: Foster is preparing to strike Broadway gold once again for the 2020 revival of The Music Man, in which she'll star opposite Hugh Jackman.

Then: Based on this early tap routine, Sutton was clearly destined for Broadway.

Day in the Life

Most people may know Derek Dunn for his impeccable turns and alluring onstage charisma. But the Boston Ballet principal dancer is just as charming offstage, whether he's playing with his 3-year-old miniature labradoodle or working in the studio. Dance Magazine recently spent the day with Dunn as he prepared for his debut as Albrecht in the company's upcoming run of Giselle.

Dance Training
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

You know compelling musicality when you see it. But how do you cultivate it? It's not as elusive as it might seem. Musicality, like any facet of dance, can be developed and honed over time—with dedicated, detailed practice. At its most fundamental, it's "respect for the music, that this is your partner," says Kate Linsley, academy principal of the School of Nashville Ballet.

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The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

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In Memoriam
Ross Parkes, right, teaching in Shanghai in 1983. Lan-Lan Wang is at left. Courtesy Lan-Lan Wang.

Notable dancer and beloved teacher, Ross Parkes, 79, passed away on August 5, 2019 in New York City. He was a founding faculty member at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, where he taught from 1984 to 2006. Lin Hwai-min, artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theater, said: "He nurtured two generations of dancers in Taiwan, and his legacy will continue."

About his dancing, Tonia Shimin, professor emerita at UC Santa Barbara and producer of Mary Anthony: A Life in Modern Dance, said this: "He was an exquisite, eloquent dancer who inhabited his roles completely."

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