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

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

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.

Latest Posts


Brandt in Giselle. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Skylar Brandt's Taste in Music Is as Delightful as Her Dancing

American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt's dancing is clean, precise and streamlined. It's surprising, then, to learn that her taste in music is "all over the place," she says. (Even more surprising is that Brandt, who has an Instagram following of over 80k, is "in the dark ages" when it comes to her music, and was buying individual songs on iTunes up until a year ago, when her family intervened with an Apple Music plan.)

Though what she's listening to at any given time can vary dramatically, the through-line for Brandt is nostalgia: songs that take her back, whether to childhood, a favorite movie or a piece she's recently performed. Brandt told us about her eclectic taste, and made us a playlist that will keep you guessing:

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

NYCDA Is Redefining the Convention Scene Through Life-Changing Opportunities

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Courtesy The Joyce

Dance Magazine Chairman's Award Honoree: Linda Shelton

In an industry that has been clamoring for more female leadership, Linda Shelton, executive director of New York City's The Joyce Theater Foundation since 1993, has been setting an example for decades. As a former general manager of The Joffrey Ballet, U.S. tour manager for the Bolshoi Ballet, National Endowment for the Arts panelist, Dance/NYC board member and Benois de la Danse judge, as well as a current Dance/USA board member, Shelton has served as a global leader in dance. In her tenure at The Joyce, she has not only increased the venue's commissioned programming, but also started presenting beyond The Joyce's walls in locations such as Lincoln Center.

What brought you to The Joyce?

That was many years ago, but it's still the same today: It's a belief in and passion for the mission of the theater, which is to support dance in all of its forms and varieties—every kind of dance that you could imagine.

Diversity is so important in dance leadership today. How do you approach this at The Joyce?

Darren Walker said something interesting at a Dance/NYC Symposium, which was that The Joyce is a disruptor. It was nice to hear in that context, because we don't think of it as something new. We didn't have to change our mission statement to be more diverse. We've been doing this since day one.

Is drawing in new audiences and maintaining longtime supporters ever in conflict?

Of course. I call it the blessing and the curse of our mission. We do present more experimental companies that may attract a younger audience. But it's very tricky. You're not going to tell your long-term audience, "Don't come and see this because you're not going to like the music." We've had people walk out of the theater before, but it's a response. It's important to spark those conversations.

What experimenting have you done?

We've tried a "pay what you decide" ticket the past couple of seasons with some of our more adventurous programming. You would reserve your seat for a dollar and after seeing the show pay what you decide is right for you.

Do you have advice for other dance presenters?

Find opportunities to sit with colleagues from around the country. At Dance/USA there's a presenters' council where we come together and talk about what we're putting in our seasons and what we're passionate about. Maybe there are enough presenters to collaborate and make it possible to bring a company to New York or to do a tour around the country.

Also, remember what it's all about: making that connection between what's onstage and the audience. If we can do that, despite every visa issue and missed flight and injury and changed program and whatever else comes our way, then we should feel good about the job we're doing.

To purchase tickets to the Dance Magazine Awards or become a sponsor, visit dancemediafoundation.org.

contest
Enter Our Video Contest