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.

In Memoriam
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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News
Rauf "RubberlLegz" Yasit and Parvaneh Scharafali. Photo by Mohamed Sadek, courtesy The Shed

William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).

As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.

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Courtesy NBC

"Law & Order: SVU" has dominated the crime show genre for 21 seasons with its famous "ripped from the headlines" strategy of taking plot inspiration from real-life crimes.

So viewers would be forgiven for assuming that the new storyline following the son of Mariska Hargitay's character into dance class originated in the news cycle. After all, the mainstream media widely covered the reaction to Lara Spencer's faux pas on "Good Morning America" in August, when she made fun of Prince George for taking ballet class.

But it turns out, the storyline was actually the idea of the 9-year-old actor, Ryan Buggle, who plays Hargitay's son. And he came up with it before Spencer ever giggled at the word ballet.

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Breaking Stereotypes
Getty Images

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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