These So-Called "Dancer Fails" Make Us Love Them Even More

If you're anything like us, your Instagram feed is chock-full of gorgeous dance photos and videos. But you know what makes us fall in love with an artist even more? When they take a break from curating perfect posts and get real about their missteps. These performers' ability to move past mistakes, and even laugh them off, is one reason why they're so successful.

Every time you fall out of a pirouette, just remember: The stars—and literally every. single. dancer.—have been there, too. (Even Misty Copeland.)


American Ballet Theatre's James Whiteside

For every ballet competition winner, there are always many more dancers that walk away empty-handed. Whiteside didn't let this early setback deter him—and look how he turned out.

New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns

Cross-training is meant to be hard, and Mearns isn't afraid to admit it. Though she often posts videos of herself once she masters an exercise, we love how this glimpse praises process over perfection. She wrote, "I always show the final product but the amount of fails it takes to get there is EPIC!!"

Broadway dancer Samantha Sturm

Sturm got candid about what really happens at dance photo shoots. In order to achieve the flawless leaping photo below, she estimates that she did "7 millionty jumps that day," including this in-between moment above. But even this outtake is effervescent.

Houston Ballet's Luzemberg Santana and Mónica Gómez

Don't even get us started on rehearsal bloopers. If dancers had a dollar for every time we slipped, tripped or wiped out, we might be wealthy. When Santana and Gómez attempted this tricky leap-throw-catch maneuver, things went south. Don't worry: No dancers were harmed in the making of this video.


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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020