Isabella Boylston adding her own take to the newly-coined #EsmeraldaChallenge.

Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation...but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.


The variation, which stems from a rarely-performed 1844 ballet based on Victor Hugo's famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is a competition classic, favored by bunheads eager to show off their extension and control. But earlier this week, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston took to the internet, channeling her stir craziness into her own version: complete with frozen pizza.

Soon after, BalletMet dancer Jim Nowakowski joined in, also risking toe-bruising with a frying pan, à la Wong. But note that Nowakowski one-upped the other two by masterfully turning his développés.

Of course this begs the question, is the #EsmeraldaChallenge (as our friends at Pointe have chosen to coin it), quarantine's next big thing? At least we've given you a task for your weekend: Pull out your own pans, pizzas, frisbees, tortillas or whatever else you have on hand, and add your own version to the mix. Don't forget to use the hashtag #EsmeraldaChallenge and tag @pointemagazineofficial on Instagram. Happy dancing!

Latest Posts


BalletMet costume shop manager Erin Rollins in a costume fitting with Leiland Charles. Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet

A Costume Shop Manager's Expert Advice for Making Your Dancewear Last Longer

What's the best way to extend the life of your favorite leotard or piece of workout wear? Aside from fabric quality, it largely comes down to what you do on laundry day.

We spoke with Erin Rollins, costume shop manager at BalletMet, for her top tips on keeping your beloved dancewear in rotation for years to come. (Spoiler alert: No, washing and drying everything on the same setting isn't advised.)

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS