On April 30, I saw Taylor Stanley light up two of the three ballets at New York City Ballet: Alexei Ratmansky’s vibrant Pictures at an Exhibition and Justin Peck’s complex Everywhere We Go. He seemed to be beaming out rays of sunshine, and I couldn’t help sitting a bit more forward to soak it in.
With dancing like this, it was inevitable that he would be made a principal. Sure enough, on Tuesday, just before Taylor went onstage to replace an injured dancer in ballet master in chief Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction, Martins anointed him principal.
Stanley began dancing at age 3 at the Rock School in Philadelphia. He came to the School of American Ballet in 2008 and was named apprentice at NYCB in 2009. His quick rise is detailed in Brian Schaefer’s cover story in Pointe magazine last year.
I named him one of my “Best of 2014,” writing, “Taylor Stanley: Warmth, clarity, and verve in every role.” He seems to spring up off the floor, whether the step is a jeté or a glissade.
He’s become a favorite of choreographers like Justin Peck and Troy Schumacher as well as Martins. In this video, Stanley characterizes himself as the quiet type, but whenever I’ve seen him onstage, he’s bursting with energy—as though he were singing or whistling or yelling with every step.
Now that he is a principal, one might wonder whether he will have time for his other interests like working with Schumacher’s BalletCollective, taking Gaga workshops or pursuing a BA through California’s LEAP program.
In any case, many of us are hungry to see Stanley in both old roles and new next season.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?