Just for Fun

Forget Being Normal. We Love #HowDancersDoThings

Let's face it. Dancers just do things differently. We can never walk down a grocery aisle—we have to tap. We can never simply pick something up we've dropped—without going into a penché. But it's not a bad thing. We love all the ways that dance bleeds into our daily lives.

Turns out the pros aren't ever really off-duty either. Here's how we caught them dancing through their downtime.


How Dancers Hit the Gym

Alex Wong literally can't. stop. dancing. No matter what he's doing—whether he's getting ready to go out, playing tennis or walking down the street—there's bound to be a split involved. And we're totally here for this Jim Nowakowski cameo.

How Ballerinas Take a Bath

We get it. Dancers' crazy schedules mean they're always pressed for time. But American Ballet Theatre's Lauren Post has a genius idea: combining R&R with pointe shoe prep. (Just don't drop the shoes!)

How Dancers Take Family Photos

Forget those corny family photographs where everyone dons a white shirt and khaki shorts. Dancers do a way better job with beachside photo opps. Check out Pacific Northwest Ballet's Lindsi Dec and her husband Karel Cruz, who recently retired from the stage.

How Dancers Explore the Great Outdoors

Yes, dancers do exist outside of the studio. And ABT's James Whiteside shows us exactly what happens when they step outdoors.

How Dancers Soothe a Fussy Baby

Sure, bouncing a baby on your lap might work just fine. But being cuddled while mom tests her balance works too. Looks like new mom and Houston Ballet principal Karina González has this down pat.

How Dancers Spend Their Layovers

We couldn't forget this gem featuring Dance Theatre of Harlem. Dancing in airports has become quite the trend these last few years, and we agree it's an excellent way to pass the time.

The Creative Process
Rehearsal of Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets. Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy Performa.

Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

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:

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with dancers at Atlanta Ballet, offers tips for creating a more body-positive studio experience:

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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