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.
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
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:
It's a much-repeated part of Francesca Hayward's origin story that she discovered ballet at age 3, when her grandparents bought a video of The Nutcracker to keep her occupied and she immediately started dancing around the room. What's less well-known is that there was another video lined up next to The Nutcracker that Hayward liked to dance along to: Cats. "I really just did the White Cat bit and fast-forwarded the rest," she remembers. "I'd make my friends who came around be the other cats."
Twenty-four years later, she's not only become a Royal Ballet principal, but has been cast as Victoria the White Cat in Tom Hooper's new movie adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, out in theaters on December 20. "I remember the director telling me I'd got the part: 'Just to let you know you're the lead in a Hollywood film,' he said." Hayward laughs. "This is crazy!"
"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.