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How to Deal With Your Own Stage Mom
The term "stage parent" carries some seriously bad energy in the dance world. We think of parents aggressively fighting for their children to get cast first, perform more and constantly be in the front of the studio.
A stage mom or dad can become so involved in their child's career that they develop a symbiotic state of nervousness and desire for perfection in every step.
But having a stage parent isn't all bad. There are major benefits to having your own cheerleader. In the competitive dance world, a loving, informed friend who is perpetually on your side is hard to come by and even harder to count on.
Some stage parents are the best: Daniil and Dmitrij Simkin.
When the relationship works, the child finds success doing what he or she truly loves to do as the proud parent looks on with genuine support. But when it doesn't, unexpressed emotions will lead to a massive level of resentment.
So what can you do?
Advice for Parents:
Photo by Rachel Papo for Pointe
-Check in with your son or daughter and make sure they love what they are doing before you push them to do more of it.
-Give them space to learn for themselves. Mistakes make us all grow. You will probably be right in the end (parents often are) but give them room to figure that out for themselves.
-If your child discovers dance is not for them, but they have chosen to participate in a show or signed up for a certain number of classes, discuss the value of following through with their commitments.
-Once they have a job and are of age to do so, let them live on their own. When a child begins intensely training for a dance career, it is hard to develop the social skills necessary to make lasting friendships, especially if their parent is such a powerful lifeline. You can still be there for them, but they need peers to thrive.
-If you have sound advice to give, share it—but do so realizing that you are their parent and not their teacher, partner or artistic director. They know what life is like in the studio every day; you do not.
-Encourage your dancer to be as well-rounded as possible. A full life leads to fuller dancing, not to mention providing a necessary back-up plan.
-Know that with every step they take, you are the source of their beautiful life. Also know that the more you experience your own life, the more you will have to talk about together.
Advice for Dancers:
Photo by Rachel Papo for Pointe
-Frequently assess whether or not you love what you do. If the only times you think about dancing are when you are in the studio or theater, it's possible that a career in the field is just not right for you.
-Be honest with your feelings. If you're no longer passionate about dancing, sit down to talk about it with your parents. Listen to their response and be honest and true to your feelings.
-Do not send your parents in to fight your battles for you with your director. Not only are you missing a valuable learning opportunity, but you are developing a dependency that could prove to be detrimental later on.
-Tell your parents you are grateful for the sacrifices they made for your career. Don't let your dancing represent your thanks. Speaking your thanks will free your dancing to exist on its own.
-As you get older, seek out the space you need to grow. These conversations are always hard. Perhaps you need to take a break from constant communication or limit the scope of information you share. Make time to talk about your parent's life, and keep your work to yourself for a while.
-Remember that love is behind every push and shove, and that parental love will always be there no matter what.
Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6. joffrey.org.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
In his final bow at New York City Ballet, during what should have been a heroic conclusion to a celebrated ballet career, Robert Fairchild slipped and fell. His reaction? To lie down flat on his back like he meant to do it. Then start cracking up at himself.
"He's such a ham," says his sister Megan Fairchild, with a laugh. "He's really good at selling whatever his body is doing that day. He'll turn a moment that I would totally go home and cry about into something where the audience is like, 'That's the most amazing thing ever!' "
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.
Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.
He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.
He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.
Update: Due to an overwhelming response, the in-person audition has been moved to a larger location to accommodate more dancers. See details below.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Janet Jackson is holding an open audition for dancers.
Even better? You could land a spot in her #JTribe simply by posting a video on social media.
What does it take to become an international superstar? Carlos Acosta might have a few ideas.
At the Oxford Literary Festival earlier this month, the BBC sat down with Acosta to ask for his life lessons. His answers—which he says he will pass on to his kids one day—give incredible insight into how he's become such a beloved worldwide success.