Most college dance programs offer ballet technique classes, and some schools even present classical rep. Few, however, offer the specialization and experience you’d receive as a company trainee. There are, of course, the conservatories like Juilliard or universities like Butler, Indiana and Utah that carry well-deserved reputations as having top-notch ballet offerings. But don’t ignore these strong ballet programs that tend to fly under the radar.
Ballet classes: Five times per week; pointe once per week, variations once per week; men’s classes and male variations once per week; basic partnering once per week, pas de deux once per week
Non-ballet courses required: Modern, dance history, choreography, character, somatic practice, jazz, eurythmics for dancers, music for dancers, costume and makeup for stage, theatrical design and production, acting, anatomy
Recent repertoire: Bournonville’s La Sylphide, Act II, Balanchine’s Serenade, “Kingdom of the Shades” from Petipa’s La Bayadère
Recent guest artists: Victoria Morgan (Cincinnati Ballet), Edwaard Liang (BalletMet), Devon Carney (Kansas City Ballet)
Alumni: Artistic positions with companies including Le Ballet du Capitole in France, Smuin Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Sarasota Ballet
CCM students in Balanchine’s Serenade. Photo by Will Brenner, Courtesy CCM.
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?