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James Whiteside on His Limited-Edition Sneaker Collab With KOIO
If you pay attention to James Whiteside's Instagram as closely as we do, you'll notice the American Ballet Theatre principal spends almost as much time in sneakers as he does ballet slippers. His affinity for classic styles (his collection primarily includes Reeboks, Converse and Vans) recently brought a unique opportunity with sneaker brand, KOIO, to design his very own kicks.
"My commercial agent called me and said, 'Hey, this sneaker brand is interested in collaborating with you,'" Whiteside tells us. "And so basically, I just went down to their Soho store and hung out with them and chatted—and the sneaker was born out of that."
KOIO x James Whiteside sneakers
When working on his design, Whiteside knew he wanted to reference ballet. "I didn't want it to look like a ballet slipper, so I decided to tie in a fabric," he explains. "I thought of old satin ballet shoes and how pointe shoes are satin, and so I brought up the idea of a satin sneaker. I wear white ballet shoes, but a white satin sneaker is going to get dirty in like two seconds, so we decided to go with a wine color that's really beautiful and great for the season. It's got a dressy look to it."
To further personalize his sneakers, Whiteside had a replica of his tattoo—a claw mark on his ribcage—embroidered on either side of the outside heel. "My tattoo means to make something beautiful out of perhaps something ugly," Whiteside says. "We all have our own personal scars and such, and this is my way of wearing mine proudly and overcoming some obstacles."
The limited-edition sneakers officially launch on KOIO's site and in two New York City stores on December 9, but Whiteside has already been sporting his. "I've been wearing them with jeans and a t-shirt and a layered fall look. But I think it would be really cute with a suit for a formal event, too."
One of the biggest myths about ballet dancers is that they don't eat. While we all know that, yes, there are those who do struggle with body image issues and eating disorders, most healthy dancers love food—and eat plenty of it to fuel their busy schedules.
Luckily for us, they're not afraid to show it:
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!
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.
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.' "
What does a superstar like Carlos Acosta do after bidding farewell to his career in classical ballet? In Acosta's case, he returns to his native country, Cuba, to funnel his fame, connections and prodigious energies back into the dance scene that formed him. Because of its top-notch, state-supported training programs and popular embrace of the art of dance, Cuba is brimming with talented dancers. What it has been short on, until recently, are opportunities outside of the mainstream companies, as well as access to a more international repertoire. That is changing now, and, with the creation of Acosta Danza, launched in 2016, Acosta is determined to open the doors even wider to new ideas and audiences.
There's so much more to the dance world than making and performing dances. Arts administrators do everything from raising money to managing companies to building new audiences. With the growing number of arts administration programs in colleges, dancers have an opportunity to position themselves for a multifaceted career on- or offstage—and to bring their unique perspective as artists to administrative work.
While Solange was busy helping big sis Beyoncé give Coachella its best performances of all time, an equally compelling project was quietly circulating on Instagram:
New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight.
When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the decision? Who would oversee the Balanchine ballets? Who would be in charge of casting? Would a new director bring along huge upheaval? Could some of us be out of a job?
In the world of ballet, Arcadian Broad is a one-stop shop: He'll come up with a story, compose its music, choreograph the movement and dance it himself. But then Broad has always been a master of versatility. As a teenager he juggled school, dance and—after the departure of his father—financial responsibility. It was Broad's income from dancing that kept his family afloat. Fast-forward six years and things are far more stable. Broad now lives on his own in an apartment, but you can usually find him in the studio.
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.