Lopez in Circus Polka. PC Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB

Lourdes Lopez Just Honored Robbins By Dancing A Role He Originated

When Miami City Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez was a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, she missed her opportunity to honor Jerome Robbins onstage. "Every time there was a celebration for Jerry, I was either injured or had just retired," says Lopez. "I was never able to publicly thank him onstage for all that he taught us and the beauty he left us."

But when Lopez was planning MCB's Jerome Robbins Celebration for the 100th anniversary of the legend's birth, she saw an opportunity. She asked the Robbins Trust to allow her to perform the Ringmaster in Robbins' Circus Polka, a role the choreographer originated himself.


They said yes, setting Lopez on track to be the first woman the Trust has ever allowed to perform the role, which she did this past weekend.

Lopez in Circus Polka. PC Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB

In Circus Polka, which Robbins created in 1972 for NYCB's Stravinsky Festival, the Ringmaster leads a group of young girls through a series of simple ballet steps. "There are pictures of Jerry in this role looking so handsome and joyful onstage," Lopez says. "The Ringmaster is someone who is very proud to be out there showing off these kids. It's adorable and heartwarming and puts a huge smile on your face."

Lopez in Circus Polka. PC Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB

Though the role doesn't require much dancing, Lopez admitted to having butterflies after many years away from the stage. And it's nice to know that even she struggles with counting Stravinsky: "The counts aren't systematic in any way. That was my biggest challenge."

She's also made some new friends in the process: The 50+ young MCB school students featured in Circus Polka. "Now whenever they see me they're like 'Hi, Ms. Lopez!' I've become their buddy."

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Paulo Arrais rehearsing Agon with Lia Cirio. Photo by Brooke Trisolini

Fear of Reinjury Could Make You More Prone to Hurting Yourself Again. Here's How to Avoid It

It was Boston Ballet's first full run-through of its upcoming show, Kylián/Wings of Wax. As he prepared with a plié for a big saut de basque, principal dancer Paulo Arrais, 32, heard a Velcro-like sound and suddenly fell to the floor. He went into a state of shock, hyperventilating and feeling intense pressure on his knee. It turned out to be a full patellar tendon rupture, requiring surgery and an entire year off before he could return to the company.

Though his physical condition continues to improve, Arrais' mental recovery has also been challenging. "Treating your mind is just as important as treating your body," he says.

Feeling safe when returning to the studio can be tricky for any dancer. Some researchers believe a fear of reinjury can actually make athletes more prone to hurting themselves again. We talked to several medical professionals to understand why that might happen and what dancers can do to overcome that anxiety.

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