Nisian Hughes, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR

James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston Want You to Help Them Set a Guinness World Record

ABT besties Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside have a dream: To get the most dancers ever to go on pointe at the same time.

The pair, who go by the joint nickname "The Cindies," have teamed up with the morning talk show "Live with Kelly and Ryan" to try to dance into the record books on live TV. They're inviting anyone who can dance on pointe to join them outside the "Live" studio in New York City on Tuesday, September 10.


"This record breaking challenge is a great way to share our art form with a large audience and make everyone feel included. All are welcome to participate and all you have to do is stand en pointe!" they shared in a joint statement that they signed "xoxo #TheCindies."

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside on a photo set in black and white

Karolina Kuras, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR

The number they need to beat? 245.

Dr. Phillips High School Dance Magnet, Orlando Ballet and other Florida dance schools set the current record with that many dancers on pointe at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on May 22, 2011. (250 dancers participated, but five didn't stay on pointe for the full minute it takes to count for the record.)

"Live" is a fitting setting for this latest attempt: Host Kelly Ripa trained in ballet for 13 years, and in past episodes has auditioned for The Nutcracker and gone backstage at New York City Ballet.

If you want to help the Cindies beat 245 (and possibly make an appearance on live TV), you can sign up here. You'll need to bring your own pointe shoes and dance clothes, and be ready starting at 7:30 am. Merde!


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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020