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The Newest Way to Donate to NYCB? Go Shoe Shopping with Sarah Jessica Parker

From left: Sarah Jessica Parker, Photo via Airbnb. Taylor Stanley in Square Dance. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Who wants to go shoe shopping with Carrie Bradshaw Sarah Jessica Parker before a night at New York City Ballet?

That's exactly what four people will be doing on October 6 as part of a brand-new Airbnb experience. The spots, which went on sale this morning, quickly sold out. Presumably, they were swiped by mega-fans of ballet (or "Sex and the City"), but that doesn't really matter—all proceeds from the $400-a-pop experience will go directly to NYCB, where SJP is on the company's board of directors.


"Sole of the City with SJP" will be a two-hour event led by Parker herself. It starts with shopping at Bloomingdale's department store, where participants will receive a stylish pair of shoes from the SJP Collection. Then they'll grab fro-yo at Forty Carrots before heading to Lincoln Center for NYCB's all-Balanchine program of Square Dance, La Valse, and Cortège Hongrois.

New York City Ballet isn't the first company to offer Airbnb experiences that benefit the hosting dance organization. Earlier in the year, you could visit San Francisco Ballet for a class, performance and backstage meet-and-greet with the dancers, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet Dance Center has welcomed fans to its facilities to observe dancers in action and take a private Pilates class.

While these exclusive events can be pricey, we're in favor of opportunities that expose newcomers to dance and benefit the community we love at the same time.

What dance experiences do you want to see on Airbnb? How about a workshop rehearsal for whatever new show Andy Blankenbuehler's got up his sleeve? A walk-on role in Nutcracker? Or training to join the cast of an immersive show, like Then She Fell, for one evening? The possibilities are endless.

The Conversation
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.

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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?

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