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The First Ones to Watch

In 2001, Dance Magazine published its first edition of "25 to Watch," with this introduction: "From our far-flung correspondents, here they are: the dancers, choreographers, troupes and trends we'll be watching in 2001 and for years to come." 

 

Thirteen years may not seem exceptionally long ago—especially given that Dance Magazine has been featuring up-and-coming dancers since 1927. But what's so astounding is that the world hasn't stopped watching many of our original 25. And we're sure they'll be watching the breakout stars of 2014 for years to come, too.

 

Here are a few of the standout names from that 2001 list: 

 

"Daniel Ulbricht, Big Fish in a Great School"

 

"Ballet has a budding superstar in Daniel Ulbricht, a 17-year-old student at the School of American Ballet...he is a remarkably compact package of burgeoning pyrotechnics and innate musicality." —Harris Green

 

(Photo by Costas.)

 

"Wayne McGregor, Virtual Virtuoso

"The choreography of Wayne McGregor is reaching a gratifying maturity...Equally adept with toe shoes and bare feet, [McGregor] is offering nothing less than the next step in the evolution of new dance at one of the world's premier dance institutions." —Donald Hutera

 

 

"Ashley Bouder: An Apprentice's Sorcery"

"Ashley Bouder is all of 17, an apprentice at the New York City Ballet, winner of the School of American Ballet's prestigious Mae L. Wien Award—and fabulously talented...She's a born performer, lighting up the stage from the moment she steps out...Her dream: to become a New York City Ballet principal." —Lynn Garafola

 

(Bouder in George Balanchine's Stars and Stripes. Photo by Paul Kolnik.) 

 

"Marcelo Gomes, ABT's Man from Rio"

"At age 20, American Ballet Theatre soloist Marcelo Gomes has been dancing for thirteen years. Born in Brazil, he knew at age 7 he'd be a dancer...Matinee-idol handsome, Gomes is exuberant onstage, whether in the classics or ABT's growing modern repertoire. In person, he's a charmer—friendly, confident and generous with his colleagues." —Gus Solomons jr

 

(Photo by Mira, Courtesy Rosalie O'Connor.)

 

"Caroline Rocher, Dance Theatre of Harlem's Rising Star"

"Sleek and sexy in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and soft and dreamy as the Dark Angel in Serenade, Caroline Rocher has made her mark at Dance Theatre of Harlem. At 23, she has just been promoted to principal dancer." —Wendy Perron

 

 

Does the second tapper from the right look familiar? He might if you're a fan of "So You Think You Can Dance": It's Adé Chiké Torbert, then 13 and a member of The Young Hoofers, which in 2001's "25 to Watch" was profiled by Jane Goldberg as "The Future on Tap."

 

(The Young Hoofers from left: Sekou Torbert, Sheldon Gordon, Lance Liles, Jamal Brown, Calvin Booker, Adé Chiké Torbert, Shakir Torbert. Photo by Traci Mann.)

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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Health & Body
Getty Images

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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