Three Things about city.ballet. Episode 2
The second installment of the AOL docu-series city.ballet.—which you can watch here on Dance Magazine—introduces us to a few apprentices of New York City Ballet: Silas Farley, Claire Von Enk and Ashley Hod. (You might remember Hod as an SAB student on DanceMedia's webseries "Dance212.") We learn that at the end of NYCB's Saratoga Performing Arts Center season, Silas and Claire are up for company contracts.
Here's one way that city.ballet. differs from "Breaking Pointe": It took us all season to find out if Zach or Ian would get contracts to Ballet West. On city.ballet, we find out in a little over six minutes plus an extra Citi bank advertisement. (To be fair, the dancers' fates aren't announced until the first few seconds of the following episode, creating the greatest cliff-hanger ballet has ever seen.)
Three things on my mind after watching the "Apprentices" episode:
1. Someone get Claire a Pyrex glass liquid measuring cup for her Secret Santa present this year. Those cookies will taste better when that milk is measured properly.
2. Let us see them dance! Here's one way that city.ballet. and "Breaking Pointe" are similar: We never see more than two seconds of any movement. I promise you, producers, we're not going to get bored.
3. I'm fascinated by the multitude of in-studio styles. Leotards, tights, legwarmers, parkas—can't get enough. And how do they all look so gorgeous in class? Maybe it's just because cameras are rolling, but I can remember looking a mess in class: totally sweaty, exhausted and in pain. These dancers could be supermodels.
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.