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.
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.
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?