Ellen Gaintner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she received her ballet training at Marin Ballet under Mikko Nissinen and Cynthia Lucas. She majored in dance at Bryn Mawr College, after which she joined Nashville Ballet 2. While at Nashville Ballet, she transitioned to the administrative side of things, serving as Executive Assistant to Artistic Director/CEO Paul Vasterling for 5 years. She spent a year with Ballet San Angelo before returning to the Bay Area, where she now works as Special Projects Manager at Smuin Contemporary Ballet. Her blog is at goingtotheballet.com.
Tessa Virtue, Guillaume Côté, Scott Moir and Heather Ogden. Photo courtesy Côté
Guillaume Côté is best known as a celebrated principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, his artistic home since 1998. But he's also an adventurous choreographer. He has been choreographic associate at NBoC since 2013, is the artistic director of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur and has worked with everyone from actors to models to opera singers. "I never shy away from an opportunity that is different," Côté says. "The worst thing I can do is do the same thing twice."
I've had a sticky note on my desk since 2013 with a horoscope that reads, "What would you do if you made happiness your number one priority?"
Like many things in life, at least for me, there is no single, simple answer to that question, which is perhaps why it's still sitting there.
The past year, I was very sick. You wouldn't have necessarily known it to look at me, but I was. The kind of sick that prompts soul-searching, and meaning-of-life searching. The kind of sick that has you thinking, "There has to be a takeaway from this awful experience; I can't have gone through this for nothing."