Liza Voll

What Makes A Great Corps Member? 4 Rules To Live By​

Entering the corps de ballet can be a shock for recent graduates: What's needed by your company is suddenly much different from what helped you succeed as a student. Dance Magazine recently spent a day with some corps members from Boston Ballet, so we asked a few of the dancers for their top tips for success.


Rule #1: Use Your Fellow Corps Members

Liza Voll

Be open to receiving corrections from your peers on steps and spacing. Use each other's eyes as assets.

Rule #2: Think Geometrically On Stage

Liza Voll

Imagine the floor as graph paper, and take note of your distances frontwards, backwards, diagonally and across the stage at all times. Don't just focus on your own choreography—learn all patterns of the stage movement as a whole. This will help you swing from one role to the next if the need arises.

Rule #3: Value Teamwork Above All Else

Liza Voll

Put the production before your personal performance. For instance, if you are seventh in line and the leader lifts the wrong arm onstage, follow their lead, right or wrong. There are no points for being the only one who's "right" if you ruin the overall stage picture.

Rule #4: Don't Lose Focus When You're Not in the Spotlight

Liza Voll

Corps work requires not only selflessness, but strong personal discipline. "Will you still dance your best although you may be able to get away with less? Will you still work hard without individual praise?" asks Boston Ballet dancer Brett Fukuda. Push for the good of the company and the strength of the unit. As former Boston Ballet corps member Brittany Summer says, corps dancers have to be "big-hearted, strong-willed, formidable creatures."


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Studio shots by Alinne Volpato

Jovani Furlan's Open-Hearted Dancing—And Personality—Lights Up New York City Ballet

Something magical happens when Jovani Furlan smiles at another dancer onstage. Whether it's a warm acknowledgment between sections of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering or an infectious grin delivered in the midst of a puzzle box of a sequence in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, whoever is on the receiving end brightens.

"I could stare at him forever," says New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild. "He's just that kind of open spirit. He's not judging anything. It's like he's looking at you with his arms wide open and a big smile—even if he's not smiling, that's the energy he's giving you."

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