“Now the work begins,” warns Peter Martins, as newly hired corps members celebrate their contracts. The third installment of New York City Ballet’s “city.ballet.” webseries introduces viewers to life in the corps of one of the nation’s top companies. The corps is, put simply by narrator and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker, “the large group dancing in unison around the featured roles” in a ballet. Other company members elaborate: The corps is the backdrop, the base, the architecture of the ballet. One new face in the corps, Silas Farley, sums up the experience of being asked to join the company: “It’s equal measures elation and terror.” The stakes are high, he adds, but by the time they make it that far, dancers feel ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

The episode’s most important takeaways:

1. Apprentices get hired exactly how you thought they did, based on Center Stage. They’re still in their dance clothes when they get called into a room with the director, and then they freak out and call their parents! Pretty cute, really.

2. Even great dancers—great enough to be hired by NYCB—may not make it. It’s depressing, in a way, but a valuable reality check. “It’s only my third year, and I already feel my body winding down,” says corps member Harrison Ball. We see him execute breathtaking jumps in slow motion, with perfectly pointed feet. When he says, “I just hope there’s a future in ballet for me,” I think, Of course there is! Look at you! But the industry’s competition is so intense that success is never a sure thing.

3. There’s a ton of corps bonding—some of NYCB’s highly ranked dancers reflect fondly on their time in the corps not only as a valuable training experience, but as a period when they built relationships with their fellow dancers. “It’s great to get out there and do something special,” says principal Megan Fairchild, “but it’s even better to share it with someone.”

4. It takes time to make it to the top. We learn that up-and-coming soloist Georgina Pazcoguin spent 10 years in the corps. She’d even begun to question her career path when she was finally promoted! It’s easy from the outside to see that Pazcoguin (featured last summer in Dance Magazine) was always bound for the spotlight, but she still had to put in the hours—and the hard work—to climb the ranks.

Visit dancemagazine.com/cityballetAOL for more "city.ballet."

In Motion's senior company dancers and Candice after a showcase performance in Bermuda, (2016). Photo courtesy of Culmer-Smith

When I was 23, an e-mail circulated among my former college dance classmates at Towson University, regarding a teaching position as the jazz director at the In Motion School of Dance studio in Bermuda. I applied, and after a few e-mails, I got offered the job.

Four weeks later, I packed up my tiny little car in Denver, where I was a dancer for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and drove across the country to my hometown in Maryland, before flying out for my new life in Bermuda.

Looking back now, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn't have time to think through how I should prepare and what I needed to do to officially apply for a work permit. I was mostly concerned with how I was going to pack all my clothes and belongings into two suitcases. If I could go back, I wish I would've had a more specific guide to what teaching in another country entailed.

In an effort to share my experience, here's what I wish I would've known before I left and what I learned over my 10 years living and working as a dance teacher abroad.

Keep reading... Show less
At age 12, doctors advised Paige Fraser to stop dancing and have surgery. Instead, she chose physical therapy and team of chiropractors and massage specialists to help work through her condition. She has just begun her 5th season with Visceral Dance, based in Chicago.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine, when viewed from the back, has one or more curves. The vertebrae are abnormally rotated, which creates twisting and more prominent visibility of the rib cage on one side, and it is most commonly seen in adolescents ages 10 and older. Most cases cannot be reversed, but they can be controlled, for example dancer Paige Fraser who despite suffering from severe scoliosis, has thrived as a dancer. Dance teachers can play an essential role in spotting the condition at an early stage.

“Teachers can help to notice that scoliosis is there in the first place," says Sophia Fatouros, a New York City–based dance teacher and and former professional ballet dancer who has struggled with scoliosis since she was 12. “Parents do not always see their children in tight clothes, like leotards."

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Sebastian Grubb (right) runs Sebastian's Functional Fitness in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Grubb

From improved aerobic capacity to better reactivity, cross-training can to do wonders for dancers' health and performance. But with the abundance of exercise programs available, how do you get your dancers on the right routine?

Sebastian Grubb, a San Francisco–based fitness trainer and professional dancer, shares three questions to ask as you consider different cross-training options.

Keep reading... Show less
Videos

When choreographer Cristian Faxola learned he had two days to create, develop and shoot a music video as an audition to choreograph for The Squared Division production house, he and his team embraced the challenge.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

I have heard you say that tight hamstrings prevent full extension of the knees and that you prefer hamstring stretches in a standing position, rather than on the floor. Can you explain why?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of Arizona State University

Many parents discourage their teenagers from majoring in dance because of fear that their child will become a struggling artist in an unforgiving city, only to end their career in injury. But a dance degree can lead to other corners of the profession, such as marketing, physical therapy and arts administration. "Parents always say their children need something to fall back on," says Daniel Lewis, former dean of the dance division at New World School of the Arts. "They only see the stage time, applause and flowers. But there's choreographing, teaching, PR—the careers are endless."

Others are more concerned with disappointment. "Your daughter doesn't have to be a major ballerina with ABT to be successful," says Lewis. "If she wants to be a dancer, she'll find the work. There's a certain amount of training you have to achieve before you even get accepted into a good college, so if you have the talent, and the drive, you can make it."

As mentors, teachers can be monumentally influential on students' college decision processes. Read on to hear from three dance majors who feel grateful they chose this path—and share their words with your students!

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
To show her support for local studios, Kelly Berick requires all her students to be enrolled in an after-school program. Photo by Stephanie Csejtey, courtesy of Akron School of the Arts

When Kelly Berick began teaching high school students at Ohio's Firestone Community Learning Center within Akron Public Schools 21 years ago, she was newly engaged, newly licensed to teach K–12 dance and thrilled to land what she considered the perfect job. Her enthusiasm quickly soured, however, when after two weeks of teaching she called a local studio to introduce herself. "The owner told me her students didn't like me, didn't like what I was doing and were going to quit my program," she says. Her class of seven became a class of three.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored