Just for fun

These Ballet Spoofs of the World Cup Are Pure GOOOOOAAAAAALLLS!

Uliana Lopatkina seconds before going in for the headbutt. Screenshot via @cloudandvictory Instagram.

Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or Team Bunhead all the way, Cloud & Victory (aka the dancewear company with the world's cheekiest social media) has found a way for everyone to enjoy this summer's World Cup.


Exhibit A: Is this a special halftime show?

Nope. It's just the Mariinsky's dashing Xander Parish partnering Ada Gonzalez, soloist with the Bucharest National Opera. It's very clear what's going on here: The pair decided to rehearse while the English and Panamanian teams took a contact improvisation class. (Couldn't someone manage these studio schedules better?) But you have to appreciate the footballers' transfer of weight. They're really going for it!


A Double Pas de Deux

In this next collaboration, Nicholas Otamendi of Argentina is drawing major inspiration from longtime Mariinsky principal Uliana Lopatkina. Or is it the other way around? We're giving this 9/10 points for creativity, but Otamendi could afford to work on his swan arms.

And finally, GOOOOAAAALLL!

The Royal Ballet's Marianela Nuñez is pure perfection. She can do classical. She can do contemporary. She can do soccer. Wait, what?! At least in Cloud & Victory's wildest dreams she can. The fleet-footed ballerina brings extra flair to her Kitri in London, and she somehow ends up scoring a goal in Russia. Now that's a truly powerful développé.

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

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According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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