Ballet's Candid Camera—Coming to Your Computer Screen!

SF Ballet's Taras Domitro in rehearsal

Sure, a picture’s worth a thousand words, but there’s only so much a photo can show you. A photo of a ballet performance, for example, doesn’t hint at the sweat, cramping calves, last-minute onstage adjustments or even the sheer energy it takes to grand jeté off into the wings at a number’s end. But on Wednesday, October 1, anyone with an internet connection will be able to watch five of the world’s greatest ballet companies rehearse—balletomanes everywhere will get the inside access of their dreams!

It’s all part of the first-ever World Ballet Day: The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet will participate in the day-long livestreaming of company class and rehearsal, in successive four-hour segments. Viewers get to be part of the action, too. There will be a live forum for audience members to submit questions, and San Francisco Ballet will open its Twitter up for questions.

Got something else going on October 1? Don’t fret, sweet balletomanes. The full day’s streaming will be up on YouTube afterward.


Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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