Just for fun

Five of Our Favorite Ballet Trailers

Bucharest National Ballet's 2013 trailer for "La Sylphide,' via YouTube

Few things are more powerful for promoting ballet performances than captivating trailers—especially in today's visually-focused, digitally-connected world.

We've rounded up some eye-catching ads from seasons past and present that not only make us wish we could have seen the show, but also stand alone as short films.

Bucharest National Opera's La Sylphide

Magnifying the scarf which—spoiler alert—brings about the ballet's tragic conclusion, this 2013 Bucharest National Opera's trailer turns that fateful fabric into a beautiful, deadly web. Its windswept movements form a dance of its own.


Nashville Ballet's Peter Pan

With few dance steps, this cinematic 2013 Nashville Ballet trailer captures the sense of wonder and adventure in J.M. Barrie's tale of a boy who never grows up. It likewise builds a kinesthetic anticipation of flight which audiences could witness during the production through stagecraft and, of course, the soaring, gravity-defying magic of ballet.


Australian Ballet's Giselle

In what you might think of as balletic "fan fiction," the Australian Ballet created a haunting dance for Giselle which includes some of her signature steps and set it to original music for this 2015 ad. While audiences wouldn't see this scene onstage, it's a creative take on a classic character and gives ballet fans something fresh to enjoy.


Boston Ballet's Chaconne

Sometimes simple is better. Using just Balanchine's dreamy choreography and a celestial haze of theatrical mist, this Boston Ballet preview of its current Classic Balanchine program casts a spell with its abstract, visual poetry and leaves you longing to see more.


New York City Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Dancers know that feeling of being lost in a fairytale world onstage—the audience, the wings and every other reminder of reality dissolves around you. This 2016 New York City Ballet teaser gives a sense of that irreplaceable enchantment as it draws viewers into a performer's fantasy realm that comes alive when the house lights go down.

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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