Episode 7 of “city.ballet.”: Sacrifice

I think I speak for most former dancers when I say it’s easy to feel jealous of professional ballerinas. The lives they lead! What if that was me? What if I’d auditioned for companies instead of going to college? Would I be Ashley Bouder now? Setting aside the fact that the odds of joining New York City Ballet are slim no matter how hard you train, it’s also easy to forget what abnormal and often difficult childhoods (and adulthoods) professional dancers endure. Episode 7 of "city.ballet." focuses on the sacrifices that come with the career.

One of my close friends told me she never made it to any high school dances because she always had rehearsal Friday nights. The corps members interviewed for this episode sound like they had similar teenage years: no football games, no other extracurriculars, nothing but “Eat, sleep, dance, repeat,” Giovanni Villalobos says. Principal Sara Mearns seems even a bit disgusted with her adolescent self. “All I would do was rehearse and perform and just think about dance, dance, dance, rehearsal, rehearsal, pointe shoes, hair, makeup,” she says. “I can’t even believe I did that to myself.”

And it doesn’t get much easier as an adult. While many dancers manage to find time to woo and wed (usually other dancers), Jenifer Ringer feels like an outlier in her decision to have children during her career. Many dancers wait until they’re done performing or forego having kids altogether, she says. Since the episode was filmed, Ringer has actually announced her retirement. I’ll be interested to hear more about her decision and her plans for life after the stage.

As a lover—nay, worshipper—of the art, I often forget how out-there ballet’s requirements are compared to almost any other career, except maybe playing a professional sport. I guess it comes down to how much you love it. That notion gets tossed around a lot, but this episode made me consider what it really means: If you don’t love ballet enough to give up almost all nondance-related activities and relationships, it’s not the career for you. So, it isn’t just that we mortals don’t have the talent or body type. Most of us also want lives that are just a bit more traditional, with glorious weekends off and optional gym workouts. And maybe the occasional dance class, when we’re feeling bold.

For more "city.ballet.", visit dancemagazine.com/cityballetAOL.

Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.