Recommended: Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet and Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

by Jenifer Ringer 

Viking Press; $27.95; 275 pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Misty Copeland with Charisse Jones

Simon and Schuster, $24.99; 278 pages

 

The memoirs Dancing Through It and Life in Motion are the stories of two

ballerinas, each from a different New York company and each at a different stage in her professional life. Jenifer Ringer, the author of the former, is a recently retired New York City Ballet principal, set to start her second career as the head of the Colburn Dance Academy in Los Angeles. Misty Copeland—nearly a decade younger—is a soloist with American Ballet Theatre. Their memoirs chronicle two very disparate adolescences and career paths, but both are fascinating: Ringer studied at the prestigious Washington School of Ballet before transferring to NYCB’s School of American Ballet; Copeland, meanwhile, grew up in a tenuous financial situation, once living in a hotel with her mother and four siblings. She came to ballet late, as a 13-year-old, via a Boys and Girls Club community class. Each of these extraordinarily talented women talks about her struggles: Ringer with her fluctuating weight, and Copeland as a black dancer in the predominantly white world of classical ballet. Their stories—interspersed with juicy details of company life, from how to apply stage makeup to tense meetings with artistic directors—serve as the perfect inspiration for any teenager struggling to balance life and dance.

Teachers Trending
Marcus Ingram, courtesy Ingram

"Water breaks are not Instagram breaks."

That's a cardinal rule at Central Virginia Dance Academy, and it applies even to the studio's much beloved social media stars.

For more than a decade, CVDA has been the home studio of Kennedy George and Ava Holloway, the 14-year-old dancers who became Instagram sensations after posing on the pedestal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument. Clad in black leotards and tutus, they raise their fists aloft to depict a global push for racial justice.

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Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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