Stunning Photos That Show What Dancers' Bodies Truly Look Like

Marianela Nuñez, principal with The Royal Ballet

Here’s some dance eye candy for you—though probably not in the way you’re imagining. (Sadly, this is not another Center-Stage-in-memoriam post.) Photographer Rick Guest captured starkly realistic photos of dancers for an upcoming exhibition in London and, eventually, a book. He calls the series—which he hopes will give others a glimpse of what kind of sacrifice (physical and emotional) dance requires—What Lies Beneath.

 

Nehemiah Kish (principal with The Royal Ballet) and Yuhui Choe (first soloist with The Royal Ballet)

 

Sarah Lamb, principal with The Royal Ballet

 

Alison McWhinney, soloist with English National Ballet

There are plenty of familiar faces here: Guest worked with The Royal Ballet, the English National Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and several other companies. He calls the photos “beautiful and brutal,” and it’s easy to see why—there aren’t any frilly tutus or even much makeup on these dancers.

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All photos by Rick Guest / rg-books.com

Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

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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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

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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Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy TUPAC

When legendary Black ballet dancer Kabby Mitchell III died unexpectedly in 2017, two months before opening his Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, his friend and business partner Klair Ethridge wasn't sure she had what it took to carry his legacy. Ethridge had been working with Mitchell to co-found TUPAC and planned to serve as its executive director, but she had never envisioned being the face of the school.

Now, Ethridge is heading into her fourth year of leading TUPAC, which she has grown from a fledgling program in an unheated building to a serious ballet school in its own sprung-floor studios, reaching hundreds of students across the Tacoma, Washington, area. The nonprofit has become a case study for what it looks like to carry out the vision of a founder who never had the chance to see his school open—and to take an unapologetically mission-driven approach.

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