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 /

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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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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