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Earlier this month we learned that former comp star and current UC Berkeley student Miko Fogarty will be giving a TEDx talk in March about her path from ballet to college. This news got us thinking about some of our favorite ballet TED talks from years past. Check out our top eight now!

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Dance Theatre of Harlem's Michaela DePrince is all too familiar with the paradox of making an artform as difficult as ballet look effortless. It wasn't until she received a scholarship to American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and began studying under Franco De Vita that DePrince finally began to grasp exactly what "less is more" means.

"Franco likes to joke that dancers should be lazy. You're working less if you just balance and relax, instead of gripping everything. I had thought that ballet should be hard--you should be shaking, you should show the audience that it's hard! Once, for a performance, after already taking class, I made myself do another complete warm-up and listen to the music over and over and over again. And the performance didn't go well. Now I've learned to just lie down and relax before I perform. I've never had so much fun, and my dancing is the best it's ever been. I feel like I finally understand myself and my body now, and I realize that less is more."

DePrince will perform with Dance Theatre of Harlem on May 12 in Baltimore and May 18 in Philadelphia.

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem's Michaela DePrince as the Black SwanOn Wednesday, Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to the New York City stage after a nine-year hiatus. Co-founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell (New York City Ballet’s first African-American dancer) and his former teacher Karel Shook, DTH broke barriers by offering black dancers careers in classical ballet. In 2004, the professional company was forced to disband for financial reasons, but DTH continued its education and outreach through the school’s DTH Ensemble, which presents lecture-demonstrations at K–12 schools and universities.

Now, after drawing dancers from the Ensemble and a nationwide audition tour, the company is back. Among the ranks of the new DTH is Michaela DePrince, a former JKO School student who was featured in the documentary First Position addressing the struggles of being a black dancer in pursuit of a ballet career. DePrince will perform the role of the Black Swan in the Swan Lake Act III pas de deux on opening night of DTH’s season at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem

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