There’s Nothing Quite Like Being in a Dance Studio…

You know what I mean—the odor of exertion, the sound of Chopin on the piano, the quiet determination of dancers at the barre. It was a special treat when Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov opened their studios to us during their annual summer intensive. (See “A Return to Classicism.”)

We decided to do a story on the school after Sarah Jessica Parker interviewed Kirkland and Chernov for the Leonard Lopate radio show in the spring ( It was the first time I’d heard them explain their mission of preserving classicism—and I especially loved it when Kirkland advocated for teacher training. “In America, you assume if you’re a professional dancer, you can teach,” she said. “That’s not true. I realized I would have to learn to teach.”

Of course, I have to admit to more than a little hero worship here. What an honor it is to spotlight at this different stage of her career, the great (and controversial) ballerina whose legacy Dance Magazine described this way:

“Kirkland was famous for her ability to bring audiences to their knees. Her dancing combined a tender, almost childlike innocence with strength, speed, musicality and soul. Her portrayals in ballets like Don Quixote, Giselle, The Leaves are Fading, and Theme and Variations were exquisite. And thanks to video, young dancers are still watching her perform. Baryshnikov’s widely aired production of The Nutcracker, in which she melts into the role of Clara, is perhaps the most well-known.”

After the photo shoot, the resourceful Chernov gave us a tour of the company costume shop. Quite apropos to admire the collection of ornate (and heavy!) opera costumes he has amassed, given that this is our annual costume preview issue. Style editor Alyssa Marks curates a group of new and best-selling styles for your consideration, while studio business editor Rachel Rizzuto gathers advice about managing the costume ordering process.

And if you’re looking for a theme for your year-end recital, we invite you to borrow from three studio owners who share their past successes in “Recital Roulette.”

Photo by Matthew Murphy


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