Kristin Schwab's blog

Here at Pointe, we just can't get enough of San Francisco Ballet's Maria Kochetkova. Yes, she's an incredible powerhouse dancer, but she's got personality, too. Last night, she posted a delightfully silly Instagram video of her messing around in the studio. She is impressively flexible: This is over-splitting at its finest.

Sleeping Beauty includes some of ballet's most cherished variations. (Hands up if you learned "Bluebird" as your first variation ever!) This month in 1890, Petipa's ballet premiered at the Imperial Theatre, and it became a favorite first in Russia and eventually around the world.

Let's celebrate with this video of the incomparable Sylvie Guillem dancing Aurora's wedding pas de deux variation with the Paris Opéra Ballet.

 

Ballet dancers layer on a cringe-worthy amount of makeup for performance—pancake, lipstick, eyelash glue—but most probably don't think twice about the chemicals in the products they're using. Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database allows you to search most major cosmetic and bath products, and alerts you when they include ingredients that have been known to cause cancer, skin irritation, allergies and more. Overwhelmed?

Pointe shoes are just as fascinating to us ballet veterans as they are to non-dance folks—especially when you're looking at how the star dancers modify their own. Recently, the New York Times followed New York City Ballet dancers backstage during Nutcracker performances to see how they customize the 10–12 pairs they each go through a week. While the article explains a lot of what we already know about shoe prep, it's cool to compare your own methods to NYCB's stars. Tiler Peck uses the slam-the-box-against-the-wall method. Janie Taylor closes them in doors.

Huddling around the TV to watch the glitzy Times Square ball drop is a classic New Years' Eve moment. Let's kick off the celebration with a video of one of the most sparkly ballets out there—"Diamonds" from George Balanchine's Jewels. "To me, [the "Diamonds" finale] feels like fireworks," says Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes. "Like a celebration." I'll cheers to that!

 

From everyone at Pointe, best wishes as you move into 2014.

We all make those "to better health" resolutions at the turn of every year. But if taking vitamins is on your list, you might want to think twice. New studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine show that if you're eating a balanced diet, taking a daily multivitamin does not help prevent chronic health problems. There are some exceptions, of course, like people who have dietary restrictions or women who are pregnant.
On this day in 1869, the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre premiered Petipa's Don Quixote. There's no better way to celebrate the ballet's 144th birthday than with this video of Cynthia Harvey and Mikhail Baryshnikov performing it with American Ballet Theatre in 1983. Enjoy!

 

Move over, Nutcracker. In December of 1957, New York City Ballet premiered George Balanchine's iconic black and white ballet, Agon, with Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell dancing the leads. Below is a clip of the originals performing the work.

 

Have you ever wondered what happened to all those talented dancers from previous seasons of the Dance212 web series?

For dancers, a tutu signifies the culmination of months of hard work. For Bob and Linda Carey, it marked the beginning of a long journey. When Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, Bob wanted to do anything to help his wife make light of her difficult chemo treatments. What would be funnier, he thought, than photographing his 200-pound self in a whimsical pink tutuand not much else? The result is a collection of photos that are silly, ironic, joyous and intimate.