Blogs

First "Bunheads" and now "Breaking Pointe"—it seems like the ballet-on-television trend might be on its way out.

The CW has announced that it has not ordered a third season of "Breaking Pointe," the docudrama following Ballet West. The news isn't particularly surprising, as "Breaking Pointe" had very low ratings throughout the show's first season, and continued to fall during its second. Nevertheless, we'll miss our weekly dose of soapy ballet.

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.

We all know how things get toward the end of long runs of The Nutcracker. Come late December, as the performance tally gets higher and higher, many of us begin to feel a little crazy. (Some companies even channel that cabin fever into spoof performances, like Ballet West's Nutty Nutcracker.)

In this video, posted yesterday, a Moscow Ballet "Arabian" background dancer (the one on the left whose costume vaguely approximates the Cheetos mascot) decided to have a little extra fun during a performance. The result is, we're sorry to say, very funny.

This weekend, British paper The Guardian ran an excellent profile of lovely Royal Ballet principal Sarah Lamb. While the piece includes discussion of several standard-issue (albeit perennially fascinating) topics—including her preparation for the upcoming Giselle and her work with mentor Tatiana Legat—there are also a few surprises.

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?

Need a little something to warm your heart on this frigid (thanks, polar vortex) morning?

After a stressful day spent arranging her dance school's first performance, ballet teacher Phillipa Burt was surprised by an onstage proposal from her boyfriend, Joe King. The curtains parted at the conclusion of the show to reveal her tutu-clad students holding up letters that spelled, "Marry Me."

All together now: Awwwww.

And good on Mr. King for realizing that for us ballet people, there are few places more special than the stage.

The New York City Ballet Art Series kicked off last year with an installation by Brooklyn-based artists FAILE. The giant tower they constructed for the Koch Theater's promenade was good kitschy fun, peppered with cartoonish images of ballet dancers (among many, many other things).

Few partnerships were more captivating—or more unlikely—than that of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. Though the elegant British ballerina was nearly two decades older than the Russian firebrand, together they made unforgettable magic onstage. Here they are in the balcony scene from Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

 

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.