Company Life: Partner Trouble

When former New York City Ballet principal Jonathan Stafford was a young corps member, he remembers taking a big gulp when he was first cast to partner a principal. “I was not strong enough, and she decided after dress rehearsal that I wasn’t ready,” he says. “So the artistic staff brought back her previous partner.”More »

Company Life: Auditions on Your Home Turf

Auditions are an unnerving fact of life for dancers—and can be especially unsettling when they’re done in the comfort of your own company. When visiting choreographers and répétiteurs come to town, they prefer to have a day or two to work with the company before making their casting decisions. The good news is that whenMore »

Company Life: The Elements of Style

If you’re a member of a repertory company, tight rehearsal timelines are often a fact of life. You might have only a few weeks to memorize and master a piece before you take the stage. In that time, you’ll need to absorb not only the steps but also the choreographer’s particular style—the qualities and quirksMore »

Company Life: First-Year Fumbles

During my years as a principal with San Francisco Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, it made me cringe if new corps members pulled out their phones to text or tweet. It felt unprofessional in the middle of class, but it was especially disrespectful during rehearsal, even if they weren’t involved in the scene being danced. SomethingMore »

Ballet’s Middle Child

SFB

Pennsylvania Ballet’s Evelyn Kocak, who spent seven years in the corps de ballets of several companies, was ecstatic when she was finally promoted to soloist. But once in the role, she found it difficult to understand how she fit into the company’s dynamic. She struggled between missing the camaraderie of the corps de ballet andMore »

Company Life: Helping Hands—and Feet

One evening in November, after a long day of Nutcracker rehearsals, I turned on the news to images of Typhoon Haiyan, which had just struck the Philippines. I found myself extremely upset by the devastation—the sight of the wreckage was heartbreaking. I wondered how many of my Filipino friends were missing family members and askedMore »

Company Life: The Immersive Audition

Open calls or taking company class used to be the audition standard. But today, getting a job can be a more involved process. Instead of a single morning at a company, you might be invited to spend days there, working on repertoire and partnering. This approach has become especially popular among smaller troupes where aMore »

Company Life: Learning Fearlessness

When you think about it, it’s not surprising that ballerinas are terrified sometimes. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re launching yourself through space, being lifted and caught, and pirouetting on pointe—all in front of a few thousand people. But when you see a dancer who appears supremely confident, you shouldn’t assume thatMore »

Company Life: Going to the Dark Side

Where would ballet be without villains? Aurora would never sleep, and Odette would never become a swan. Getting cast as one of ballet’s memorable miscreants can help dancers develop new facets of their artistry and explore their dramatic side. Three professionals talk about how they approach their baddest roles.Creating a Commanding CarabosseBlessed with long legs,More »