The Extra Step

When New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder heard she’d be dancing Giselle, she was excited—and nervous. Bouder had already danced Aurora and Odette/Odile at NYCB, but the Romantic-era Giselle was a lifelong dream. “It had been one of my absolute favorites since I was a child,” she says. Opportunity knocked in 2008 when legendaryMore »

Work In Progress: Frances Chung Dolls Up

It took eight years for Frances Chung to rise from corps to principal at San Francisco Ballet. The Canadian dancer’s ascent was accompanied by admiration for her sunny disposition and utterly committed performing style. Still, until last month, in  traditional story ballets, Chung, 27, had always been the bridesmaid (or ghostly version thereof), rather thanMore »

Married To Normal Folk

Romances between dancers feel natural, almost inevitable. You’re cloistered with your fellow company members all day in the studio, rehearsing swoon-y ballets, so why not marry one of them? Relationships with “civilians,” however, seem more complicated: Figuring out scheduling is stressful, eating habits can differ and one partner probably can’t tell a tendu from aMore »

Corps Stars

Last spring, as American Ballet Theatre began rehearsals for its Metropolitan Opera House run of La Bayadère, someone important was missing.   All the Nikiyas and Gamzattis were in the studio; no Solor or Bronze Idol was unaccounted for. But Marian Butler, a member of the corps de ballet since 1995, was out with anMore »

Company Life: Dancing with the Boys

Whenever San Francisco Ballet soloist Elana Altman sees her name on the cast list for Giselle’s Myrta, she knows it’s time to start preparing for the role’s high-flying grand allégro and stamina-testing jeté sequence. Does that mean she does extra petit allégro in pointe class? No. Altman, like many women ballet dancers who want toMore »

Company Life: A Spotlight for Everyone?

For many professional ballet dancers, following the dream means a series of clear upward steps, from corps to soloist to principal. Until last year, you might have said that Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Alissa Dale was right on track.   A trainee with NBT in 2004, Dale got into the corps the next year and advancedMore »