Backstage at Ballet Across America

The Kennedy Center’s regional ballet festival in June drew Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Memphis, Houston Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Tulsa Ballet. The dancers compared notes in company class, taught each morning by artistic directors like Stanton Welch and Ashley Wheater, and applauded colleagues’ performances from the wings. There was a party on the festival’s second night, and an informal gathering or two at local bars, where dancers shared war stories after performing. “It was fantastic to get to socialize and work with the other dancers,” says Houston principal Connor Walsh. “Sometimes you forget to appreciate how fortunate you are to do what you do.”

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