A Summer of Style

As a young student, Shea McAdoo’s classes at the Master Ballet Academy in Scottsdale, Arizona, were “strict, straightforward, very classical and purely Vaganova.” She appreciated the Russian rigor and precision, but when she was accepted to the School of American Ballet’s summer course at 13, she leapt at the chance to learn something new. TheMore »

Derek Dunn’s Secrets for Next-Level Pirouettes

If you only know one thing about Derek Dunn, it’s probably his phenomenal turning skills. The recently promoted Houston Ballet soloist—and cover star of our October/November 2016 issue—can be found all over social media demonstrating his flawless pirouettes. Needless to say, we’re amazed. That’s why we couldn’t resist asking him how he does it when he was inMore »

Our Best Tips: All Things Feet

The elusive banana arch, that make-or-break detail looming large in the minds of ballet students, isn’t as important as you might think. That is, the hyper-curved foot might be a beautiful blessing for some, but pursuing strong and articulate feet is far more important than obsessing over mere aesthetic. After all, no one is hiredMore »

Our Best Tips: Dealing with Hyperextended Knees

Hyperextended knees are a blessing and a curse. Sure, they can help achieve a beautiful classical line, but they signify naturally loose joints, putting hypermobile dancers at greater risk of injury. And, especially when it comes to knees, hyperextended dancers can develop a tendency to “sit” into their mobility instead of learning to turn outMore »

Our Best Tips: Pirouettes

A beautiful pirouette is one of ballet’s most elusive elements. Sometimes you float through multiple rotations and sometimes you can hardly balance on one leg. Here are some of our best tips for nailing your turns, every time. Go back to basics. Make sure you’ve mastered the fundamentals of correct alignment before you go forMore »

Ask Amy: Balanchine-Style Pirouettes

Do you have tips for prepping a pirouette with a straight back leg? I’m dancing a Balanchine ballet and I’m having trouble changing my technique. —Liza I was in a similar situation when I joined the Balanchine-based Suzanne Farrell Ballet mid-career. I had trained preparing for pirouettes with both legs in plié, so it wasMore »

New Technique Shoes for Dark-Skinned Dancers

What color is a flesh-toned technique shoe? Usually it’s a light tan, which doesn’t leave much wiggle room for dancers with darker skin. While it’s common for dancers to pancake their shoes to match their skin tone, the fact that “flesh”-colored shoes only come in a few shades—all of which are light—sends a strong messageMore »

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It’s a truth often repeated about ballet that it is an art with a strong oral tradition, handed down from generation to generation. Aspiring dancers learn the same steps that their teachers learned before them and perfect the same skills: turnout, pointework, épaulement, balance and, above all nowadays, flexibility. Sometimes, in the quest to achieveMore »

The Jazzy Virtuoso

Carefree and confident, New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck lights up the stage in “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” one of the principal solos in Balanchine’s Who Cares? “It’s one of my favorites,” she says. “Every time I perform it, I feel like I’m doing it for the first time.” Choreographed for Patricia McBride in 1970, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”More »

How It’s Done: Casualty of Love

(Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)

Nikiya’s epic “death” solo at the end of La Bayadère’s second act is more than a test of stamina: It’s integral to the ballet’s plot. In it, Nikiya laments her doomed relationship with Prince Solor, rejoices upon receiving a basket of flowers she believes to be from him and collapses after being bitten by aMore »