Tag Archives: Ballet West

The Top 10 Gifts From the World of Ballet in 2014

It’s been said that the best gifts can’t be bought– and this was never more true than this past year. 2014 was a huge year of gifts from ballet, with some high-tech breakthroughs and historical firsts. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Gifts from the ballet world.


1. World Ballet Day. This unprecedented, uber-exciting event gave us twenty-four hours straight of livestream ballet from the Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, The Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the Royal Ballet. More about this event here.

2. Pointe shoes went high tech. Technology brought us a pointe shoe that traces a dancer’s movements and turns them into a new form of art.

3. Ballet West moved into their new home. Sparkly, and brand–spanking new, the company celebrated this new era with an opulent gala.

4. Christopher Stowell returned to San Francisco Ballet. Stowell, a former principal dancer with with San Francisco Ballet,  has already received critical acclaim for his work as ballet master.

5. A new edition of Smuin Ballet’s the Christmas Ballet. A Bay Area favorite, the Christmas Ballet truly is the gift that keeps on giving–an ever-evolving Nutcracker alternative–new kinds of fun every year.

6. The Nutcracker turned 122 this year. Perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Read more about it here in this lovely post from Tutus & Tea.

Nutcracker27. 7.Misty Copeland made ballet history. Copeland debuted as American Ballet Theater’s first black Swan Queen, performing Odette/Odile, Swan Lake’s quintessential role.

8. Outstanding dance reads by Misty Copeland, Michael dePrince and Brandy Colbert. Copeland’s Life in Motion and dePrince’s Tking Flight:From War Orphan to Star Ballerina are both memoirs, striking stories of women who go for their dreams despite all odds. Colbert’s Pointe is a dark page-turner set in the ballet world.

9. Australian Ballet wowed the West Coast during their US tour. The company presented Graeme Murphy’s innovative version of Swan Lake–make sure you check out the gorgeous shots in this link.

10. The Bolshoi Ballet’s Nutcracker came to a theater near you. Seeing the Bolshoi was never easier than Solstice Even at cinemas across the globe.

As you open your gifts this holiday season I hope you take a moment to reflect upon the gifts that come without a price tag…the best gifts of all.




Visiting Bethlehem with Miami City Ballet

A few of my favorite dance things

Dance film favorites





Men In Ballet: The Real Story

One of the first questions people ask in a discussion about ballet is: what’s up with the men? After all, male dancers spend fair amount of time in the shadows making their female partners look good. There are those who assume that if a man puts on tights he must be gay. If that were true, why are droves of football players signing up for ballet? Headliner Steve McLendon of the Pittsburgh Steelers says, “ballet is harder than anything else I do”. Regardless of the choices they make for their private lives, ballet men are some of the strongest, most athletic and graceful beings on the planet. To quote a recent tweet (a Jane Austen spoof) from the Ballet Boyz: It’s a truth universally acknowledged that real men wear tights.’


There are certainly enough off-stage ballet romances out there to prove this point. The real-life romance between New York City Ballet principal dancers Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck rivals most popular big-screen love stories. San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancers Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan made ballet history when he proposed onstage after the couple finished performing Romeo and Juliet. Other prominent ballet couples include Boston Ballet principals Carlos Molina and Erica Cornejo and Nelson Madrigal and Lorna Feijoo, Ballet West soloists Easton Smith and Haley Henderson.

As an aside, male ballet dancers are extremely pleasing to look at. Here for your viewing pleasure is some serious eye candy: 37 Dreamy Ballet Boys You’ll Want To Dance With.

However, looks are beside the point. It’s all about artistry (right?). The role of men in ballet is changing dramatically, and today’s male dancers are artists in their own right, enjoying equal footing and equal time center stage with their female counterparts. Who doesn’t love watching those gravity-defying leaps and insanely difficult turns? Male soloists such as David Hallberg, Carlos Acosta and Benjamin Millepied are now household names and companies like Ballet Boyz, the company formed by former Royal Ballet lead dancers, are shaping the re-branding of ballet from a male perspective.

Call them what you will. Artists. Dancers. Athletes. Underneath it all, they are guys. Still not convinced? Rent “The Turning Point” (a classic ballet film) and watch Baryshnikov make his moves.

How Amy Elkins’ “Danseur” series portraits of male dancers challenges ideas of masculinity. 

Dancers and choreographers talk about how gender influences their lives and their work.