Kate's Note: A Little Help From My Friends

February 9, 2011

The movie Black Swan, which got so much attention early this year, depicts the ballet world as a place where dancers can become obsessive, unhealthy and ultra-competitive with each other. But for Dance Spirit’s annual Ballet Issue, we were inspired by a very different and real-life ballet story: that of three beautiful, happy, healthy best friends who are supporting one another as they venture into life as professionals.


April Giangeruso, Courtney Lavine and Katie Williams are three of American Ballet Theatre’s newest talents (look for them next time you see ABT—you won’t be disappointed!). At work, these long-limbed lovelies help each other learn and perfect choreography and get through difficult performances, and they cheer each other up when they’re feeling down. “Ballet can get in your head sometimes,” April says. “So it’s nice to know that people care and have your back.”


They also love spending their rare days off together. They catch baseball games (April is a big-time Baltimore Orioles fan), go to the beach or just get frozen yogurt in NYC. Turn to p. 46 for their story and revel in their beautiful pictures. Then turn to p. 50 to meet 10 more dance best friends.


My best friend and I danced together in San Francisco Ballet and one of my favorite memories is the company tour to Paris. Touring is great because you get to explore new cities, theaters and audiences. But it can be tough on your body, especially if you’re on a long bus tour or a yearlong world tour. In “Road Warriors” (p. 52), you’ll learn everything you need to know about staying healthy on the road.


Then, there’s one television dance celebrity who I would drop everything to see perform live—and we’ve got him in this issue. Turn to p. 56 to read about the dreamy Derek Hough, television’s hottest, most charismatic male dancer. Fresh off his third consecutive win on “Dancing with the Stars,” Derek caught up with writer Jen Jones to divulge what it was like growing up Hough.


And there’s so much more: A glorious fashion spread featuring tutus (p. 34) and ballet and pointe shoes (p. 42), an urban feature on the six-step (a move every young dancer should know, p. 58), a spotlight on competitive Irish step-dance (p. 60), a diary about working with the legendary Trisha Brown (p. 26), an inspiration board from Monica Bill Barnes (p. 24) and more!


So grab your best friend and sift through these pages together. Enjoy.



Kate Lydon


The DS staff had so much fun editing the stories about dancer friendships in this issue that we were inspired to introduce you to our own best friends!


My mom is my best friend! She knows me better than anyone else. I love going home to visit her and going apple picking and outlet shopping. —Alison Feller







My best friend is Nicole. I’ve known her since high school, but we became friends in college. She’s one of the funniest people I know!  —Colleen Bohen








I actually have two best friends: Katie and Becca, my former college roomies. Lucky me!  —Margaret Fuhrer








I’m lucky enough to have two BFFs: my little sisters, Megan and Macie. —Michael Bailey








Photos top to bottom: (L to R) ABT’s April Giangeruso, Katie Williams and Courtney Lavine, by Erin Baiano; Alison Feller and her mom courtesy Alison Feller; (L to R) Nicole and Colleen Bohen courtesy Colleen Bohen; (L to R) Katie, Margaret Fuhrer and Becca courtesy Margaret Fuhrer; (L to R) Megan, Macie and Michael Anne Bailey courtesy Michael Anne Bailey.