What We Learned from "city.ballet." Season 2, Episode 10

March 22, 2017

Season 2 of “city.ballet.”—the AOL On series that gives an insider’s look at New York City Ballet—is live now! We’re recapping one episode per week. Watch all 12 at dancemagazine.com

Ballet dancers’ lives look glamorous on the surface. But being in a major company actually requires a ton of hard work. How do professional dancers deal with the day-in, day-out grind of classes and rehearsals? That’s what episode 10 of “city.ballet” investigates: the stuff that keeps New York City Ballet members inspired and motivated. Here are five things we learned from the ep.

NYCB dancers in company class (still from “city.ballet.”)

1. NYCB company class is fascinating.
There’s nothing like watching some of the world’s greatest artists—and, let’s not forget, athletes—put their bodies through their paces. The exposed nature of ballet class reveals both their superhuman-ness (how does she move that quickly?) and their humanness (oh hey, she struggles with attitude turns too!).

2. A healthy nondance life is one of the keys to a successful dance life.
“I think it’s really important not to think about work all the time,” says soloist Lauren Lovette, who stays inspired by taking an art class in her spare time. Corps member Silas Farley (who, by the way, got into Harvard as well as NYCB—no biggie) finds an outlet in his religious faith. And fellow corps dancer Mary Elizabeth Sell expresses herself through poetry.

3. Ballet holds dancers to an impossible standard—but that’s inspiring, not discouraging.
“We go into the studio every day trying to achieve something that’s unattainable: balletic perfection,” Farley says. “And you’re never gonna get there. But the fact that you never get there is not a reason to turn back. It’s rather the motivation—the knowledge that there’s always more to learn, and there’s always more room to grow.”

4. A ballet career is like a long-term love affair.
In ballet, just as in love, “the more you care, the more the little things are upsetting,” Sell says. “But people always say you have to take that risk in love, because it’s better to have a broken heart than to have never loved.”

At 5:20. So sparklyyyyyy!

Click the image below to watch the full episode.