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Vala Dancewear Blog

  • Modern Dance - "...there's an app for that!"


    We knew it was only a matter of time....! ;) The first app featuring modern dance for both the iPhone and iPad is available now through iTunes. This free app was created by choreographer, Richard Daniels and showcases the talents of Carmen de Lavallade, Deborah Jowitt, Regina Larkin, Christine Redpath and Megan Williams. "Dances for an iPhone" is a revolutionary concept that introduces the first purely cultural category of App, according to Mr. Daniels." ~ quote You can read all about this technological feat (feet?) here. To download the app, click here.

  • ABT's Med Team Keeps Dancers Balanced

    Julie Daugherty working on Melanie Hamrick. Photo by Susie Morgan


    "Dance medicine is a relatively new field, pioneered by those who dared to understand the art form, to unravel its idiosyncratic aesthetics and its effects on the human body."

    As every dancer knows, keeping your body - or rather, your instrument - in top shape and injury-free requires more than attending daily class. Read how ABT is keeping its dancers in top condition with help from its highly trained medical staff...

  • ...and Another Ballet Record is Broken!

    Photo credit: Jon Budeker / Orlando Sentinel


    On Sunday, 245 dancers broke last year's world record for the most dancers en pointe! Last year, 230 dancers made headlines in New York's Central Park; this year's attempt took place at Florida's Orange County Convention Center.

    "One, two, three…UP!," an announcer told the group. For next one minute, a silenced crowd watched as the group, made up of mostly girls and women, with a few guys sprinkled in, kept their legs moving to sustain balance." - Orlando Sentinel Check out the video clip, folks! It's awesome! ;)

  • Wedding Bells for Ethan Stiefel & Gillian Murphy

    Photo credit: James Whitehill


    Okay, ladies...get ready to swoon! During American Ballet Theatre's gala this past Monday evening, Ethan Stiefel got down on bended knee and proposed to his long-time lady love, Gillian Murphy! {Psst... she said YES!}

    We think this photo says it all, don't you? ;) Congratulations, you two crazy love birds!

  • Bunheads Shatter World Record

    balletclassrecordA total of 1,359 ballet dancers invaded the State Library of Queensland to challenge the Guinness World Record for the largest ballet class! The previous record was set in Hannover, Germany by 1,055 dancers. The event was organized by Queensland Ballet Company and is awaiting official verification from the "powers that be". ;) But take a look at the photos - they are quite impressive!

    Read all about this incredible feat here.

  • Ceremony Honors America's First "Giselle"

    lee-mary-ann-headstone-mcdevWith all the hubbub surrounding Pacific Northwest Ballet's upcoming production of Giselle, we found this next story extremely apropos! Check this out...

    "It took more than a hundred years, but “America’s first ballerina” now has a gravestone. A ceremony was held today at Laurel Hill Cemetery, in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, honoring Mary Ann Lee. Her legacy dances on today, but not too many people know who Mary Ann Lee was, or the important role she had in the arts dating back to the 1840s. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, performed as a ballerina in Paris, and brought three ballets to America — the most famous being “Giselle.” Click here to read the remainder of the article. To learn more about Mary Ann Lee, click here. :)

  • From Ballerina to Ballet Master

    Roman Rykine and Larissa Ponomarenko in George Balanchine's "Diamonds" (Gene Schiavone/The George Balachine Trust)


    "Principal dancer and icon Larissa Ponomarenko is retiring from the stage after 18 years with the company. In her new role as Ballet Master (sounds powerful, doesn’t it?) she will have the chance to channel her knowledge and grace to the next generation of dancers — through teaching, coaching and assisting with the production of upcoming performances." (....)

    Congratulations, Larissa! What an exciting honor! And YES we most certainly agree that the title of "Ballet Master" sounds deliciously powerful indeed! ;) Read all about Ponomarenko's new job title here.

  • Checking In with ABT's Kelley Boyd

    Kelley Boyd / American Ballet Theatre


    Very few people can claim to report to work as a ballerina. But Kelley Boyd can... Check out this fun albeit brief encounter with one of ABT's rising stars! (You can listen to the audio or read the transcript - your choice!) :)

  • Royal New Zealand Ballet - Exposed

    Paul Matthews - Photo courtesy: Kent Blechynden/Dominion Post


    Ballet has made a whirlwind return to New Zealand popular culture with the success of Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, and TV3's The Secret Lives of Dancers.

    The TV show and movie are doing wonders for popularizing the lives of ballet dancers, says Paul Mathews, a 24-year-old professional dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), but he is skeptical about the way such programs tell the dance story. Read the story in its entirety here.

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's Contemporary 4 Dazzles

    The stars were shining brightly during Pacific Northwest Ballet’s opening of Contemporary 4. The evening’s mixed program featured four outstanding displays of diversity, ingenuity and beautiful creativity.



    Pacific featured both men and women dressed in swooshy, flowing skirts which looked just a wee bit prettier on the men than the women. Josh Spell and Benjamin Griffiths especially worked those skirts like it was nobody’s business, and I enjoyed the overall effect the costumes had on the performance. Another duo worth mentioning is Carla Korbes and Olivier Wevers. Their pas de deux was absolutely yummy! Lucien Postlewaite was as beautiful as always. (You know something, I often find it difficult to wrap my head around this man’s softness, his vulnerability. It’s just exquisite!) Then of course, there was the perfection known as Ariana Lallone. This lady continually brings a rich, new layer of magic to every performance, and I for one will miss her presence in the seasons to come.

    The world premiere of Marco Goecke’s Place a Chill made me think, “Voguing on steroids”. That may not be the best way to describe it, but that’s immediately what came to mind. Lightening fast upper body moves were mixed with equally fast finger-flicking shivers made you wonder whether the dancers were trying to embrace—or fight off—the impending chill. It was absolutely incredible to watch! In this act, the stand-out performer award must go to both Jonathan Poretta and James Moore. Guys—you’re my heroes! Enough said.



    The Piano Dance, choreographed by ballet master, Paul Gibson was just…(insert Italian kiss of the finger tips here) “Bellissima!” The stunning blood red costumes were to die for; the dancing was soulful, flirty and infectiously fun. Lesley Rausch and Seth Orza made for a most mesmerizing pair (but seriously, what do you expect from these two?), while Chalnessa Eames and Josh Spell were enthusiastically coquettish and spry. (The playful booty smack was most appreciated by all in attendance.) Rounding out the splendid cast was Margaret Mullin and Jerome Tisserand, who looked like “two happy young lovers”, and the spunky Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths whose performance I felt was the icing on the cake. Quite honestly, I could watch The Piano Dance over and over again, and never get bored.

    The fourth and final piece was Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH. This highly anticipated piece did not fail to impress and delight the masses. The lighthearted romance was the perfect blend of strength and versatility due to the likes of Batkhurel Bold, Seth Orza, Karel Cruz, Carla Korbes and Carrie Imler. The male “power triangle” was counter-balanced by the softness and charm of the ladies, who could never be mistaken for shrinking violets! To the contrary, Imler's own breed of strength silently dared the boys to keep up with her, while Korbes' quiet air of authority demands utmost respect. Performance highlights include Bold’s freaking awesome lift and twirl of Mr. Orza (go ahead and read that twice, I’ll wait), and the fantastic chemistry between Cruz and Korbes.

    Contemporary 4 is one rep that is not to be missed. If you haven’t already done so, please visit to purchase tickets. You will not be disappointed!

    ~Reviewed by Denise Opper, Vala Dancewear Media Liaison

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