A Week Of Sharing With A Younger Generation
November 28, 2013
Last week I had the opportunity of being a part of two panel discussions. One was titled "Ask The Pros" and the other one was called "Living Through Dance." Even though I don't think of myself as an actual "Pro" because I am constantly learning new things, it was fun to share any tips and knowledge I have with aspiring young dancers and their parents.
"Ask The Pros" was held on November 17th at Steps on Broadway. When I was asked to speak on the panel about what it takes to become a professional dancer, I was excited to share my insights. I know how much it means to listen to advice from a dancer you either look up to or admire, and I was happy to share my experiences with a younger generation. The panel was very versatile and I was honored to be among such a wonderful group.
The next night, I was asked to speak at my alma mater, Professional Children's School. It was emotional being back at my high school and seeing all of my teachers, not to mention seeing how much the school has changed since I attended. This school holds such an important part in my life because it supported me through my first years as a young dancer living away from home and being a part of the New York City Ballet at fifteen. PCS is such a unique and amazing institution and I am proud to be a graduate of such a challenging and supportive school.
The Enemy Within: A New Dance Film
November 21, 2013
Seven years ago a college student had an idea to bring together talented artists from different dance genres to make something. On November 11th, his dreams came true, and Preston Miller had his first screening of a dance film that he created, choreographed, and produced. The film is called the Enemy Within and the cast includes Matthew Rushing, rehearsal director and guest artist with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Marquese 'Nonstop' Scott, member of Dragon House and YouTube Street Dancer, Samantha Figgins, dancer with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and myself, a Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.
It was an honor to be a part of this collaboration. Being able to dance with these amazing dancers from various companies was a tremendous learning experience. The film took us all out of our comfort zones, which ultimately helped us grow as artists. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a apart of this film and am excited for everyone to see it. Keep up with the whereabouts of the film at theuai.com or follow theUAI on Facebook and Twitter!
Here are some trailers for the film. Enjoy!
A quick shot at the Nov 11 New York screening with everyone who made this film possible!
The Premier of Sarah Jessica Parker's New AOL Web Series "city.ballet"
November 14, 2013
The new web series "city.ballet" premiered in New York on November 4th at the Tribeca Cinemas. The brainchild behind this series is non other than the talented Sarah Jessica Parker. Ms. Parker is on the board of the New York City Ballet and is a wonderful supporter of the Company. She has really been an important figure in cultivating a younger audience at the ballet. She has helped partner fashion designers with choreographers for our fall galas, and she has now made NYCB accessible over the internet with this new web series.
This web series, produced by Pretty Matches Productions and Zero Point Zero Production, offers fans an all-access pass into the country’s largest and most prominent dance company, the New York City Ballet. Each 6-8 minute episode in the 12 episode series is narrated by Ms. Parker and takes viewers through a dancer’s journey both on and off the stage.
The series focuses on the dedication and determination it takes to be in the New York City Ballet. It isn't like a reality show; instead, it is more like a documentary and interviews individual dancers on various issues like relationships, injuries, ranks, and many more.
I really think this series is a wonderful vehicle to reach audiences that don't have the opportunity to see the New York City Ballet perform in New York. Hopefully the series reaches out to individuals who don't know about dance and will make them want to come see our Company live!
A quick shot in our theater seats before the premier :)
The 31st Annual Princess Grace Awards Gala
November 7, 2013
On October 30th, the Princess Grace Foundation held their 31st annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd street. The venue was absolutely stunning and marked a perfect spot for a memorable evening.
Walking the red carpet with my fiancé Robert Fairchild in a J Mendel dress. Photo credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Photo credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
I was honored to have Susan Stroman there to present me with the 2013 Statue Award. Stro is the reason I first moved to New York so it seemed perfectly fitting for her to be the one to present me with the Statue Award.
Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/ WireImage
Fortunately, I did have the opportunity to make a few remarks thanking the foundation:
"While a student at the School of American Ballet, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA helped me realize my goals and potential by awarding me with the 2004 Princess Grace Award. The award recognized me as a talented emerging artist, which opened many doors and helped facilitate the beginnings of my ballet career. The accolades of this award not only elevated my position within the dance community but also gave me the confidence that I needed to succeed.
Since receiving the initial award in 2004, I joined the New York City Ballet as a full time member the following year, and in 2009, I was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. Becoming a Principal ballerina with the New York City Ballet is a dream that I never thought was possible, but the Princess Grace Foundation-USA inspired me to “dream big and work hard.” I feel extremely humbled to be among the select few who have won the Statue Award.
The Princess Grace Foundation USA is unlike any other organization, supporting artists of this generation and many more to follow. I am just so grateful to be part of this philanthropic and international family. For me, one of the most remarkable attributes of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA is its active involvement in each recipient’s life. The Foundation is determined to help recipients further their careers beyond winning the award. This year, I was given a Professional Development grant that made it possible for me to take weekly voice lessons in addition to my ballet training. As a result, I was recently cast to play the title role in Susan Stroman’s new musical, Little Dancer, and I owe part of that to the Princess Grace Foundation-USA for their generous contribution towards my vocal training. I am very grateful to the Foundation for assisting with my development as an artist and continuing to aid my professional growth."
The gala then went on to present the new awardees with their initial Princess Grace Awards and concluded with Princess Charlene of Monaco presenting Cicely Tyson with the lifetime Prince Rainier III Award. Ms. Tyson's speech was the most moving, inspirational, and heartfelt speech I think I have ever heard. She said, "The minute you feel you have arrived, is the minute you will stop growing." I completely agree and was deeply touched by her words. The evening was very special and I am beyond honored to be a 2013 Statue Award Winner.
Standing with actress Jennifer Grant, journalist and newscaster Paula Zahn, Princess Charlene of Monaco, and the other 2013 Statue Award Winner, filmmaker Wendy Levy. Photo credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Sharing this special moment with my father and mother :)