Tag Archives: Dancers

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers

Pointe shoes

Photo from flickr.com

Pittsburgh is known for its talented football players, its skilled hockey players, and its love/hate relationship with its baseball team. But the Steel City hasn’t been quite as well known for its world-class ballet company — something that is changing as the company continually produces high quality shows featuring its highly skilled dancers.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT), with its rehearsal facilities located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, is made up of 27 company dancers from across the globe. The ballet dancers will finish their current season with performances of “Cinderella” with the PBT orchestra April 19-21 at the Benedum Center for Performing Arts in downtown Pittsburgh.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s time for a break. PBT recently announced the lineup for its 2013-2014 season, which will consist of “An Evening of Twyla Tharp” in October, “The Nutcracker” in December, “Swan Lake” with the orchestra in February, “3×3” in March 2014 and “Don Quixote” with the orchestra in April 2014.

The PBT dancers will be hard at work preparing for the next season. Because ballet is a continual strive for perfection, there is always room for improvement — even with the incredibly skilled dancers in a professional ballet company like Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Check out this map mash-up to see where each of the PBT company members is from. Their hometowns range from right here in Pittsburgh to the other side of the globe. Clearly PBT is a world-class company that draws ballet dancers of all backgrounds.


What Point Park University dancers love most about dance


Photo from lissuin.deviantart.com

Hip hop dancers and break dancers, ballerinas and tap dancers, contemporary artists and musical theater performers. What do all of them have in common? A profound love for the art of dance in each of its many varied forms. Every dancer knows that to improve as a dancer, you must dedicate a large amount of time and effort. The professional ballet dancers floating across the stage in The Nutcracker last Christmas didn’t get those long extensions and quadruple pirouettes by watching others do it. They got to the studio and worked on it. In the strive for unattainable perfection, dancers know that there is always room for improvement. But all this time and sweat in the studio isn’t a sacrifice for most dancers. Why? Because they absolutely, irrevocably love what they do.

I spent some time talking to dancers at Point Park University: a freshman jazz concentration, a sophomore modern concentration, and the chair of the university’s Conservatory dance department. They talked about what it is about dance that they love the most.

Sophomore Alexandra Zegar started dancing when her mom — a Point Park alum — put her in class at the age of 4. She started taking more and more dance classes by the time she was in sixth grade, and she started thinking about dance as a professional career when she attended a musical that year.

“At some point during the show, I just decided, ‘That looks awesome, I really want to do it,'” Zegar said. “Since then, I’ve wanted to be a dancer.”

Freshman Lydia Clinton also took her first dance class when she was 4 years old. The difference? She did not like it. But she tried another class four years later, and by the time she was in high school, it was a serious passion in her life.

Clinton advises young, aspiring dancers to work hard…really hard.

“Dance like you want to be in a company the next day. Don’t be impatient with yourself, but work really hard and take the opportunity of every class…Really take that opportunity to get better,” Clinton said.

Susan Stowe is a lifelong dancer who takes great joy in teaching college dancers who want to do the same with their lives. With every performance opportunity, she encourages her students to learn and get the most out of each show.

“Part of a dancer’s growth comes through performance, so it’s important that they have the opportunity to perform, the rehearsal process where they learn the dance, perfect the technical and artistic parts of it, and then be able to do it for an audience. It’s part of a dancer’s growth, which will hopefully prepare them for employment after they graduate,” Stowe said.

To hear more from these dancers, check out this audio package!

Top 5 gift ideas for dancers

Looking for a gift for the dancer in your life? No need to worry! Here is The Ballet Barre’s list of the top 5 gifts that will make any dancer leap for joy.

Pointe Shoe Socks

Discount Dance Supply


#5: For Bare Feet Pointe Shoe Socks

Even when her pointe shoes are tucked away in a dance bag, any ballerina can be found practicing her tendues and jetes around the house. So why not keep pointe shoes on your feet all the time? These pointe shoe socks from Discount Dance Supply are the perfect gift for the 24/7 ballerina. Or, for double duty, she can wear them over her real pointe shoes to keep her toes pretty in pink!

Online price: $6.95



Bloch Booties

Discount Dance Supply


#4: Bloch Booties

Another great gift idea from Discount Dance Supply, these booties from Bloch are perfect for a busy dancer. She can pull them on in between classes and wear them during warm-ups at the barre. In purple or red, these booties will keep dancers’ feet warm, toasty, and ready to dance!

Online price: $31.50




Real Food Barre

Real Food Barre

#3: Real Food Barre

This nutritional snack was developed specifically for dancers by professional ballet dancers and husband-and-wife team Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley. The barres come in three flavors: black swan chocolate berry, pirouette cinnamon pecan, and ballerina spirulina.

                                                                                Online price: $2.50 (single), $27.48 (box of 12)



En Pointe Enterprises


#2: Portabarre

This gift is a 4.5-foot ballet barre to-go from En Pointe Enterprises. It disassembles easily and fits into a handy carrying case, so you can practice your plies anywhere. This is a great gift for serious ballet dancers who want to be able to stay in good ballet shape over breaks from class, or just to be able to warm up before a day of rehearsals. This gift would be a worthwhile investment for any dedicated ballerina.

Online price: $295




Photo from minicorndogs.deviantart.com

#1: Tickets

The best gift for the dancer in your life? Tickets to a performance of any kind! A professional ballet, touring musical, Broadway show, high school production, dance company performance — the options are endless! Dance lovers everywhere love to watch the arts and seize the opportunity to support it any time they can…But be careful, or your dancer may jump onto the stage herself!