Kendall Jenner Is Not A Ballerina, But Here Are 14 Badass Real Ones
by Hannah Marsh
Kendall Jenner’s dancing debut in the Vogue España advertisement was less than impressive. Here’s who they should have picked instead.
Allison DeBona is a First Soloist dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has starred on the CW reality show Breaking Pointe (at least Kendall Jenner does have reality TV in common!), and she even runs her own blog! DeBona travels frequently to guide young dancers by sharing some of her own dancing experiences with them.
Misty Copeland began studying the art of ballet at 13 years old, and eventually became the first African-American ballerina to be promoted to a principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. The dancer has won numerous awards, was appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition by President Obama and has even written a best-selling book!
You might recognize Maddie Ziegler from her five years on Lifetime’s hit reality show Dance Moms, but some of her most notable achievements come from performing in some big time music videos, including “Chandelier,” “Cheap Thrills,” and “The Greatest,” acting in various TV shows and movies, a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, and beginning her own clothing line. The real question is, what doesn’t she do?
Michaela DePrince spent the first part of her life in an orphanage in Sierra Leone after her father was killed in the country’s civil war; her mother died of fever and starvation, and her uncle abandoned her for having a skin disease that was considered a curse of the devil in her homeland. DePrince has written a memoir, Taking Flight, was named a 2016 Ambassador for War Child Netherlands and is currently a Grand Sujet for the Dutch National Ballet’s main company. We’re not sure how much more inspiring she could get.
After 18 months of a nearly-career-ending injury, the death of a couple of close friends and family and a long road of recovery, Stella Abrera became the first Filipina-American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre in August 2015. Abrera also founded Steps Forward for the Phillippines which helped raise money for the restoration some of the areas hit hardest in 2013 by the deadliest typhoon in the nation’s history.
Hee Seo was promoted to be the first Korean principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre’s history in July 2012. Some of her award-winning performances include some of the most notable roles in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, With a Chance of Rain, and numerous others —ballets that we don’t really see Kendall Jenner doing very well in.
This Russian ballerina holds several prestigious, international dance awards, has made a name for herself in some incredibly prominent performances and is currently a member of The Royal Ballet as a Principal Dancer.
Megan Fairchild, born in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a principal ballerina for the New York City Ballet. She also practices daily meditation, never Googles herself and enjoys indulging in her sweet tooth almost daily. We might not have the dancing part down, but we definitely know how to enjoy our sweets!
After joining the ballet world at three years old, finishing high school a year early while dancing at the School of American Ballet and becoming an apprentice with the New York City Ballet at age 17, Sara Mearns is currently a Principal Ballerina with New York City Ballet. In her career, Mearns had to have incredible perseverance and self-discipline to overcome an eight-month-long injury, but she came out even stronger on the other side.
Janelle Figgins grew up in Washington D.C. and received training from multiple performing arts schools before receiving a degree in dance from SUNY Purchase. Eventually, she joined Dance Theatre of Harlem for three years before moving to join Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in 2015.
Nineteen-year-old Miriam Miller, who is a dancer for New York City Ballet, has established herself enough to perform in roles that some elite dancers only dream of. The Iowa native preaches having confidence in what you do and taking risks to grow in your endeavors.
In what started out as a chance to get out of school a few hours each week soon became a successful career of ballet for Tamisha Guy. The dancer graduated from SUNY Purchase College with a double major in dance and arts management and began working with not just one, but two (!!) prestigious companies soon after switching over her tassel.
A corps member dancer for Pennsylvania Ballet, Nayara Lopes is not shy about the intensity of the career she has chosen. However, after winning an apprenticeship to National Ballet of Canada following a top 12 finish at Youth America Grand Prix in 2011, and soon after joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem before her moving to her current job, it’s obvious that the good outweighs the bad!
An outspoken activist in the importance of diversity, Nashville Ballet dancer Kayla Rowser has been featured as a ” Top 25 to Watch” in Dance Magazine and uses her background with American Ballet Theatre to work with Project Plié — an endeavour that encourages participation from underrepresented races and ethnicities in the ballet world.