Magazine article Dance Magazine

Puanani Brown

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Puanani Brown

Article excerpt

Puanani Brown is one of American Ballet Theatre's new standouts. During a recent company class at ABT's studios, the corps member swept through a waltz with soft elegance and pointed focus, her flexible back arching in a high arabesque, creating a gorgeous classical line. When she makes a mistake in a tough combination, she goes to the back of the room to work on a turn with a sense of investigation. Perhaps this calm determination comes from her time as an undergraduate at Harvard, but more likely it's what helped get her there--and into the ranks of ABT, which she joined in March 2010. It has also aided her in dealing with injuries and imbalances caused by her flexibility. Dance Magazine chatted with the young ballerina to find out how she stays in shape.

Tireless Training Until she joined ABT, Brown was accustomed to the life of a dedicated student. Before attending Harvard, she studied at the School of American Ballet (and even apprenticed with New York City Ballet); when she returned to dancing after a year at college, she enrolled at Ballet Academy East. She says that now, taking just one class a day (ABT's company class) has been a challenging adjustment, in terms of maintaining technique, so she tries to make the most of every session. "I always stay to the end of class instead of leaving early," she says. "Then I often work on fouettes or something difficult afterward by myself." She gets to work before class, too, using the company's gym to warm up on the elliptical or reformer.

During class, Brown gives a lot of thought to the "how" of her movement. "At SAB I had to push myself to get fast, and now at ABT I work on classical lines and correct port de bras, which requires me to look at how I dance, not just what I'm dancing. Things like 'getting my hips up' as Susan Jaffe says, or lifting my stomach are new ways for me to work. …

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