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Tomorrow Starts Tonight

An interview with principal ballerina Lauren Lovette.

Prepare

Lauren Lovette has an unusual habit. “I dance in my sleep,” she laughs. As a principal at the New York City Ballet, it’s not surprising that Lauren spends nearly every moment—waking and otherwise—preparing to perform.

"Ballet dancing was always what I was meant to do."

As a child, Lauren was scouted by the director of a local ballet school while dancing around a store with her cousin. “She saw my feet and said, ‘Hey, have you ever taken ballet before?’” The 10-year-old quickly fell in love with expressing herself through music, and she worked tirelessly for a scholarship to the prestigious School of American Ballet. At 14, Lauren made the life-changing move to New York City.

“Even though I’m a principal dancer, I still have to work as though I’m an apprentice.”

Lauren was asked to join the NYCB not long after. “I went from being a student to taking company class with 100 other dancers I’d idolized and watched perform. It was a big transition.” She quickly adapted to the frenetic pace of performances. “That’s New York City for you. Now I crave it, I love it.” Lauren’s busy schedule still keeps her on her toes. After rising early, Lauren often spends 8 or more hours rehearsing upcoming ballets. Other days, her ever-changing repertoire requires Pilates, cardio or yoga to strengthen her core, increase stamina or stretch sore muscles.

"airweave makes me feel like I'm floating."

“Something’s always going to hurt, that’s what you sign up for as a dancer. If you can eliminate some of that, it makes life easier.” Lauren knows that rest and recovery is essential during training. “Sleep is super important,” she says. “For the muscles to rebuild, you really need rest. That’s why I love airweave.” Lauren immediately noticed that airweave reduced pressure on her sensitive back and helped her sleep through the night. “Suddenly, everything was in alignment, the way it should be. But I wasn’t stuck there, either. I could still roll and move around… And when I woke up, I thought, my back doesn’t hurt! It’s just incredible.”

Perform

Dancing at Lincoln Center, the iconic home of New York City Ballet, is a dream. “My first time on that stage I did my steps because of muscle memory but the rest of me wasn’t there, just from being so nervous,” Lauren admits. “But you get used to it.”

"Our theater has these lights that look like diamonds. It's magical."

Lincoln Center is a big place. Lauren uses the energy from her fellow dancers to shine. “It’s really a team effort out there,” she says. “You have other people onstage with you, playing off each other’s energy.” And learning to command the spotlight? ”You have to get used to moving big, running in and out of the wings. It’s so thrilling.”

“It's so hard to make something look easy.”

Lauren’s expertly honed pre-performance ritual begins the night before with a restful sleep. “airweave corrects my posture and makes my back feel better.” Two hours before show time, Lauren applies her own makeup and listens to music in her dressing room—“I love jazz, and I listen to a lot of rap,” she says. Half an hour before the show, Lauren warms up and whacks her pointe shoes to keep them from making noise onstage. Then Lauren changes into her costume and sews her ribbons into place. “Then I dance. It’s the most amazing feeling ever. It’s a giving act, what we do.”

"I think, I gave everything tonight. And I go home happy."

What’s the next step for this elite ballerina? Lauren’s original choreography piece—her first ballet—premieres in the fall. “I listen to music and think about what kind of dance would look good to it and see if I have a vision.” After that, Lauren can only wonder: teaching, sketching, having a family, maybe becoming the NYCB’s first female Choreographer in Residence? “My world is sort of growing past what I ever, ever thought,” she says. “I’m forced to dream bigger.” Whatever tomorrow brings, ballet will always be part of Lauren’s life. “I’d dance even if it wasn’t my job. I’d find a way.”

Find Your Airweave

Lauren Lovette powers her perfomance with the airweave Top Mattress.

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