Lauren Lovette became a member of the corps de ballet at New York City Ballet only two years ago, but her star has been steadily rising ever since. With her sparkling eyes, delicate sensuality, and the quiet sense of joy that suffuses  her dancing, it’s hard to miss her, even when she’s at the rear of the stage, which happens less and less frequently. On Monday, she received the Clive Barnes (dance) Award, a prize that singles out young performers who reveal extraordinary promise.  (Rob McClure won the award for best young actor.) The timing seems just right; Lovette will début in the role of Sugarplum on Dec. 23, an event not to be missed (she’ll dance it again at the matinée of the 28th). She’s only twenty, and I’ll wager we’ll be seeing more and more of her. Over the past few seasons, she has illuminated the stage in various roles, from the introspective solo in Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia to the sensual, playful pas de deux in Balanchine’s Rubies, and even a throwaway part in Susan Stroman’s For the Love of Duke. Here are a few photos of her, all by Paul Kolnik.

With Anthony Huxley in Rubies. (All photos by Paul Kolnik.)
With Anthony Huxley in Rubies. (All photos by Paul Kolnik.)
In the quiet solo in Wheeldon's Polyphonia, where she drew us into her world.
In the mesmerizing solo in Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, where she drew us into her world.

At the time of her début in Polyphonia, I wrote: “A few days ago, when Sara Mearns performed the role, she seemed to expand, radiating energy outward; Lovette, instead, pulled us into her private world. She repeated a phrase, rising quietly on pointe and raising her leg, and then began to add gestures, a scooping up of the hands, a turn with the arms held aloft and then lowered into a kind of prayerful gesture. She accelerated slightly, she slowed down. Her fingers sparkled with life. She drew attention to every detail of the choreography and made us see it anew. In other words, she not only danced it beautifully, but made it her own.”

With Chase Finlay, again in Polyphonia.
With Chase Finlay, again in Polyphonia.
Here she is in Stroman's For the Love of Duke.
Here she is in Stroman’s For the Love of Duke.
And here, in Balanchine's Serenade, when she was still at the School of American Ballet.
And here, in Balanchine’s Serenade, when she was still at the School of American Ballet.

There’s a video of her in Peter Martins’ Mes Oiseaux here. She’s the one with the bangs.

At the awards ceremony on Monday Lovette, who seemed slightly overwhelmed by her nervous excitement, spoke touchingly of her colleagues, the art of dance, and her sense of wonder at her own good fortune. The event was organized by Barnes’ widow, Valerie Taylor-Barnes, whom I recently interviewed for DanceTabs. She first met the critic when she was a dancer with the Royal Ballet. Fifty (!) years—and various wives—later, they married. Ms. Barnes has quite an eye; recent award-winners include Isabella Boylston (of ABT) and Chase Finlay (of NYCB).

For  updates, feel free to check out @MarinaHarss on Twitter. And I’m eager for your comments!

3 Comments

  1. Whenever Lauren is on stage it’s nearly impossible to watch anyone else, even when she’s sharing the stage with principals. Can’t wait to hear a review of her recent Marzipan debut and upcoming Sugarplum debut. She has something special that can’t be taught.

      1. I’ve really only seen Lauren in corp roles…which makes it even more impressive that she’s made such an impression! I thought she was great in Hallelujah Junction in the fall season.

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