"The Nutcracker" ballet, as most North Americans know it, is about magic. A wooden toy transforms into a prince, mice and toy soldiers engage in battle, a little girl journeys to a sugar-coated paradise where she is treated to a series of decadent dances.
They are the most important element of a ballerina's costume: Pointe shoes, which allow dancers to stand on the tips of their toes, can make the difference between an amazing performance and a dismal show.
When I was eight, my mother enrolled me in ballet classes. I loved it. Every Saturday we would trek across town to the building that housed the big bright room with the large mirrors. We would sit in the waiting room with the other girls my age, all of us in our pink leotards and soft pink satin shoes, with our moms at our side.
As I sit down across from Ginnifer Goodwin in a Hollywood café, it hits me that she could easily pass for a French ingénue. In fact, with her simply chic T-shirt and cardigan, and her pixie haircut that oozes Paris, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear a "bonjour" come out of her mouth.
The executive director of American Ballet Theatre said Tuesday she hopes to help bridge the divide between Cuba and the United States when the company performs in Havana this fall for the first time in 50 years.
Carlos Acosta is the ballet dancer who breaks all the rules. Perhaps the most famous dancer of his generation, his is a career that wasn't meant to be -- a tough kid from the backstreets of Havana who was forced to study ballet and became a reluctant star.
If the seventh Super Bowl in Pittsburgh Steelers history seems just a little saner, more ordinary, a tad quieter than the previous six, it's because this is the club's first title game since the passing of one Myron Cope, the "Yoi!"-spouting radio legend and unofficial poet laureate of the 412, who died last February at the age of 79.
Sir Anthony Dowell joined the Royal Ballet in 1961. He was promoted to principal dancer in 1966 and became one of the best classical dancers of his era. Amongst his most notable roles were as Oberon in The Dream (1964) and Troyte in Enigma Variations (1968). As artistic director of the Royal Ballet when Tetsuya Kumakawa arrived at the company Dowell is uniquely positioned to give a professional and personal insight in to the Japanese dancer. Here he explains to CNN what made "Teddy" stand out from the crowd.
Not only is Tetsuya Kumakawa the greatest ever Japanese ballet dancer, he is one of the best the world has ever seen. His athletic grace has won him fans wherever he has performed, and his dedication to the art continues to bring ballet to new audiences.
As half of the famed hip-hop duo OutKast, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton is known for his bass-booming, chart-topping smash hits. His recording studio in Atlanta is lined with plush velvet, stocked with Courvoisier and has a swing hanging from the ceiling -- a place to settle in and do his work.
Monica Mason joined the Royal Ballet in 1958 at the age of 16, becoming the youngest member of the Company at that time. Ten years later she was promoted to principal dancer. She has been director of the Royal Ballet since 2002. Here she gives CNN her assessment of Tetsuya Kumakawa prodigious talents.
Interviewed for Revealed at a sport's injury clinic near Tokyo, Tetsuya Kumakawa talks frankly about his beginnings, the Royal Ballet, the K-Ballet and his hopes to continue as a performer in the years ahead.