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Photos By Franz Mahr, Words By Ashley Wright

The dancers of the American Ballet Theatre are living the dream.

During their 2014 tour the company has whirled across stages in Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Minneapolis, DC, and their home base in New York City. According to Gabe Stone Shayer, one of the dancers of the corps de ballet, the performers are given at least one “free” day in each of these places; they use the time to explore the city and get a taste of the local culture. (In Abu Dhabi the local culture apparently involves ATVing and watching bellydancers by the light of a desert bonfire, in case you’re curious.) The dancers sleep in beautiful hotels, eat delicious food, and are the toast of every city in which they perform.

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This kind of recognition doesn’t come for free, however. “I’ve only just recently realized that my whole job is basically a workout,” laughs Shayer. The dancers train everyday and hone their skills through classes offered on the road. They perform several nights in a row in each city, a task that requires a stamina of which most of us can only dream. Shayer elaborates: “Sometimes I wake up in a hotel room and am like, ‘Where am I today? What time zone are we in now?’” This rigorous pace is nothing new for the dancers; though strikingly young, most have been training and performing for at least seven years. 17 countries and a wide range of backgrounds are represented in the company.

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Thursday’s cocktail reception at Peacock Café in Georgetown, which gave the public a chance to interact with 35 of ABT’s best and brightest after their nightly performance at the Kennedy Center, was hosted by Walter Grio, Fashiontographer magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and a benefactor of ABT. Grio recently created the “Shoot for Change Scholarship” for ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School; the cocktail reception was a celebration of his generosity to the company and an opportunity for the public to meet the performers. The dancers, all as young, tall, lithe, and beautiful as every ballet movie has ever depicted them, chatted with guests over delicious hor d’ouvres created by Peacock Café’s own Chef Maziar Farivar. The event was sponsored by Reingold LINK.

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