Ballet and food are both sensual forms of art. Ballet dancers and chefs are similarly dedicated to their respective crafts—demonstrating technical prowess, keen attention to detail, and artistic creativity that are evident and appreciated on both the stage and the plate.
In late 2020, American Ballet Theater published a digital cookbook, ABT Kitchen, a collaboration of 65 personal recipes from ABT dancers, musicians, and staff with illustrations by ABT dancer and artist Javier Rivet. In the press release announcing the publication of this cookbook, renowned chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud commented,
“I enjoy meeting the many talented dancers and musicians at my restaurant across from Lincoln Center. This beautifully illustrated cookbook is a playful peek into the American Ballet Theatre family’s love for food. There is humor, passion, and devotion to the art of dancing and cooking.”
Mssr. Boulud’s quote got me thinking about two things:
1) food and dance definitely share many of the same creative attributes and,
2) with its New York City home, busy national and international touring schedule, and even ocean-based residencies on Celebrity Cruises, there are likely few ballet companies that are more foodie friendly than ABT!
In addition to ABT Kitchen, the ABT family’s love for food is also very evident to their fans on social media where many of the company’s artists chronicle not only their passion for dance, but also their culinary exploits, on their Instagram feeds and stories.
In some cases, these dancers are so serious about cuisine that they have launched entirely separate online presences to focus solely on their food-based pursuits. Whether demonstrating a new recipe, introducing us to a favorite local eatery, welcoming us into a gathering of family and friends, inviting us along on their travels, or just posting a picture of the last thing they loved to eat, it is very clear that the ABT family really is a family and both food and dance are central to these relationships.
After some trial and error with this literary venture into the link between ballet and food, I decided to virtually sit down and interview some of the ABT dancers that self-identify as true foodies!
I would like to offer an enormous thank you to Anabel Katsnelson for being my sounding board, supporter, and initial interviewee! With her assistance, I was also able to connect with Leah Baylin, Emily Hayes, and Betsy McBride. Through these accomplished artists, we can catch a glimpse of four similar yet totally unique and authentic experiences with the culinary world!