Meet The Adorable Dogs Of The American Ballet Theatre

Ballet dancers have a tough life: Big competition, short careers, no money except for the few, and all that pain. Once they get onstage, however, you know they are magical fairy creatures untouched by the woes of the real world. That's why getting grittier glimpses of their backstage routines — even the fictional Black Swan kind — is so fascinating for us lay people. But how about a softer, cuddlier look at the dance life? Oh, thank you Instagram.

For more than a year now, the dancers of American Ballet Theatre have been posting photos of their dogs with the hashtag #dogsofabt. It's basically a fantasy created by our inner 9-year-old girl. 

It seems pups have been allowed in rehearsal and on tour since the early days. Two years ago, ABT's artistic administrator told the Wall Street Journal why they let dogs hang out there. "Because it's a very stressful work environment, there's so much competition — it's friendly competition — it's very exhausting, emotionally and physically. The dogs provide such a great relief.

"I danced with the company in the '80s when [Mikhail] Baryshnikov was our director," she said. "There were golden retrievers, Dalmatians. They were all big dogs, and we toured with them. It was quite a scene."

Someone, please provide those photos next!
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"Stretches and tricks. #abtdogs #flexistretchers #shihtzu#work #dogtricks #dancing #pupsatwork Natasha :):):)" writes dancer Luciana Voltolini. Amazing multi-tasking there.
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"#tbt to that time I snuck into the Met and almost made it onstage in #Abt's The Dream. They would have been lucky to have me....," dancer Lauren Post writes about her dog, Pickles.
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"I do love pointe shoes. Luckily my sense of smell isn't very good... #dogsofabt," Pickles says, cuddling up with Lauren Post's shoes.
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"Got to hang with ABT's newest addition today! Meet Craig Salstein's little puppy, Snickers. #dogsofabt," writes Post.
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"Meet Sarah Smith's pup! Looks like a Fozzi Bear/Teddy Ruxpin hybrid! #DogsOfABT." How can anyone get any actual dancing done with that cuteness around?
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"On the 14th day of rehearsing a bit of #abtaurora,@marcelua's Lua showed me how to do the short (Italian?) attitude :) #roseadagio #dogsofabt @abtofficial@luamarce," principal dancer Gillian Murphy wrote of Marcelo Gomes' dachshund.
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"Well someone was happy to be at work today @bondgemmas #dogsofabt," Post commented on Gemma Bond's spaniel. Is the Mohawk considered proper rehearsal style?
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These borzois actually appear onstage in Giselle. They are the actual ballerinas of the dog world.
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"My replacement for Gaite Parisienne tonight.#leadcancandog #thelifeofri #dogsofABT #lastshow!" wrote Christine Shevchenko of soloist Devon Teuscher's dog, Riley.
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"Helping mom sew pointe shoes...a.k.a cuddle sesh! Photo credit: @alexhammoudi #thelifeofri #cavapoo#cavapoos #cavoodle #bloch," wrote Teuscher.