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Applications for the 2018 USA IBC are Now Open... And They Changed the Age Requirements

USA IBC 2014 Junior Divison Gold Medal Winner and current American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Gisele Bethea and Michal Wozniak performing in 2014's second round. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

Every four years, dancers from around the world gather in Jackson, Mississippi to compete for medals, cash prizes, scholarships and company contracts as part of the USA International Ballet Competition. While every competition boasts famous former competitors, the USA IBC's impressive list includes Isaac Hernandez, Sarah Lamb, Misa Kuranaga, Nina Ananiashvili, Brooklyn Mack, Daniil Simkin and many more. Though the competition runs from June 10-23 of 2018, it's not too early to apply; applications for the 11th USA IBC opened this week.

If you're 14 years old but itching to enter the competition circuit, it's your lucky year. USA IBC has lowered its age requirement from 15 to 14 (the Prix de Lausanne made a similar change last month). Older dancers can also participate; the competition has extended the senior division limit from 26 to 28 years of age.


2014 USA IBC competitors in rehearsal. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

In other USA IBC news, John Meehan will act as the 2018 International Jury Chair. The former Australian Ballet and American Ballet Theatre dancer is in charge of gathering the group of jurors. So far we know that Stanton Welch, Marcia Haydee and Xiomara Reyes are on the list.

The initial portion of the application is due on January 8, giving entrants until February 5 to download the Round I repertoire music for the required video submission. Can't wait till June? You can keep track of your preparations with the USA IBC's handy countdown clock.


USA IBC 2014 Junior Division Silver Medal Winner and current Houston Ballet demi-soloist Mackenzie Richter. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

Cauthorn and Strongin, two to watch at SFB, in "Frankenstein." Photo by Erik Tomasson. Courtesy SFB.

Max Cauthorn was an on-the-rise corps member when he stepped into the title role of Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein last February; when the curtain came down, he was San Francisco Ballet's newest leading man. In his first full-length starring role, he carried the physically and emotionally demanding three-hour ballet with fluent technique and a natural charisma. But he didn't do it alone: In her own lead-role debut with SFB, soloist Lauren Strongin brought tenderness and steely integrity to Frankenstein's true love, Elizabeth.

Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

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Pointe Stars
Postelwaite and Pantastico's powerful reunion in "Cendrillon." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Lucien Postlewaite's Prince was anything but charming last February in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Cendrillon, Jean-Christophe Maillot's contemporary take on the Cinderella story. He strutted and preened, egged on by his friends. But once this prince met Cendrillon at the ball, his egotism gave way to lyrical grace, from the curve of his neck through his elegant extensions. For her part, Noelani Pantastico embodied the role of Cendrillon, taking us on her journey from a lonely, unwanted stepdaughter to a lovestruck young woman. Both dancers glided through the technically demanding choreography, infusing it with heartfelt emotion. This may be a fairy tale, but the romance felt real.

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via Instagram

Usually, it's the jaw-dropping moments on the stage that leave us equal parts inspired and amazed. But National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina has us totally in awe of her behind-the-scenes routine. A 2015 Pointe cover star (and former Bolshoi dancer), Lunkina shares as many clips on Instagram of her classes and rehearsals as she does glam stage shots. Earlier this week, she shared her floor workout—and you have to see it to believe it.

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Your Best Body
Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet.

This time of year, we're used to seeing dancers embodying the flavors of The Nutcracker's magical Land of Sweets. But the real-life equivalents of those seasonal treats are more than just holiday guilty pleasures, and have benefits that could help you get through a crazy month of performances. Here are a few reasons to indulge in the spices and flavors of the season—now, and all year long.

Peppermint

This powerhouse herb has an abundance of benefits to help you get through a busy performance season. It's been known to aid digestion and help calm anxiety, and one study found that inhaling its vapors may improve athletic performance. Smelling peppermint has also been found to increase focus. You don't just have to get it from candy canes: Try brewing a hot cup of peppermint tea between rehearsals, or to wind down after a long day.

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Richmond Ballet dancers show off two adoptable shelter dogs at its annual "Pupcracker." Photo courtesy Richmond Ballet

If you're looking to upstage Clara, there's no better way to do it than with a four-legged furry friend—especially when that furry friend is looking for its forever home. Cue Richmond Ballet: During its December 16 and 21 matinees, the company is teaming up with the Richmond SPCA to present the "Pupcracker," special Nutcracker performances featuring adoptable shelter dogs. Several pups make their stage debut during the party scene as the guests bring their family pets to and from the Silberhaus home. Audience members can then meet—and adopt—the dogs during intermission and after the performance. The SPCA even provides a crate, collar, leash and treats so that patrons can bring their new family members home after the show.


Audience members can meet and adopt featured dogs during intermission. Photo Courtesy Richmond Ballet.

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Videos
Rudolf Nureyev and Merle Park in "The Nutcracker" (1968). Photo by Donald Southern, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House Collections.

Given the thousands of incarnations The Nutcracker has undergone—from tiny-tot productions in small-town studios to grand modern classics—the ballet's Grand Pas de Deux from Act II has remained remarkably intact. With slight variations, most professional dancers have seen its familiar choreography at some point or another. Tchaikovsky's radiant score calls to mind elegant promenades, partnered penchées and slow, supported développés.

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Training
Photo by Taylor-Ferné Morris.

I have flatter feet and want to make them look better on pointe. Are there any special pointe shoes for my foot type? —Joana

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