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Imagine what it would be like to be Princess Aurora on her 16th birthday. Never mind the pressure to choose a suitor—think of how difficult it must be to keep composed as the center of attention. To us, Aurora has an inherently beautiful, ethereal presence. But perhaps she’s like any 16-year-old girl—anxious to maintain the beauty that accompanies her every move. Ballet dancers face this challenge all the time—our minds race to maintain control so that the audience can enjoy a seemingly effortless performance.

Ballet documentaries, why are you so few and far between? We have to wait until next summer for the documentary Black Ballerina, which promises a candid discussion of racial disparities in the ballet world. And the latest buzz— Another Adventure, featuring Joy Womack—is still making the indie festival rounds, without a release date in sight.

When you're dreading an especially rough day at the studio or a challenging performance, improving your mood could be as simple as changing the way you walk. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that subjects who walked in a more depressed style (with shoulders rolled forward and less arm movement) experienced worse moods than those who walked in a "happier," more upbeat style.  

Dance lovers around the country are bracing themselves for Wendy Whelan's farewell performance with New York City Ballet on Saturday, October 18. Today, NPR's Morning Edition featured an interview with the iconic ballerina, including comments from choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

What better way to open the season than with a trailer? The Washington Ballet has done just that, releasing this video of the company preparing for its season opener next week (October 22–26). The program, entitled Taking Flight, has a distinctly European flavor, and includes Jirí Kylián’s Petite Mort, Hans Van Manen’s 5 Tangos and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. The behind-the-scenes video shows the dancers rehearsing with Kylián répétiteur Urtzi Aranburu, highlighting the sweat and hard work that goes behind every finished performance. Enjoy!

 

(Vaganova Academy graduate Olga Smirnova and Karim Abdullin, photo by Damir Yusupov)

 

Struggling to hone your interpretation of a new role? You may want to reach for some fruit. Many fruits, like bananas and peaches, are high in the amino acid tyrosine, and according to a recent study published in Psychological Research, foods with high tyrosine levels may help us to think harder and more creatively.

You probably remember filmmaker and former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz's mini-documentary In a Day's Work: It trailed New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns throughout her day, and gave viewers a sense of the mental and physical stamina required of a ballerina at the top of her game.

It takes the work of a ballet dancer to embody the words of Shakespeare. With the help of Sergei Prokofiev’s masterful score, the Royal Ballet's Alessandra Ferri and Wayne Eagling approach this task with heartbreaking beauty.  They perform the iconic balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in this recording of the company’s 1984 production—and their movement speaks.