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My first summer in New York I was 17, training at The Joffrey's summer intensive and spending my spare time taking extra classes at Steps, with jazz master Luigi, and at ABT (which, in it's pre-JKO days, offered an amazing daily open class). I was also seeing as much ballet as I could squeeze out of my limited allowance.

 

Sneakers aren’t the primary footwear you associate with New York City Ballet. But next Friday, NYCB dancers will slip out of their pointe shoes and into more casual kicks for the free Fridays at Noon series at the 92nd Street Y. Ellen Bar, a former dancer who now works as the company’s director of media projects, hosts the quirky program featuring past and present sneaker ballets.

In our new issue, Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser reveals the company's plans to re-establish an affiliated school this fall. After several years without an official training institution, the launch accompanies the upcoming opening of PAB's new purpose-built Louise Reed Center For Dance. PAB II director William DeGregory will lead the academy with celebrated dancer Aranxta Ochoa as a principal instructor.

 

Last week, we told you to eat more chocolate. Add popcorn to that snacking list, too. The American Chemical Society just discovered that popcorn contains more antioxidants than any other snack. While a serving of fruit contains about 160 milligrams of polyphenols (a plant-based chemical that helps neutralize free radicals that cause damage in the body), a serving of plain popcorn contains up to 300 milligrams.

Choreographer Avichai Scher has made a name for himself in a most curious way. Generally, audiences don't come to Scher's self-produced shows to see his work. They come for the top dancers he hires: New York City Ballet’s Ashley Bouder, American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes, San Francisco Ballet’s Sofiane Sylve, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Carla Korbes. It's kind of astounding.

Nigel Lythgoe, the producer of So You Think You Can Dance, is launching another reality dance show. A Chance to Dance will follow Michael Nunn and William Trevitt of UK's BalletBoyz as they search the US for talented dancers to form a new company. The show will premiere August 17 on Ovation TV. Any dancer over the age of 18 is invited to audition.

 

Before March comes to a close, I had to share one last photo from our gorgeous "A Day In The Life" shoot with American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland. This is one of my personal favorites from an overflowing stack of outtakes. Her legs are just so long!

 

 

Looking to shed a few pounds? Try eating chocolate more often. Yup, you read that right. A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who frequently eat chocolate tend to have lower body mass indexes. They are roughly five to seven pounds lighter than people who keep away from cocoa.

The Joffrey Ballet School in New York is giving away an unprecendented number of scholarships this year. And one of the ways they're scouting talented recruits is through DanceMedia. Submit a 1 to 3 minute video of yourself in performance or in the studio to enter to win a full-tuition scholarship at one of the school's summer programs. A panel of DanceMedia editors will choose 10 promising students from the March contestants.

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Pennsylvania Ballet was hit hard. A number of company members suffered or died from the virus. Compelled to do something, their colleagues rallied. They produced a special performance called Shut Up & Dance to benefit MANNA, a local organization that delivers nourishing meals and counsel to those infected.