Suzannah Friscia's blog

Calling all high school-aged dancers! On Tuesday, the National YoungArts Foundation announced that the application to become a 2016 YoungArts Winner is now open. Since 1981, the nonprofit has nurtured and supported promising young talent in the visual, literary, design and performing arts.

 

In what's proving to be a year of many ballerina retirements, Paris Ópera Ballet star Aurélie Dupont has announced that she will step down from the company next month. The 42-year-old dancer has been with the Ópera for 32 years, and has been an étoile for 17 of them. Her final performance on May 18, in L’Histoire de Manon, will reach an audience far beyond Paris: It will be shown in 350 cinemas throughout Europe, and later screened in 100 theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

If you like to cross-train by running or biking, you're probably looking forward to exercising outside as we head into milder temperatures. But new research suggests that where you run may matter more than you think. A study published in The BMJ found that women who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution were more likely to experience anxiety. Participants tended to have higher anxiety symptoms just by living within 200 meters of a major road—and exposure to pollution increases when you're outside.

Hearing the opening chords of a new ballet you're rehearsing. That moment when you take a final bow after a performance. The repetitive beauty of your daily barre exercises. What do all of these experiences have in common? They're moments when a dancer may feel awestruck. And according to recent research, each time you experience awe, you're improving your health.

As a dancer, you know how essential sleep is for keeping your body healthy and energized. But you also know how a chaotic rehearsal schedule or stressful upcoming performance can interfere.

What is a "superfood," and is there really such a thing? Though it's misleading to think that one food can give you all the nutrition you need, superfoods are typically described as offering multiple nutrients and potential health benefits.

Ballet fans have been anticipating Paloma Herrera's final performance with American Ballet Theatre since she announced her retirement this past fall.

Ballet San Jose, the Silicon Valley-based troupe led by former American Ballet Theatre star José Manuel Carreño, is facing shutdown if it fails to raise $550,000 by March 14. The company made the announcement earlier this week. BSJ launched a fundraising drive in January that's raised a little over half a million dollars, and now must match that figure in order to keep the company going. 

When you're anticipating a high-pressure audition, it's no wonder if your stress levels are heightened. And a little performance anxiety isn't necessarily a bad thing. But a recent study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology found that high stress levels could affect your confidence and decision-making skills in competitive situations.

You're probably not too excited when you look out your studio's window and see dreary, grey weather (especially if you've been affected by this season's blizzards). But it may be a good opportunity to improve your dancing.