News

It turns out that Queen Elizabeth was quite a fan—and friend—of Sir Frederick Ashton. A new book is publishing many of her private letters, including the one at right to the Royal Ballet choreographer. Check out her sketch of "ballet on a pinnacle"!

Now that fall's officially here, it's time to get down to business. But while it’s important to work hard in the studio, make sure you know when to take a break. A recent study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that exercise, like anything else, can be harmful when over done. According to Dr. James O’Keefe of the Mid America Heart Institute of St. Luke’s Hospital, when an athlete exercises intensely for excessive amounts of time, the heart muscle begins to tear and releases troponin, the same enzyme that signals damage during a heart attack.

Start spreading the news: Valentina Kozlova is moving her competition to New York City. The Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition, formerly known as the Boston International Ballet Competition, will take place in June 2013 in Manhattan. The event is open to professional and pre-preprofessional entrants aged 13–25.

The level of ballet training offered at the college level seems to be rising every year. Just take a look through the programs in our higher education guide, and you'll find dozens of schools with quality classical programs.

 

It's the end of the week, and if you're like most dancers I know, your body is sore and achy all over. Well-meaning friends and teachers will probably tell you to hop in an Epsom salt bath. But will that actually help? Maybe, but most of the benefit comes from the bath, not the salt.

Heads up Angelenos: Los Angeles Ballet is launching a new outreach program, led by principal ballerina Allynne Noelle, along with dancer Christopher McDaniel. Their two-pronged goal is to enrich their community and bring awareness to the company. On one Sunday each month, they’ll offer a community day full of classes, lectures and events.

This weekend, the ballet world lost one of its best. Yvonne Mounsey, director of Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, California, passed away at age 93. Mounsey started her career at 20 with Colonel de Basil's Ballet Russes. While the company was on their U.S. tour in 1940-41, she met George Balanchine, who later asked her to join New York City Ballet.

Modern dance companies have been performing in quirky places since the days of Judson. But ballet has its share of branching out of the theater, too. Last weekend, 20 dancers from Russia's Yekaterinburg Ballet performed in a car factory—right alongside plant workers doing their jobs! A temporary stage was installed directly in the factory for the one-act ballet, H2O, performed as part of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.

You’ve always suspected that you’re different from your civilian, non-dancer friends. It turns out that science can back you up. According to a study published in PloS Genetics, dancers show consistent differences from the general population in two key genes. One contributes to spiritual experience, and the other modulates social communication and bonding behaviors.

Blisters are like irritating little sisters. While they aren't truly traumatic or career-threatening, for ballet dancers, they can be an almost constant annoyance, continually nagging at your toes with pinches of pain.

 

So what's a bunhead to do? Toe pads help, but there's more to blister care than stuffing your pointe shoes full of padding.

 

1. Get fitted by a professional. Feet change over time, so if you suddenly have blisters popping up, last year's maker may no longer be right for you.