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Nutcracker Beauty 9-1-1

Photo by Sterling Baca, Courtesy Dayesi Torriente.

Whether you're on performance 1 or 21, sweaty stage makeup and layers of hairspray take a toll on your hair and skin. Read on for top tips from dermatologists and dancers to get you through Nutcracker season.

Photo by Nathan Sayers


HAIR

1) Wash Hair Daily: Dove DermaCare Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $4.89
Forget what you've heard about washing your hair daily being damaging. In fact, Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Dayesi Torriente swears by washing her hair each night, and New York City–based dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco agrees. "If you are sweating a lot, have thin, oily hair or dandruff, daily cleansing is important," says Fusco. She recommends a shampoo like Dove's for anyone with a sensitive scalp because of the pyrithione zinc, which hydrates while cleansing and eliminating flakes.

2) Go Alcohol-Free: Kenra Professional Shaping Spray 21, $19
While it's impossible to get your hair stage-ready without styling products, it is possible to avoid using anything that will cause more damage. Fusco recommends an alcohol-free hairspray like Kenra's since the alcohol in traditional hairsprays dries hair out.

3) Treat Hair While You Dance: Ouai Hair Oil, $28
For extra TLC, smooth a few drops of hair oil from the mid-lengths to the ends of your hair to hydrate and help repair damage before pinning it into a bun. If you don't have one in your beauty arsenal, Fusco says that coconut oil is a great alternative because "it penetrates the hair shaft and reduces damage and protein loss."

4) Deep-Condition: Wella Oil Reflections Luminous Reboost Mask, $22
Restore moisture and shine by switching out your conditioner once each week for a nourishing mask like this camellia-seed oil and white tea extract option.

5) Give Your Scalp a Clean Slate: R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub, $38
Once you've danced your last Waltz of the Flowers, remove product buildup with a gentle scalp scrub. R+Co's uses ingredients like salicylic acid and kaolin to lift away leftover hairspray or gel while promoting scalp health.


Photo by Nathan Sayers

SKIN

1) Start and End Your Day With Clean Skin: Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash, $40
If you don't already have a skincare routine that consists of gentle cleansers and moisturizers, make sure to get into a habit. The Vitamin C Face Wash from facialist Joanna Vargas exfoliates to remove pimple-causing dirt and also hydrates thanks to hyaluronic acid. We're also partial to Cetaphil Skin Cleanser, $13.99, if you're looking for a drugstore option that's safe for sensitive skin types.

2) Invest in a Multi-Tasker: Glossier Super Bounce Serum, $28
To avoid further aggravating your skin, leave your face makeup- free in the morning and during onstage run-throughs. Then, when you're ready to apply your makeup, use a serum that will help moisturize and act as a makeup primer. Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care, recommends a serum with hyaluronic acid and dimethicone (like Glossier's) for "a treatment and primer in one."

3) Combat Cracked Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm, $3.99
To prevent your lips from drying out as you apply and remove lipstick for every show, keep a hydrating and repairing balm like this by your side. Not only can you use it at bedtime, but you can also apply a thin layer under your stage lipstick to help avoid chapped lips in the first place.

4) Start Masking: Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask, $3.99Mask, $3.99
"I follow my skincare routine as I normally do during Nutcracker, but I will add some moisturizing masks," says Pennsylvania Ballet's Torriente. This drugstore option uses hyaluronic acid and chamomile extract to hydrate and calm any inflammation, which makes it perfect to use either in the morning before you head to the theater, or at the end of the night when you're relaxing at home.

5) Keep Skin Hydrated: One Love Organics Vitamin D Moisture Mist, $39
Kansas City Ballet dancer Amanda DeVenuta uses this lightweight moisturizer-and-toner hybrid in the morning, throughout the day and at night after cleansing. "I also try to stick to organic products because I have moderately sensitive skin and find they work best for me," she says.

6) Don't Leave Makeup Behind: Province Apothecary Moisturizing Cleanser + Makeup Remover, $20
Another one of DeVenuta's must-have natural products smells like lavender and goes onto the skin like a hydrating oil. You can use it to remove stubborn makeup, like waterproof eyeliner and caked-on foundation.

7) Quick-Fix Makeup Remover: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, $6.99
When she's trying to get out of the theater fast, DeVenuta opts for makeup wipes. But relying on them solely can leave makeup behind and cause breakouts. "Clogged pores are most likely related to retained makeup and sweating," Tanzi says. "Make sure you wash your face well every night before bed and keep your room cool when sleeping."

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Angela Sterling, Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

Clear your schedule now for Monday, January 29th, 2:45PM (EST)/ 11:45AM (PST). Pacific Northwest Ballet will be live-streaming rehearsal from Kent Stowell's Swan Lake, straight from their Seattle, WA-based studios. To psych us up for their on stage performances February 2nd - 11th, PNB is letting us in on their Act II rehearsal.

From the corps of swans to Odette and Prince Siegfried's pas de deux, and the infamous four swans, this rehearsal is not to be missed. You can sign up now for a live-stream reminder on their site. In the meantime, we'll be brushing up on our Cygnets with this PNB sneak peek.

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Rigorous program, check. Well-rounded technical training, check. Purposeful liberal arts curriculum, check. Study your craft abroad, check! If you are looking for all the above, the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College truly has it all.

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Lopez in Circus Polka. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB.

When Miami City Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez was a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, she missed her opportunity to honor Jerome Robbins onstage. "Every time there was a celebration for Jerry, I was either injured or had just retired," says Lopez. "I was never able to publicly thank him onstage for all that he taught us and the beauty he left us."

But when Lopez was planning MCB's Jerome Robbins Celebration for the 100th anniversary of the legend's birth, she saw an opportunity. She asked the Robbins Trust to allow her to perform the Ringmaster in Robbins' Circus Polka, a role the choreographer originated himself.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

Summer Study Advice
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Videos are a great alternative when auditioning in person isn't possible. Here are some general guidelines for making a good impression.

1. Follow directions. Before filming, research what each school you're interested in requires. "It demonstrates your ability to follow instructions, and schools pay attention to that," says Kate Lydon, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre's summer intensives and the ABT Studio Company. "If the guidelines haven't been followed, your video might not be watched the whole way through." You may need to make multiple versions to accommodate different schools.

2. Videos should be no longer than 10 minutes. "Keep it short, simple and direct," advises Philip Neal, dance department chair at The Patel Conservatory and artistic director of Next Generation Ballet. "You have to be sensitive to how much time the director has to sit down and look at it." Barre can be abbreviated, showing only one side per exercise, alternating. Directors will be looking at fundamentals—placement, turnout, leg lines, stability—but don't ignore musicality or movement quality. Make sure music choices match combinations and are correctly synced in the footage.

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Career
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I want to be a professional dancer, but my parents won't listen. They either don't think I can do it (contrary to what my teachers have said) or they won't let me take the necessary steps to become a professional. Please help. —Audrey

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Videos

They say that pigeons mate for life—perhaps that's why these birds naturally symbolize the young lovers in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. In these two clips from a 1987 performance in Pisa, Alessandra Ferri and Robert LaFosse—then stars with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, respectively—dance a rapturous pas de deux at the end of Act II. With tiny pricks of her feet and bird-like flaps of her elbows in Part 1, Ferri marks her anguish, thinking she's been abandoned for another woman. Later, both she and LaFosse grow more and more entangled as they reconcile, Ferri dancing with the passionate abandon she's famous for. I love how in Part 2 (0:20), they can't seem to get enough of each other as their necks arch and intertwine. At the end of the ballet, two pigeons fly in to perch symbolically on the chair—er, there's supposed to be two. It looks like one missed its cue at this performance! No matter—Ferri and LaFosse's dancing make it clear that these young lovers are meant to be together for life. Happy #TBT!

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Summer Study Advice
The author at 13, rehearsing at her home studio, Ballet Arts Theater, in Endicott, NY. Courtesy McGuire.

This story originally appeared in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Pointe.

As a young student at a small ballet school in upstate New York, I was obsessed with getting into the School of American Ballet. From the age of 10, I entered class each day with the ultimate goal of studying at SAB dangling before me like a carrot on a stick. Every effort I made, every extra class I took was for the sole purpose of getting into what I thought was the only ballet school that really mattered.

I auditioned for SAB's summer program for the first time when I was 12. In the weeks that followed, I became a vulture hovering over my family's mail, squawking at my mother if the day's letters were not presented for my inspection when I walked through the door. The day the letter finally arrived, it was thin and limp. I cried for a week as I dealt with the crushing feeling of rejection for one of the first times in my life.

My mind filled with questions and self-doubt. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I good enough? I figured I must be too fat, too slow, my feet too flat. I had worked so hard. I had wished on every fallen eyelash and dead dandelion in pursuit of my single goal, just to have a three-paragraph form letter conclude that I was a failure. For a while, I let myself wallow in the comfort of my resentment, content to believe that success should have come easily, and that to fall was the same as to fail.

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