American Ballet Theatre's Cassandra Trenary seems to have it all—not only is our June/July 2016 cover star a dazzling soloist at ABT, she has a sunny, down-to-earth personality and a life-saving hero for a husband. But her first year in the company had its fair share of disappointments—in fact, she almost left dance altogether to pursue acting.

In May, the National YoungArts Foundation, an organization that provides cash awards and mentorship to aspiring performing artists, brought Trenary (herself a 2011 YoungArts winner) and ABT artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky together for a salon-style discussion. Together they talked about critical turning points in their careers, as well as the challenges of navigating the dance world as a young professional. Below are exclusive excerpts of their interview—we hope their words inspire you as much as they inspire us!



There's still time to enter YoungArts's national arts competition for a chance at cash awards, workshops and more. Click here for information on how to apply.

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Sarah Lamb in Giselle.
Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House.

Are you a dancer between the ages of 15 and 18, or in high school grades 10–12? Are you interested in receiving scholarships (up to $10,000), working with mentors like Mikhail Baryshnikov and having a chance to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts? Then the National YoungArts Foundation wants to hear from you. Now through October 13, 2017, the nonprofit organization is accepting applications for students interested in becoming a 2018 YoungArts winner. And just in case you're wondering, past participants include American Ballet Theatre's Sarah Lane, The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb and English National Ballet's Precious Adams—so it's a pretty big deal.

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ABT's Sarah Lane is a YoungArts alum. Photo by Nathan Sayers

It's that time of year again: Applications to become a 2017 YoungArts Winner are now open. Every year, the National YoungArts Foundation offers awards to promising high school-aged artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts—and those awards come with some seriously exciting opportunities.

Winners have the chance to earn cash prizes and scholarships, work with mentors like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jacques d'Amboise, and perform at top venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the New World Center in Miami. In January, finalists are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week in Miami, seven days of master classes, workshops and performances. You could also be nominated to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts—one of the highest honors a high school senior can receive.

Possibly the best part? Winners join a network of over 20,000 YoungArts alumni, which includes dancers like American Ballet Theatre’s Sarah Lane, Miami City Ballet’s Callie Manning and Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Desmond Richardson.

To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 15 and 18, or in grades 10–12 (as of December 1, 2016), and you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Applications opened this month, and you have until October 14, 2016 to apply. So, what are you waiting for?

 

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