Whether it's spring performances, final exams or preparations for summer intensives, this can be a stressful time of year. While these bigger sources of stress are more obvious, some others aren't as easy to spot, and they can take a toll without you realizing it. Here are three less noticeable ones to keep in mind: 

1. Your friends' stress: If everyone in your studio is freaking out about an upcoming performance, you may feed off each other's nervous energy. A German study found that simply observing someone else complete a stressful task can increase production of the stress hormone cortisol. Try scheduling time with non-dance friends to get some outside perspective. 

2. Multitasking: You may think getting two things done at once would reduce stress, but a study from the University of Irvine found that participants who responded to e-mails all day in the middle of their other work had more fluctuations in their heart rates (a stress indicator). Giving your attention to one thing at a time can also help ensure you're giving it your best effort. Cramming for that science test while backstage at a dress rehearsal may not be the best idea. 

3. Texting instead of talking: Texting a friend can be a quick and fun break during a busy day, but it won't have the same positive effects as verbal conversation. A study published in Evolution & Human Behavior found that teenage girls who talked to their mothers on the phone or in person after a stressful event had lower cortisol levels than those who simply texted. Try giving that friend a call instead when you have a few minutes, and talk through whatever is on your mind.

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The Washington Ballet's NEXTsteps program opens this week. Here are company dancers Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Alexandros Papajohn. Procopio Photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

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Ballet West in rehearsal for Le Chant du Rossignol. Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West.

Ballet West opens its season October 25–November 2 with a triptych of works from George Balanchine's early choreographic career with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Highlighting the program is Balanchine's 1925 The Song of the Nightingale (Le Chant du Rossignol), never before seen in the U.S. This ballet is not only the first piece that a then-21-year-old Balanchine made for the Ballets Russes; it also marks his first collaboration with Igor Stravinsky, and features costumes by Henri Matisse. To bring it to Salt Lake City, Ballet West is working closely with Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, who reconstructed the work for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 1999.

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Stella Abrera in Le Corsaire. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre announced today that, after 24 years, beloved principal dancer Stella Abrera will retire from the stage this coming summer. Her farewell performance will be June 13, 2020, at the Metropolitan Opera House, dancing the title role in Giselle.

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