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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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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