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Thinking About College Ballet Programs? Here's a Comprehensive Guide to the Application Process

Gone are the days when you had to skip college in order to have a successful ballet career. College ballet programs are better than ever before, providing students with the training, professional connections and performance experience they need to thrive in companies postgraduation. But given the number of elements involved in the application process, choosing the right program can feel daunting. We've broken the college application timeline down step by step to help you best approach each stage along the way.

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Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Academy's New Director on Dream Building During COVID-19

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

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Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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Richard Finkelstein, Courtesy USA IBC

The USA International Ballet Competition Has Been Rescheduled for 2023

The USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, announced today that its 2022 competition has been rescheduled for June 10–24, 2023. The prestigious event, which draws over 100 students and professional dancers from around the world, was last held in 2018 and typically runs every four years. Naturally, COVID-19 is to blame—the date move is part of a larger reshuffling of associated IBCs canceled this summer because of the pandemic.

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Sarah Ferguson, Courtesy Richmond Ballet

Richmond Ballet Is Back Onstage. Here’s How the Company Is Making It Work

It's a rare ballet company that can present three months of in-person performances despite (and amidst) the chaos of 2020. Against the odds, Richmond Ballet is doing just that, pulling off a COVID-era adaptation of its perennial Studio Series. Arriving at Richmond Ballet's Studio Theatre on a recent Thursday evening, I fully expected to feel discouraged by a highly, um, sanitized version of live dance performance. But dancers, artistic staff and audience members alike seem to be adjusting fast to the necessary precautions. After a few minutes, the dancers' masks and socially distant spacing mostly faded into the background.

For artistic director Stoner Winslett, it was never an option to cancel the entire season or go all-digital. "Our mission as a company is to awaken and uplift the human spirit," Winslett says. "Especially with the recent social unrest in our Richmond community and around the world, at this moment, we just didn't feel that being closed was right."

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