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Boston Ballet soloist Chisako Oga. Jayme Thornton for Pointe

Join Us for an Exclusive Conversation With Boston Ballet's Chisako Oga on June 29!

Chisako Oga has already experienced so much in her short career. In one year, she went from being a San Francisco Ballet apprentice to a principal dancer at Cincinnati Ballet. Now, she's spreading her wings at Boston Ballet, where she's currently a soloist. In our May/June digital cover story, Oga talks about handling high-stakes pressure, from international ballet competitions to leading roles, as well as career disappointments. Through it all, she's managed to stay laser-focused on her goals while maintaining a healthy attitude and work–life balance. "The pandemic put things in perspective," she says. "Dancing is my passion. I want to do it as long as I can, but it's only one portion of my life."

Now you can have a chance to hear more about Oga's training and career path, ask for her advice, and much more in our exclusive virtual conversation. Click here to register for free with your questions. Then join us for a Zoom Q&A with Oga on Tuesday, June 29, at 4 pm EDT!

Gavin Larsen in Balanchine's Duo Concertant at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Blaine Covert, Courtesy University Press of Florida

"Being a Ballerina: The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life" Gives a Vivid Portrayal of the Working Dancer

Before reading her excellent memoir, Being a Ballerina: The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life (University Press of Florida, $26.95), I'd never heard of Gavin Larsen. She isn't a famous superstar ballerina with a first-tier company promising revelations of juicy celebrity gossip and salacious liaisons. She has no rags-to-riches history, no heartbreaking backstory of overcoming great odds. She was, in fact, a hard-working, successful, very skilled professional ballerina for 18 years, retiring in 2010 as principal of Oregon Ballet Theatre, with previous stints including Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Alberta Ballet.

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Feeling Unchallenged? Here’s How to Advocate for Advancement in Your Company

You're performing well year after year, but you're still not being cast in larger roles. Your work ethic and technique are strong, but, for some reason, your director hasn't approached you about advancing in the company. Many dancers face this very dilemma—they're ready for a new challenge, but featured roles or a promotion don't seem to be on the horizon.

When opportunity doesn't knock first, it may be time to approach the door and do some knocking of your own. "I've been having those conversations with my director since I joined, which is rare," says Amanda Morgan, a fifth-year corps de ballet dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet. She believes directors are waiting for dancers to advocate for themselves. If you're wondering how you can be more proactive, here are a few questions to help prompt your preparation.

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Katie Ging Photography, Courtesy Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh

Why This School Decided to Hold Its "Nutcracker" in June

A growing Christmas tree. Angels and mice. Flowers and a sugarplum. Snow. Last week, the curtain rose on a festive performance of The Nutcracker…in June?

The pandemic has brought all sorts of odd workarounds for dance studios, from virtual classes to outdoor performances. But when COVID-19 threatened Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh's annual Nutcracker, the school decided to make an especially bold pivot: to hold it in early June, when most schools are doing their end-of-year summer recitals.

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#TBT: Carla Fracci in "Coppélia" (1971)

The ballet community bid a bittersweet farewell on May 27 when the ever-luminous Italian ballerina Carla Fracci passed away from cancer. Fracci was beloved in Italy and around the world, having started her career at La Scala Ballet in Milan and then guesting internationally with The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and more. Later in her career, she returned to Italy to direct companies in Naples, Verona and Rome. Fracci performed into her 50s and was renowned for her dramatic abilities and stage presence. In this 1971 clip, she dances Swanilda's Act III variation from Coppélia—a tribute to her talent and generosity as a performer.

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