Since joining American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in 2008, Russian-born Daniil Simkin has become a fixture in the New York City dance scene. In addition to performing leading roles with ABT in everything from Giselle to Whipped Cream, Simkin has also spearheaded his own side projects like 2015's INTENSIO and, most recently, his Falls the Shadow at the Guggenheim Museum's rotunda.


But Simkin has just announced that he'll be calling Germany home in fall of 2018, when he will officially join Staatsballett Berlin for the company's 2018–19 season. Simkin's new role coincides with the start of the company's new directors, Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman, an announcement which caused a ton of backlash when it was decided upon last fall.

With Simkin's international fame, we're not totally surprised by the move, but we are pleased to see that he won't entirely be leaving NYC. In a press release from ABT, both Simkin and ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie stated that Simkin will continue to perform with ABT (schedule permitting).

On his future with Staatsballett, Simkin said, "Having grown up in Germany, I am looking forward to returning with everything that ABT has taught me and to joining Staatsballett Berlin under the directorship of Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman...But as of now, I am just very excited for the Fall season to begin and cannot wait for another great year at ABT!"

Given Simkin's use of technology in his dance works, he's bound to keep us updated on his next adventure via social media. But in the meantime, we'll use this as an excuse to catch as many shows as possible in the upcoming season with ABT.

Larke Johnson in rehearsal. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Marie and Franz have a new guest at their Christmas Eve party this year. Emma Lookatch and Larke Johnson, both dancers in the Adaptive Dance Program at Joffrey Academy of Dance: Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, are alternating in the new role of Worker Girl. It is a permanent part created specifically for students with disabilities in Christopher Wheeldon's version of The Nutcracker at The Joffrey Ballet.

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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Ballet Training
Ballet Austin Academy students practice priouette en dehors. Annie Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Michelle Martin, associate artistic director of Ballet Austin, says that pirouettes en dehors from fourth position allongé are full of "traps" for dancers. Whether you trained with a straight back leg or have never tried it before, Martin's analytical breakdown will help you master this basic but dazzling turn.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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