Do you have any tips for starting at a new studio? How can I impress the teachers and make friends? —Jaclyn


Being the new dancer is never easy, but hopefully you'll be able to make a quick transition. Friendliness always helps break the ice, so make an effort to introduce yourself to your classmates and teachers. For the first few weeks, be observant in class—your new instructors may teach differently and be more or less strict than what you're used to. Show them that you're focused, apply their corrections and don't be afraid to ask questions after class if you need help understanding a concept.

You may feel shy around your classmates, but try to initiate conversations and ask them questions about themselves before or after class. They're probably curious about you, as well! And keep in mind that if the school has a competitive environment, some dancers may feel a little threatened by the arrival of new talent. I've always found that those feelings lessen as you get to know someone, so have patience—and be yourself. With time, you'll find a new set of dance friends.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Ballet Stars
From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.

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Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
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Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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