News

Why You Need to Apply to YoungArts

Sarah Lamb in Giselle.
Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House.

Are you a dancer between the ages of 15 and 18, or in high school grades 10–12? Are you interested in receiving scholarships (up to $10,000), working with mentors like Mikhail Baryshnikov and having a chance to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts? Then the National YoungArts Foundation wants to hear from you. Now through October 13, 2017, the nonprofit organization is accepting applications for students interested in becoming a 2018 YoungArts winner. And just in case you're wondering, past participants include American Ballet Theatre's Sarah Lane, The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb and English National Ballet's Precious Adams—so it's a pretty big deal.


All winners are eligible to participate in one of YoungArts' regional programs in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Selected finalists are further invited to National Arts Week, held each January in Miami. This all-expenses-paid week includes master classes and workshops with dance luminaries, as well as performance opportunities. So what are you waiting for? For more information on how to apply, click here. (Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.) Then check out the short film below for tips on how to make a great application video.

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

Ballet Training
Kali Kleiman performing at YAGP's New York Finals. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

As someone who has judged many ballet competitions, I've had the opportunity to see some breathtaking contemporary solos that combine fantastic technique with well-conceived choreography. Yet it's often hard for us judges to see the artistic intention behind these solos the way we can when watching a classical variation. For one thing, we're simply more familiar with classical ballet's repertoire and characters. But also, when a contemporary solo is just a string of one trick after another, or only delivers one emotion (such as overwrought angst), we don't get to see any artistic depth.

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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 Stars
Elle Macy in Benjamin Millepied's Appassionata. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Cross-training misconceptions: Before Elle Macy became an apprentice with Pacific Northwest Ballet, she was apprehensive about cross-training. "I was warned that it might bulk you, or not to do certain activities because they could potentially injure you." But a stress fracture in her foot changed her perspective. Unable to bear much weight, Macy reluctantly tried stationary biking at her physical therapist's suggestion. "What I learned is that you're not going to get injured from being on an elliptical for 20 minutes or by taking a Pilates class," says Macy. Today, it's not uncommon to find the soloist training on the elliptical, doing ankle stability exercises, using the Pilates reformer or taking a hot yoga class.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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