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Start the School Year Off Right With These Back-to-Class Tips

Though we wish summer could last forever, the weather's getting cooler and that back-to-school feel is in the air. Handling the delicate balance between academics and dance can be hard, particularly when coupled with the fear of slipping into bad habits and old routines. We're here to help you head into the year as your strongest, healthiest, most confident self.


Reinvigorate Your Technique

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What's the start of a new year for if not a chance to step your technique up to the next level? First off, set your goals for the year, and follow these tips on how to reach them. Next, follow this advice to eradicate common bad habits that could be holding you back. You may also want to refresh your approach to corrections. Hearing the same imagery from instructors again and again on the perfect pirouette or aligned arabesque can start to lose its meaning. Try these new approaches from expert teachers.

Say Goodbye to Jealousy

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It can be hard to be back in the studio when your peers are chatting about the amazing opportunities they had at their summer intensives and showing off their new tricks, but it's important to block out jealousy, rise above and realize that it can chip away at your self-esteem and feed immature behavior. Try following these tips to push back against the dreaded green monster.

Eat Well from the Start

Don't wait until you start to feel weak or sick to get your eating on track. Keep your dance bag stocked with healthy treats like this three-part trail mix of dry cereal, nuts and dried fruit, and make sure that you're drinking enough water. Tired of the taste? Add some berries or cucumber to vary the flavor. Keep your immune system strong by stocking your diet with a variety of foods high in iron. To build healthy bones (an especially important factor for young female dancers), look to this list of foods to ensure you're getting the nutrients you need.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

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Between homework, rehearsals, chores, meals and class, sleep often feels last on the list. But getting enough zzz's is crucial to warding off anxiety, keeping your immune system healthy and staying strong enough to get through a busy day. One study even shows that getting enough sleep can help to ward off unwanted negative thoughts throughout the day. Who would say no to that?

Keep Anxiety at Bay

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Transitions make it easy for anxieties to creep in, so in addition to maintaining physical wellbeing it's important to develop "good emotional hygiene" by creating balance in your life; try hobbies outside of dance, journal or make time to unwind with friends.

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Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Juha Mustonen, Courtesy Finnish National Ballet

Val Caniparoli Pulled Zoom All-Nighters For His Upcoming Premiere at Finnish National Ballet

Back in April, it seemed like everyone in the performing arts was either coping with company shutdowns or watching future work evaporate before their eyes. As seasons were canceled or pushed off into the unknown future, choreographer Val Caniparoli took a deep breath and focused on a glimmer of hope: Finnish National Ballet had commissioned him to develop a full-length Jekyll & Hyde, and was determined to move forward with its November world premiere. So, Caniparoli hunkered down in his apartment while honing his vision at all hours to build this psychological thriller into a reality.

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