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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Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

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Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

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Karina González in Ben Stevenson's Coppélia. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Are you more of a Giselle or a Juliet?

I've always said that my favorite role is Juliet, because of her vulnerability and maturity throughout the ballet. But now that I've performed Giselle, I find her so incredibly enjoyable, from being a village girl who falls in love for the first time to the most tender, almost weightless dancing in Act II.

Are you more at home in the studio or onstage?

I love the time in the studio. The process of starting from zero to getting better each day is so rewarding. My favorite phrase in rehearsals is "Let's do it again, so I can sleep in peace tonight." I need to feel so comfortable in the studio so that when I am onstage there are no bad surprises.

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Dancers certainly don't need anyone to tell them how physical their profession is. But now, we have the data to prove it.

Researchers at InsuranceProviders.com analyzed data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a national organization developed through support from the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, to determine the 20 most physically demanding jobs in the country. They analyzed the level of strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination required for a host of jobs, and each category was assigned

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