Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has been director-less for nearly a year. Longtime leader Benoit-Swan Pouffer, who shaped the company into an avant-garde powerhouse with a European accent, stepped down last May. Yesterday, however, it was announced that Alexandra Damiani will become Cedar Lake's new artistic director.

What does that mean? Well, as Cedar Lake's ballet master, Damiani was Pouffer's right-hand woman for many years, and she stayed his course during her time as interim director. So a dramatic change of vision for the company seems unlikely. That's fine by us; Cedar Lake's distinctive repertory fills a hole in the American ballet scene.

Here's the interesting part: Cedar Lake has also named Crystal Pite associate choreographer. Pite has already made two pieces for the company, and its dancers seem especially well-suited to her intricate, imaginative choreography. She'll create at least two more works for Cedar Lake over the next three years. We're excited to see what will come out of her deeper involvement with the company.

Health & Body
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I have very tapered Morton's toes (longer second toes). My big toe joints are about a half centimeter shorter than my second and third toe joints, so I have a terrible time finding stability on demi-pointe. My weight lands on that second toe joint, which is pretty narrow and uncomfortable under that pressure. How can I find a more stable relevé? —Larissa

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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The National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Emma Hawes in Orpheus Alive. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

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