Editor's Letter: Be Your Own Best Advocate

(Photo by Nathan Sayers)

At our cover shoot, American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary was so easygoing that it was hard to believe she was just a few weeks away from her big debut as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. It’s also hard to believe that in just a few short years, she’s gone from only taking ballet three times a week to being one of ABT’s most prominent rising stars. What’s her secret? Read our cover story to find out.

Of course, Trenary’s swift rise is unusual for such a young dancer. For those of you who are breaking into the professional world, leading roles may still be a few years away. But that doesn’t mean you should fly under the radar until then. Today’s technology makes it easy to share your talent with the world, whether through blogging, a YouTube channel or your social media pages. In “Building Brand ‘You,’ ” we look at how today’s dancers are creating their own personal “brands” to gain more visibility and connect with audiences. And you don’t have to pretend you’re a superstar to do so—the more authentic your voice, the better.

Many dancers have rewarding careers without rising to superstar level. Company life offers opportunities to grow both inside and outside the studio. I was in the corps de ballet my entire career, but I found ways to get involved as a union representative and pointe shoe manager. In “Taking the Lead,” writer Julie Diana talks to three dancers whose leadership roles give their careers greater meaning. Often it’s as simple as setting a good example for others.

As you read through our Career Issue, be sure to check out our “Professional Resource Guide.” Whether you’re looking for open classes near you or custom pointe shoes, this listing will give you the tools you need to start your career off right. In the professional world, you are your own best advocate, so get ready to take the reins!

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The Washington Ballet's NEXTsteps program opens this week. Here are company dancers Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Alexandros Papajohn. Procopio Photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

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Stella Abrera in Le Corsaire. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

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