Have you ever taken a walk in the middle of the day and spent the whole time worrying about things that were bothering you? Maybe you were counting every mistake you made in your last class, or thinking of all the things you should have said during a conversation with your teacher. 


As it turns out, the fix might be as simple as changing where you walk. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending even a short time in natural environments may alter your mood and benefit your mental health. 

The researchers gathered a group of 38 adults and split them into two groups. Half the volunteers took a walk through a quiet green space on a college campus, while the others walked near a busy highway. They discovered (not surprisingly) that the nature walkers were less hung up on the negative parts of their lives than they were before the walk, and felt more soothed. The highway walkers tended to brood just as much as they had before. 

It's already known that people who live near green spaces or spend more time outdoors are usually less anxious and stressed than those in cities. But dancers who jump from auditions to summer intensives to rehearsals (many of which take place in urban areas) may not have the time to escape to nature for long. There's good news, though: Even strolling in a park may give you the same instantaneous benefits. The next time you need to clear your mind, seek out the nearest courtyard or green space.

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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