How Do You Know?

This morning we had a cover shoot with one of my all-time favorite dancers who's a principal at a top company. She's reached a level of success that most dancers only dream of. Yet she told me that when she was young, she never thought she'd get hired as a dancer. There was always someone better. There was always something she needed to improve.

 

It made me think, If even a dancer of this caliber had doubts about "making it," how many ever really know they have what it takes? Pointe gets letters from students all the time asking,  "Will I really be able to make a career out of my passion?" 

 

Ballet is an uncertain field where every director has different tastes and the competition for jobs is insane. Students devote their lives to the art without ever really knowing if all those hours in the studio will pay off. So many sacrifice so much—a social life, their feet, going to a normal school, living with their families—all in pursuit of a dream that may never come. It's one of the inspiring things about our world, as well as one of the most heart breaking.

 

Whenever you have an off day or are feeling afraid or unsure, remember this: Most of your idols were once in the same shoes you're in now. I bet just about every one of them questioned their future in ballet at one point.

 

There are no guarantees in life, and even fewer in ballet, but if you approach the challenge with the right attitude and give it everything you've got, it can only help to make you an even better dancer.

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Vikki Sloviter

Sydney Dolan Takes Center Stage at Pennsylvania Ballet

This is Pointe's Summer 2020 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

Just days before the world shuttered under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, and the curtain came down indefinitely on dance companies everywhere, Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Sydney Dolan debuted Gamzatti in La Bayadère with captivating ease. Her jumps soared, her technique was sound, and her cheeky smile paired with exquisite port de bras was beguiling. Though she didn't know the company would soon cancel the remainder of its season, her beautiful performance acted as a kind of send-off into the unknown.

Dolan's career could be described in one word: charmed. At just 19 years old, she's flown through the ranks at PAB, debuted a long list of roles, won a Princess Grace Award and been named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Yet it's her challenges that have shaped not only her training but her outlook, giving her a solid foundation for becoming one of Pennsylvania Ballet's rising stars.

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VAM/Siggul, Courtesy YAGP

YAGP Has Announced the Winners of the 2020 Pas De Deux Virtual Competition

Last weekend, Youth America Grand Prix took to the internet, hosting its first virtual pas de deux competition. Over the course of three days, YAGP streamed videos from its regional events' highest-ranked competitors for a panel of esteemed judges. And, drum roll please... YAGP has just announced the winners, spanning three categories: Senior Classical, Junior Classical and Contemporary.

You can watch the full virtual awards ceremony, hosted by YAGP director of external affairs Sergey Gordeev, below, or scroll down for the list of winners. And if you're missing the thrill of competition, don't fear: Gordeev announced that registration for the 2021 season will open on July 10, with both in-person and virtual options available.

Congratulations to all!

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Defining and Refining Musicality: How to Tune In and Develop Your Artistic Voice

Ask a hundred people what musicality is, and you're likely to get a hundred different answers. "Musicality is where an artist's personality shines brightest," says Smuin Contemporary Ballet member Ben Needham-Wood. For American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt, "it's what distinguishes one dancer from another. It helps me express myself more vividly and emotionally."

Teachers encourage it, directors seek it out and dancers who possess it bring choreography to life in compelling ways. But what exactly is musicality, and how can dancers get more of it?

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