Is there anything you would change about yourself as a dancer?
Sometimes I get hung up on certain steps or phrases. When you have a moment that doesn’t go well, it’s hard to let that go and continue as if it didn’t affect you.

Do you ever suffer from stage fright?
 I do when I have to deal with heights. In Swan Lake, I run all the way up this giant rock and jump off the top, which is terrifying for me. It’s a stunning ending, but my goodness!

How far along are you in the LEAP program at St. Mary’s College?
I’m very close to graduating. I really enjoy the management and business classes and might move on to business school. Recently I helped organize a fundraiser for the Children of Uganda, and found that to be fascinating.

Do you have any pointe shoe quirks?
I rosin my foot, because I don’t like to move in the shoe. I want it really tight, so it’s almost like my foot and the shoe are one.

You’ve done several music video projects, right?
My friend Sean Hayes is a local musician, though his music is all over now—it’s actually in one of the Subaru commercials. I’ve been in two of his music videos, including “When We Fall In,” which is on YouTube. He’s a sweetheart and I really love his music.  

Who inspires you as a dancer?
I’ve always admired Wendy Whelan. I took a class with her in New York once when I was 11 years old and I was terrified. She was so kind and sweet and generous. What I admire is not only that someone is phenomenal as a dancer or artist, but that they’re a really good person, too.

What is your favorite way to spend time outside of dance?
Relaxing with my friends and my boyfriend. I enjoy football, so I watch the games on Sunday. Also, though this might sound odd, I really enjoy cleaning! I’m a big organizer. It’s very meditative for me.

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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News
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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