Student Opportunities

Daniel Ulbricht: Choreographer


New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht, who regularly soars through such sensational roles as Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, recently took on a challenge that kept him focused on the classroom: He choreographed his first neoclassical ballet on 14 students from Ballet Academy East, the Manhattan school where he’s taught for the last two years, for the studio’s February performances.


Determined to work as efficiently as possible, he came to each rehearsal with a list of steps he’d thought of while listening to Rachmaninoff’s Second Suite for Two Pianos. If an inspiration led to a traffic jam of bodies, he eased the tension by saying, with a grin, “I think we’re going to have to work on this.” Advice a professional wouldn’t need—“Breathe when you take that step”—came as a revelation to the students.

“Daniel is a very positive, giving teacher,” says Darla Hoover, BAE associate artistic director. “He pays attention to each student during every class; his inspiration is contagious.”


After 10 years of dancing Balan­chine, Martins and Robbins, Ulbricht has absorbed a variety of ways to keep a stage alive. “I’m gratefully helping myself to what they taught me,” he says. “For example: Don’t try to match every note to a movement. Give the music room to breathe. Give the audience time to see the ballet.”


But why did he call his ballet Rachmaninoff 176? His answer reminds you that Ulbricht also dances the ultimate prankster, Puck, in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “The music was for two pianos. A piano has 88 keys. Do the math.” —Harris Green

Study In Salzburg


If company auditions are just around the corner but you don’t feel quite ready, brush up your professional skills this summer in Austria. Led by Salzburg Ballet director Peter Breuer, the Salzburg International Ballet Workshop immerses you in the life of a professional.


Dates: July 12–August 9.
Requirements: Open to advanced dancers ages 14–28. There is no deadline to apply, but space is limited to 90 students. 
Classes: Ballet, pointe, men’s, pas de deux, variations, repertoire, modern, jazz, choreography, Pilates
Extras: Resumé writing, audition preparation, stage makeup, lighting, costumes, photography sessions (for minimal extra charge)
Performances: Four shows in three different theaters, all filmed for students to use on an audition DVD.

For The Love Of It


Can you put your passion for ballet into words? The Jessica Karrat Scholarship Fund annually awards scholarships of up to $1,000 to a handful of dancers who write an essay that convinces a selection committee that they truly love to dance. “We want to hear about your dreams, the way the music talks to you, the way you feel when you’re in front of an audience,” says Barbara Klinger, president of the fund. Applications (due June 30) are available at —Jennifer Stahl

Dancing For Veggetti


This spring, Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti created Hibiki Hana Ma on six dance majors at SUNY Purchase. Junior Addison Reese says the biggest challenge was mastering Veggetti’s unique movement style: “It was unlike anything I’d ever done before.”
What is Veggetti like in rehearsal?
Very specific! He spoke a lot about impetus and how he wanted the energy  or tension to be kept or released.
How much were the dancers part of his process?
It was a lot of partnering, so instead of giving us exact steps, Luca would dance with us to see where we naturally felt we should go. Then he molded our movement from there.
How would you describe his movement?
It’s like a wave that never crashes—very muscular and never-ending.


Find out more about this project on

TIP: How can first-timers perform well at a competition?   
Everyone around you will be intensely nervous. The hardest part is waiting in the wings. Don’t watch the dancers before you, especially if the audience is very loud or very quiet. Keep stretching and focus on the artistry that you need to bring to the stage, but don’t overthink the steps—they should be in your body by that point. Once you get out there, dance the variation as if it’s the first time, and the last time.  
—Sara Michelle Murawski, corps de ballet, Dresden SemperOper Ballett

Latest Posts

Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

2020 Stars of the Corps: American Ballet Theatre's Wanyue Qiao

When the curtain opens on Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, there are two women onstage, wearing striped pants and tops, and sneakers. By the end, after almost 40 minutes of high-intensity dancing, they've stripped down to red leotards, their fists lifted victoriously. Wanyue Qiao danced one of these athletic superwomen last year during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was her first major role, after three years in the corps, and she couldn't have been more fierce. "To be honest, I had never done this kind of dance before, and I wasn't sure if it was my style," she says. Tharp encouraged her, and helped her to find her warrior side. "She showed not just her strength, coordination and ability, but courage," says ballet master Susan Jones, who assisted Tharp in the staging.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Butternut Squash Takes Center Stage This Fall—Plus, 2 Easy Recipes

Whether it's cubed and roasted or puréed into a comforting soup, butternut squash takes center stage this fall. The flavorful seasonal favorite is an excellent nutritional choice for dancers. Here's what's packed into one serving:

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks