How does this New York City Ballet principal describe her style? “I recently met Drew Barrymore, and she was like, ‘You have such a rock star vibe—not at all what I’d expect of a ballerina!’ ” Mearns says. Black dominates, even in the summer. “Once it gets hot, I only wear dresses, but nothing too girly or colorful.” She spices up a muted ensemble with statement pieces, like an Alexander McQueen skull scarf or an oversized ring from Swarovski—she treats herself to a piece from the store at the end of every season. “I’m obsessed with sparkle,” she says. “Even my leg warmers have sequins.”


The Details—Studio
Purple scarf: “I always wear this for class. I like to feel bundled up.”
Freed of London pointe shoes, T maker: “I went through 250 pairs last year, second most in the company.”
American Apparel leotard: “The nylon fabric breathes better than cotton, and it has a low front, which looks nicer on my shorter neck.”


The Details—Street

Wedged sneakers from Target: “My mom buys a lot of my shoes, usually from Target. Recently, though, she got me my first pair of Louboutins: purple ankle booties.”
Black jeans: “Dark colors are more slimming on my legs. My best fashion investment was a pair of black leather pants from Ralph Lauren; they’re the warmest things ever.”
Cole Haan purse: “I use it as my dance bag and my everyday bag—it’s big enough for my shoes, and has shiny gold horsehair on the side.”
Jacket from H&M in Germany: “Yes, it’s missing a button. So me.”

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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