Jennifer Garner wants the world to know that she takes game day seriously—and she's not talking about football. For ballet dancers during December, there's obviously only one type of "game day." Nutcracker, of course.

Garner is a highly documented ballet lover, and, this time, she went the extra mile to show her dedication. Thankfully, she was on hand as American Ballet Theatre warmed up for its current Nutcracker run at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.


Without Garner, who else would tie Betsy McBride's pointe shoes and personally massage her calves? Or put Stella Abrera's hair in a bun? Or not-so-artfully apply Courtney Shealy's false eyelashes?

Frankly, we're not sure if the curtain could have gone up without Garner, clad in a soldier suit and frantically waving her giant foam finger throughout the theater.

All joking aside, we love how she continually uses her platform to bring wider attention to dance, and we couldn't agree more with her advice for the season: "If you want to feel holiday happiness: find and see your local Nutcracker!!"

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Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

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Darian Volkova, Courtesy Shayer

After years of rigorous training, ballet dancers become accustomed to constructive and oftentimes harsh criticism. Being scrutinized is something that comes with the territory.

I myself spent the better half of my high school years in Russia, where political correctness does not get in the way of progress. We were trained to use criticism as fuel to propel us forward. Everything said in class or rehearsal was meant to help better ourselves and not to be taken personally.

But where is the line between helpful advice and offensive language?

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News
Greta Hodgkinson and Guillaume Côté in Margeurite and Armand. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

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Training
Students at Sun King Dance's Adult Ballet Camp. Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography, Courtesy Sun King Dance.

For adult recreational dancers, summer isn't just a time for swapping out warm-up sweaters for breezy tees—it's also about taking your training to the next level, and perhaps packing your bags for a ballet workshop. Why should teens and pre-professionals have all of the fun? Fortunately, there are scores of adult summer programs all over the United States, and even abroad for those of you looking to sprinkle in a little sightseeing after your final reverénce. (Can't wait for summer? Check out these spring workshops at National Ballet of Canada and Sarasota Ballet.)

What can adults expect from a weekend or a week of dance training? Everything from technique to repertoire to yoga. Most of all, it's a chance to just dig in and dance, without a pesky to-do list waiting for you after class. Here are some summer programs designed for adult recreational dancers to keep on your radar.

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