My studio purchased practice tutus with seven stiff layers to use in a performance. Even after tacking the layers together, the tutus want to turn inside out when we leap and stay stuck upward. Do you have any advice? —Lisa

If you're going to use the tutus for a performance, you should probably ask your costume manager for help before taking one apart—especially if you're all thumbs when it comes to sewing. But if you don't have one at your studio, I asked costume designer Holly Hynes for her insights. She suspects the hoop inside the tutu is too tight, which is causing it to flip and, unfortunately, stay up. Luckily, you should be able to enlarge its circumference.


The hoop, which helps the tutu retain its shape, is buried within the middle layers of tulle. If you stick your finger through the layers, you should be able to find it—it's encased in a tulle sleeve. Hynes notes that making the hoop bigger will make the tutu fullness spread, so untack the layers first. Afterwards, feel around the casing until you find where the hoop's ends fasten together. Using a seam ripper, open a small slit in the casing to expose the fastener, and adjust the hoop's size by pulling the ends gently. There should be an overlap of about two inches. "You'll probably only need an inch," says Hynes. Once adjusted, stitch the casing back up and re-tack the skirt.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

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The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

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Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

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Getty Images

I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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