Kindness Trumps Anxiety

Isn't it funny how you can be totally confident performing for a full house, but the thought of walking into a summer intensive class where you don't know anyone fills you with nerves? Or maybe you feel fine spending time with your best friend, but you feel anxious when you're with a larger group from your studio.

According to a new study, there's a very easy (and just plain nice) way to reduce social anxiety. Research published in the journal Motivation and Emotion found that acts of kindness can help reduce the avoidant behavior that comes with feeling socially anxious. Anxious people are more likely to avoid social situations because they fear negative outcomes like rejection. In the study, researchers assigned socially anxious college students to one of three groups to test different methods for reducing anxiety over a period of four weeks.

The result? The students who performed acts of kindness, like doing a roommate's dishes or making a donation to a charity, had the most positive results, experiencing lower levels of anxiety and becoming less likely to avoid social situations. Next time you're feeling wary, the solution might be as simple as complimenting the girl next to you at the barre or offering to go over tricky choreography with a fellow dancer. Don't underestimate the power of positive energy.

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How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Ballet companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet all pledged that #BalletRelevesBlackLives, an online campaign to show solidarity with the Black community. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

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Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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