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Maurice Sendak's Surprising Connection to Ballet

Maurice Sendak's design for the battle scene in The Nutcracker. Photo by Janny Chiu © The Maurice Sendak Foundation, Courtesy Cultural Counsel

Beloved children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak might be best known for Where the Wild Things Are, but an ongoing exhibition at New York City's Morgan Library & Museum sheds light on one of his lesser-known artistic pursuits: set and costume design.


"Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet" puts his fantastical drawings, dioramas and storyboards on display alongside props and costumes—including some he designed for Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker in the early 1980s. The exhibition continues through October 6.

Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet youtu.be

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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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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

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Karina González in Ben Stevenson's Coppélia. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Are you more of a Giselle or a Juliet?

I've always said that my favorite role is Juliet, because of her vulnerability and maturity throughout the ballet. But now that I've performed Giselle, I find her so incredibly enjoyable, from being a village girl who falls in love for the first time to the most tender, almost weightless dancing in Act II.

Are you more at home in the studio or onstage?

I love the time in the studio. The process of starting from zero to getting better each day is so rewarding. My favorite phrase in rehearsals is "Let's do it again, so I can sleep in peace tonight." I need to feel so comfortable in the studio so that when I am onstage there are no bad surprises.

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Dancers certainly don't need anyone to tell them how physical their profession is. But now, we have the data to prove it.

Researchers at InsuranceProviders.com analyzed data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a national organization developed through support from the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, to determine the 20 most physically demanding jobs in the country. They analyzed the level of strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination required for a host of jobs, and each category was assigned

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