Lately, it seems like mentorship is having something of a moment: Many pro dancers are coming up with creative ways to give back to the dance community and act as a resource for young students striving to reach the top. Take Kathryn Morgan, who started her own blog and YouTube channel to pull back the curtain on the ballet world, and writes an advice column for Dance Spirit. Or David Hallberg, who's opened up about the challenges of being a young male ballet dancer, and worked to mentor boys at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Or New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, who shares advice in her "Ask Megan!" podcast.
The newest example comes from four current and former members of ABT: Sarah Lane, Craig Salstein, Luis Ribagorda and Eric Tamm recently launched Ballet Mentor, an online program that allows members to connect directly with professional dancers, who can answer questions and offer guidance on navigating a ballet career—everything from audition advice to technique tips to what company life is like. "Ballet Mentor was created to fill a void that I myself experienced as a young aspiring artist, from a family with no dance background, trying to figure out what it takes to make it in the professional dance world," Tamm writes in a letter on the platform's website.
The lineup so far has plenty of starpower: Mentors include ABT's Gillian Murphy and Calvin Royal III, NYCB's Sara Mearns and Houston Ballet's Yuriko Kajiya. And the four founders hope to continue growing the platform and its offerings. In the meantime, their project already provides a great example of what can happen when dancers take networking into their own hands.