It's no secret that negative thoughts—the kind that circle around and around in your mind— can make it harder to sleep. Maybe you're nervous about taking on a new role in an upcoming performance, or daunted by a busy rehearsal schedule. Previous research has noted the link between lack of sleep and the development of repetitive negative thoughts. But a new study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research found that when you go to bed, as well as how long you sleep at a time, could affect your ability to stop worrying.

Researchers asked 100 students at Binghamton University to complete a set of questionnaires and computerized tasks, to measure how much they ruminate. The students were also questioned about their sleeping habits, such as whether they considered themselves "morning" or "night" people, and whether they followed a routine sleeping schedule. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the results showed that people who get to bed later and sleep for shorter periods tend to have more negative thoughts during the day than those who keep to a more regular sleeping pattern. This was true even for the self-described night owls. So, to help yourself have a positive outlook even when you're feeling overwhelmed, try turning in a little earlier and bringing some consistency back to your sleep schedule.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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