Ballet Careers
Allison DeBona teaching class at her artÉmotion summer intensive at Ballet West. Photo by Joshua Whitehead, Courtesy Ballet West.


After Ballet West first soloist Allison DeBona appeared on The CW's "Breaking Pointe," studio directors nationwide started calling her up, inviting her to teach master classes. Soon DeBona was traveling every month out of the year, honing her passion for coaching the next generation of artists.

While jet setting may not be in your future, regular teaching gigs are a great way to boost your resumé—and your income. Whether you're looking for layoff-season work or want to branch into coaching and choreography, dipping your toe in the teaching world is a smart way to start.

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Sarah Lane as Aurora in ABT's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

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.

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American Ballet Theatre Principals James Whiteside and Gillian Murphy on the set. Photo courtesy of Jeopardy!

“Ballet for 400!"

On Tuesday, November 17, for the second time, contestants on Jeopardy! will take a stab at ballet trivia with the help of dancers from American Ballet Theatre—another event to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary season. Look out for principals Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns and corps member Blaine Hoven, who will read clues and give demonstrations of ABT's repertoire. The first episode (which aired last May) featured James Whiteside, Craig Salstein, and Pointe cover girls Hee Seo, Sarah Lane and Misty Copeland.

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Salstein with Gemma Bond in the studio. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.
American Ballet Theatre soloist Craig Salstein knows a thing or two about juggling a busy schedule. Along with his performance career at ABT, he directs and choreographs for his own NYC-based group INTERMEZZO Dance Company. On Jan. 17-18 they'll perform From Myth to Philosophy, a program of five world premieres by Salstein, Adam Hendrickson, Ja'Malik, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Gemma Bond. We spoke with Salstein during the rehearsal process for Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter.

How do the dances relate to the program's name?
The pieces reference the idea of myths: narcissism, Hercules' triangle of love. I started the idea around Camus' essay, "The Myth of Sisyphus." But the program is more about dance than telling a story.

Where do you find your dancers?
I like to give these jobs to people who are not in a mainstream company. The core of my group is the freelancer, the person who did not get into the two major companies in New York City. That is part of why INTERMEZZO Dance Company exists. Sometimes you see adults give up because they just couldn't get into a certain company. I'm rooting for them.

What advice would you give to ballet dancers interested in choreographing?
Make sure you have a grip on the vocabulary and that you use it. And you have to build. You put letters together to make a word. Words together to make a sentence. And then you get a paragraph. Oh, and edit your work, too. Learn how to say good-bye to things. If something's not working, move on.

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