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Juliet Doherty in a scene from High Strung Free Dance. Cos Aelenei, Courtesy GVN Releasing

For a classically trained ballerina, Juliet Doherty hasn't had the most conventional career. The New Mexico native, who was initially trained by her mother at her grandmother's studio, spent three years as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular before heading to the San Francisco Ballet School, where she eventually became a trainee. But rather than join a company, Doherty has since pursued projects that blend her love of ballet and acting. In 2014 she worked alongside Tiler Peck in the Susan Stroman–directed musical Little Dancer, and later landed the lead role in the indie movie Driven to Dance.

Now, she's about to star in a major feature film: High Strung Free Dance, opening in movie theaters October 11. Doherty plays Barlow, a young ballerina who lands a spot in a new Broadway show called Free Dance. Along the way, a love triangle brews between Barlow, a hard-scrabble pianist named Charlie (Harry Jarvis) and the show's temperamental choreographer Zander (Thomas Doherty, no relation). Produced by Michael and Janeen Damian—the creators of 2016's High Strung starring Keenan Kampa—this dance-packed film features choreography by Tyce Diorio and SFB soloist Myles Thatcher.

We caught up with Doherty to talk about her experience making the movie, as well as her unique career path.

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Dreams, drama, and capital-D DANCE: The brand-new High Strung Free Dance trailer just dropped, and it is chock-full of everything we love.

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Earlier this month we learned that former comp star and current UC Berkeley student Miko Fogarty will be giving a TEDx talk in March about her path from ballet to college. This news got us thinking about some of our favorite ballet TED talks from years past. Check out our top eight now!

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