Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.
It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.
Jayme Thornton for Pointe
Jayme Thornton for Pointe
Ryan with company dancers in Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite
Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
Ryan in Ronald Hynd's The Sleeping Beauty
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB
Jayme Thornton for Pointe
Wearing a mask while dancing in exchange for finally getting back into the studio seems like a small price to pay—though it doesn't make maskne any less pesky.
But the irritation and acne caused by sweating in a mask doesn't have to be part of the equation. To clear up breakouts and prevent new ones from popping up post-rehearsal, Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, explains the importance of a strong (but simple) skin-care routine.
"Masks cause heat, friction and occlusion on the skin," says Levin, who trained in ballet through her teenage years. Combine that with the sweat that gets trapped by your mask and you've got the perfect environment for clogged pores and bacteria overgrowth. Levin notes that the best approach for clear skin is to consistently use a gentle cleanser in the morning and at night, followed by a lightweight moisturizer, and a topical cream with an active ingredient to treat and prevent breakouts.
Courtesy CeraVe<p>"I recommend washing your face before dance class and after a full day," Levin says. This <a href="https://www.ulta.com/hydrating-facial-cleanser?productId=xlsImpprod4190255" target="_blank">CeraVe cleanser</a> is formulated with ceramides and hyaluronic acid so it won't strip your skin of essential moisture, and it's noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog your pores).</p>
Courtesy Differin<p>An over-the-counter acne treatment can help to clear clogged pores, and Levin likes this drugstore find because it still provides prescription strength. "<a href="https://www.target.com/p/differin-adapalene-gel-0-1-acne-treatment-15g/-/A-51346324" target="_blank">Differin</a> is a retinoid or vitamin A derivative, which is the foundation of how dermatologists treat acne," she says of its ability to increase skin cell turnover to prevent breakouts. "However, it's important to ease into the frequency of the Differin gel, and use it with a moisturizer at night," she adds. That will help minimize signs of irritation, like dryness.</p>
Courtesy La Roche-Posay<p>It's important to keep your skin clean to help prevent acne, but excessively cleansing can actually just cause more irritation. Rather than wash your face after class or in between rehearsals (which is a pain to do in the studio anyway), Levin recommends using on-the-go wipes like <a href="https://www.ulta.com/effaclar-clarifying-oil-free-cleansing-towelettes?productId=xlsImpprod16011005" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">La Roche-Posay</a>'s. Not only are they alcohol-free and fragrance-free, but they also include soothing thermal spring water, and a gentler derivative of salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin without causing irritation.</p>
Courtesy Neutrogena<p>Skip the makeup, and apply a moisturizer under your mask instead. This gel formula from <a href="https://www.target.com/p/unscented-neutrogena-hydro-boost-hyaluronic-acid-gel-face-moisturizer-to-hydrate-and-smooth-extra-dry-skin-1-7oz/-/A-16600134" target="_blank">Neutrogena</a> is lightweight and oil-free, so it absorbs quickly without leaving your skin feeling greasy. Plus, it still contains super-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to protect against moisture loss.</p>
Courtesy Avène<p>Because over-the-counter acne treatments like Differin can be drying as your skin adjusts, <a href="https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/avene-cleanance-hydra-soothing-cream,-acne-treatments-adjunctive-care-1.3-fl.oz./ID=300399911-product" target="_blank">Avène</a> created this multitasking cream. Use it at night for a more moisturizing option that also helps to reinforce the skin's natural barrier and calm signs of irritation like redness.</p>
Courtesy The Klog<p>When you start to feel a pimple brewing, apply one of these clear patches from <a href="https://sokoglam.com/products/soft-shield-pimple-patch" target="_blank">The Klog</a>. The hydrocolloid bandages absorb excess oil and pus, keeping the affected area clean while speeding up healing time. The tiny adhesives are meant to stay in place throughout the day, but if too much sweat has them sliding around while you dance, switch to using a pimple patch while you sleep instead.</p>
Of all the unprecedented effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the dance world, perhaps the most unthinkable a year ago was the forced pivot to online training. With many studios mandated to close, we've outfitted our homes with barres and marley and harnessed technology to create more learning opportunities than ever before. And now, as some studios reopen for in-person classes (either fully or in hybrid form) and others remain online, it's easier to supplement your school's offerings by adding virtual master classes—or even going to another school for in-studio time. But while being able to take class from anyone, anywhere, offers great opportunities, there are pitfalls to jumping from teacher to teacher. It's important to balance out the pros and cons of creating your own "COVID curriculum."
Colorado Ballet Academy director Erica Fischbach teaching CBA Pre-Professional Division students
Mark Hutchens, Courtesy Colorado Ballet
Lauren and Francis Veyette work with one of their local students on a sit lift.
Ariel Rose, Courtesy Veyette Virtual Ballet School
Sarah Cermak, Courtesy Lynn