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The New Ballerina Project Book is Finally Here!

Dane Shitagi, Courtesy Chronicle Books

Earlier this year, we shared that photographer Dane Shitagi's Ballerina Project—his gorgeous, ongoing collection of dance photos that have dominated our Instagram feeds for years—would be coming to an end. But all is not lost—starting September 17, you can enjoy over 170 of these photographs in Ballerina Project, a stunning new book showcasing Shitagi's work.


Courtesy Chronicle Books

For 18 years, Shitagi photographed hundreds of ballet dancers in locations all over the world—streets, beaches, rooftops, you name it. (I'm biased, but one of my favorites is this image of my friend Violeta Angelova, hanging gracefully from Brooklyn's Williamsburg Bridge.) His work became a viral phenomenon on social media, where he has over a million followers in Instagram. His new book features over 50 renowned ballet dancers, with major cities like New York City, London, Buenos Aires and Paris serving as their backdrop.

Julie Doherty poses on the beach, from the book Ballerina Project.

Dane Shitagi, Courtesy Chronicle Books

So clear a space on your coffee table! This hardcover book is even bound in pink satin, a nod to pointe shoes. You'll be able to purchase Ballerina Project, currently available for pre-order, at book stores nationwide on September 17, including major retailers like Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Target. And New York City dancers, listen up: To celebrate its release, Rizzoli Bookstore is having a launch party on Sunday, September 15. Fans will be able to meet and get their books signed by some of Ballerina Project's featured dancers, including American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston, Kathryn Boren and Brittany DeGrofft and High Strung Free Dance star Juliet Doherty. Click here for more information about this free event.

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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