Think Strong

If you've ever needed to take time off from dance due to injury, then you know how frustrating it can be to rebuild muscle strength after a long period of inactivity. But a recent study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology found that the mind—not just the body—may play a key role in maintaining strength.

Researchers from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute at Ohio University asked 29 people to wear casts that immobilized the hand and wrist for four weeks. During this period, half the participants were regularly guided through an exercise using imagery, where they pictured themselves contracting and releasing the wrist several times. The other half did not do the exercise.

The result? At the end of four weeks, the group that had performed mental imagery exercises had lost 50 percent less strength in their wrists than the non-imagery group, providing significant evidence for the power of mind over matter. So even if you're recovering, or resting between seasons, keep picturing the strong, powerful movement you plan to get back to. It may have more of an effect than you think.

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How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

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Courtesy Goh Academy

Pro-Pro Priorities: The Top Skills to Focus on During Your Final Training Years

As told to Rachel Caldwell

Finding the right pre-professional training program can be daunting. Then once you're there, what should you focus on in order to succeed? To shine some light on the topic, we talked to five leading teachers and directors who have seen scores of students move on to flourishing ballet careers. Here's what they suggested for young dancers on the pre-professional track.

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Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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