When Dusty Button was a student she was a frequent competitor. Pictured here with Bradley Schlagheck. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Button.

Our Best Tips: Competitions

Competitions can be intimidating. But their many benefits can serve you well, regardless of whether you come home with a prize. Whether you're a competition veteran or trying it for the first time, here are a few of our best tips for making the most of the experience.

Evaluate whether you're ready. You may be a technically advanced dancer, but competitions come with a whole other set of challenges, from networking to the stress of performing for judges. Before signing up, ask yourself these questions to clarify your goals and make sure you're prepared to handle the pressure.


Make a game-day plan. The day of, use the time between your morning class and your performance to prep both mentally and physically. That means keeping yourself warm without overdoing it, and finding your own strategies for getting in the zone.

Avoid common mistakes. Every judge is different, but steering clear of some typical pet peeves—like unprofessional behavior, or prioritizing tricks over artistry—will help you make a good impression.

Show the judges who you are. Remember that the judges are looking at more than just technique. Choose a variation that showcases your strengths, and let your artistry and love of dance shine through.

Winning isn't everything. Keep in mind that the potential benefits of competitions go way beyond medals. Take advantage of the opportunities to be seen by company and school directors, gain confidence as a performer, make new friends and learn from new experiences.

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How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

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Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


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 5/27/2020

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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