Website Savvy

Sure, Facebook and Twitter are fun, but did you know social networking sites can help you get a job? They are a gold mine of backstage info, not to mention networking potential. It’s all about how you take advantage of them.

  • Follow your dream companies on Twitter. Tweets from dancers are a window on company life and a director’s taste. Also watch videos of your favorite companies on dancemedia.com. It’s an easy and fun way to absorb a wealth of information quickly. Then try to attend company performances, open classes and directors’ talks. You even may have the opportunity to introduce yourself to someone you’re following on Twitter at a company event—a great way to jump from cyber to real space.

 

  • Check company and dancer Facebook pages and glean what you can about upcoming opportunities. Don’t wait for an audition to be posted. Sometimes it never is. Friend a company dancer with an accompanying message—succinct, sincere and polite—saying how much you respect their work. Once you know someone in the company, it’s easier to ask about future opportunities. Want them to see your work? You can also post your performance videos on dancemedia.com and let your contacts know that they are there.

 

  • Spell it right. Just because you’re online doesn’t mean that grammar, spelling and punctuation fly out the window.

 

  • Don’t post negative comments all over Facebook and Twitter. It may seem harmless in a frustrated moment, but what is published online stays there.

 

  • Don’t embarrass yourself. Use common sense. Remember that boundaries still hold, even on the internet. Don’t go overboard in an attempt to make connections.

 

  • Don’t advertise how you think an audition went on your online networks—whether you sailed through, or crashed and burned during tendus. The whole ballet world doesn’t need to know how it went.   —Rebecca Ain
Ballet Training
Hortense Millet-Maurin (third from left) and her classmates perform August Bournonville's La Conservatoire. Svetlana Loboff, Courtesy POB.

As a little girl, Hortense Millet-Maurin fell in love with the wide spiral staircase that dominates the center of the Paris Opéra Ballet School. Today, as a focused 15-year-old POB student, she and her classmate Vincent Vivet navigate the school's spacious architecture on a daily basis. In a hallway strewn with foam rollers and tennis balls, their faces are laced with concentration as they prepare alongside their peers for afternoon ballet class. Color-coded uniforms reflect Vivet's and Millet-Maurin's third division; with only two advanced divisions remaining, they are increasingly close to realizing their professional aspirations: joining the Paris Opéra Ballet. Pointe spoke with these two young dancers to see what it's like studying inside the world's oldest ballet academy.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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Ballet Training
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

If you're feeling wobbly in adagio or wish you could hold your piqué attitude a bit longer, there are ways to assess and improve your balance. Try these four exercises, recommended by Heather Southwick, Boston Ballet's director of physical therapy.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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