If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a member of American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, you're in luck. The latest episode of "No Days Off," a documentary web series profiling young and inspiring athletes, spotlights 17-year-old Joseph Markey, a first-year Studio Company member. The doc not only underscores the physical aspects of Markey's training, but also the artistic refinements he must make on his road to becoming a professional dancer.

17-Year-Old Is The FUTURE of Dance www.youtube.com


Twice a week, Markey starts his day with an intense strength and conditioning class. Supplementing his ballet training with aerobic and agility exercises (think jumping rope, line drills and rope ladders) helps him build the core strength necessary for a full day of dancing. After technique class, we see him rehearsing with famous ABT luminaries like Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky and Gillian Murphy. They provide not only thoughtful coaching, but a huge dose of inspiration. "Just being around them every day, I feel, has helped me improve," Markey says in the episode.

He's also getting the chance to refine his partnering skills as he and fellow dancer Chloe Misseldine rehearse Don Quixote. "Joseph is already is on top of things," says Radetsky, the Studio Company's artistic director, in the video. "He has an innate sense of partnering: where the ballerina needs to be, where her weight is, coordination." That said, Markey, who is nursing a strained bicep, must also learn how to work smart so that he doesn't aggravate his injury.

"No Days Off," produced by Whistle Sports, does a great job of educating general audiences about these young artist-athletes' grueling regime. As Radetsky puts it: "These dancers are ballet's versions of Olympians, our art form's top prospects—each of them hoping to be drafted into the major leagues at American Ballet Theatre."

Larke Johnson in rehearsal. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Marie and Franz have a new guest at their Christmas Eve party this year. Emma Lookatch and Larke Johnson, both dancers in the Adaptive Dance Program at Joffrey Academy of Dance: Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, are alternating in the new role of Worker Girl. It is a permanent part created specifically for students with disabilities in Christopher Wheeldon's version of The Nutcracker at The Joffrey Ballet.

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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

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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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Ballet Austin Academy students practice priouette en dehors. Annie Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

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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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