As a dancer, you're used to communicating without words, so it might sound funny to suggest writing as a method for reducing stress and anxiety. But especially if dance is the cause of your stress—maybe you're struggling with choreographer's block, anxious about a big performance or doubting yourself after a frustrating audition—exploring the situation through a different medium might help you gain fresh perspective. Plus, studies have shown that keeping a journal can have many dancer-friendly benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Get your creative juices flowing. Journaling, when used as a way to reflect or meditate on something, has been shown to help boost creativity and self-awareness. Maybe it's your way out when you're stuck in a choreographic rut.

2. Improve performance.
In a University of Chicago study, students wrote down their thoughts right before a high-pressure exam. Their scores improved significantly, especially for the students who regularly felt anxious about test-taking. Next time you're nervous before a performance, try jotting down a few notes about how you're feeling.

3. Increase self esteem. A study from the University of Leeds found that young women who wrote about their experiences with negative body image had improved levels of self esteem when the researchers followed up four weeks later. If you're doubting yourself, taking the space to wrestle with those feelings on the page may be just what you need to change your outlook.

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

Keep reading... Show less
Lindsay Martell at a class performance. Courtesy Martell.

More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:

"Is your daughter the dancer?"

"Actually," I say, "I am."

"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"

"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."

Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.

Keep reading... Show less
Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less