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My Boyfriend Left Me for Another Dancer in the Company. Now What?

My boyfriend left me for another dancer in the company. How can I keep performing at my best? It's humiliating.

—Lovelorn, New York, NY


I am so sorry. Mixing work with your personal life can be especially complicated in a field like dance. While it can be hard to come to grips with this heartbreak, you haven't lost anything of value if he's someone who could give you up so easily.

My advice is to seek support from your friends, and if the situation is affecting your work or you become depressed for two or more weeks, a psychologist who works with dancers might be helpful. In the studio, try to keep your attention focused on you and your progress. When you're ready to start dating again, don't be afraid to look for a new love outside the company.

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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