Dancers Trending
New Miami City Ballet corps member Itzkan Barbosa and her mother Miriam Barbosa pose atop a mountain of Itzkan's pointe shoes. Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy Miriam Barbosa.

On the morning of May 1, Miriam Barbosa posted a photo of her daughter, Itzkan, on Facebook. The image itself is striking—Itzkan stands smiling on pointe in front of Miami City Ballet, where she has spent the last year as a pre-professional student, perched atop a mountain of old pointe shoes of all different sizes.

But it's the story behind the picture that's inspired so many people to comment their congratulations and appreciation.

The photo contains every single one of Itzkan's pointe shoes, from her very first pair up until the moment she got her first professional contract as a corps member with MCB last month. The image not only calls attention to the hard work and dedication necessary for young dancers to achieve their dreams, but to the sacrifices parents make to help them get there.

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Advice for Dancers
Picking the most accomplished dancers to measure yourself against is a surefire way to lower your confidence. Getty Images.

Company class triggers my biggest doubts when I compare myself to leading dancers with fantastic feet or extensions. Why can't I be more like them? I work just as hard, but I can't seem to do it.

—Katy, San Francisco, CA

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Breaking Stereotypes
Thoughts on gender have evolved since Louis XIV's era. Maybe it's time training evolves too. Photo by Matthew Murphy for Pointe.

Next semester, there'll be a new course name on the syllabus of Boston Conservatory at Berklee: "Constructed Gender Identities in Classical Ballet: Men's Variations."

But this is not a new course, just a new title. The old name is one you might recognize: "Men's Class."

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Advice for Dancers
Resistance training that strengthens your quads can help improve your jumps. Thinkstock

Why can't I jump as high as my male partner? We both have to perform the same series of jetés in a workshop performance and practicing isn't helping. I'm starting to panic.

—Amy, Cincinnati, OH

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Advice for Dancers
People with high arches often have a shallower plié due to the structure of their feet. Photo by Bruno Horwath/Unsplash

While I'm lucky to have a high arch, my demi-plié stinks. I keep getting the same correction to make it deeper. Any ideas?

—Foot Challenged, Winston-Salem, NC

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Advice for Dancers
Sprained ankles that won't heal often indicate a misdiagnosed or overlooked underlying problem. Thinkstock

It's been a year since I sprained my ankle and it continues to hurt, even with physical therapy. I've had to skip class, and I worry that my injury could ruin any chance of landing a job when I start auditioning. It hurts the most when I do grand pliés. Is there something wrong with me?

—Lame Broadway Dancer, New York, NY

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