Dancer Voices
Kelsey Grills in rehearsal for ABT Incubator. Photo by JJ Geiger, courtesy ABT Incubator.

"Is everyone okay?" was my most used sentence during my time with American Ballet Theatre. There I was, leading world-class ABT dancers through my own choreographic process. I knew that it was unlike anything they'd ever experienced, but I think half of the time I was asking that question, it was really directed to myself.

ABT Incubator is a two-week choreographic program created by principal dancer David Hallberg. Supported by The Howard Hughes Corporation, this process-oriented lab gave me and four other choreographers the opportunity to generate ideas for the work we have been inspired to create.


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What Wendy's Watching

10000 Gestures, PC Tristram Kenton

Boris Charmatz, a favorite choreographer in France for his dancing in museums, has come up with an idea for non-stop dance. In his new piece, 10000 Gestures, each action is different—no repeats. This week, a horde of more than 20 dancers invades New York City's NYU Skirball Center, each of them cramming a thousand gestures into one hour. They seem to be exorcising them—shaking, scratching, jabbing, huddling—as though they can't get rid of them fast enough.

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Editors’ List: The Goods
via @discountdance on Instagram

"Ballet pink" tights and palest-pink slippers. "Nude" fabrics that match only the lightest of skin tones. Unfortunately, many dancewear staples have historically been available only in a single "flesh tone" that tended to exclude non-Caucasian dancers.

Thankfully, in recent years dancewear companies have begun to respond to this issue, offering more varied shades of tights, pointe shoes, body tights, etc. (One former Knicks City Dancer even made inclusiveness the foundation of her business model.) Now, you can also get foundation garments that suit your unique skin tone with the new Mariia True Bare Collection.

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In The Studio
Boston Ballet rehearsing "ELA, Rhapsody in blue" choreographed by Paulo Arrais. PC Kelsey Grills

When Boston Ballet principal dancer Paulo Arrais was approached to choreograph for the company's spring program, Rhapsody, he immediately knew where he wanted to draw inspiration from. "I grew up in a part of Brazil where it was very common to see domestic violence," says Arrais. "I'm angry about this problem and I'm trying to find a way to choreograph with the anger I have."

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Just for Fun
Thinkstock

Dance teachers have to deal with a lot. While open communication with your teacher is obviously key, lame excuses for less-than-great behavior are guaranteed to get on her nerves. Always avoid these seven excuses that will 100 percent get your dance teacher's blood boiling.

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Just for Fun
Thinkstock

Dance teachers have to deal with a lot. While open communication with your teacher is obviously key, lame excuses for less-than-great behavior are guaranteed to get on her nerves. Always avoid these seven excuses that will 100 percent get your dance teacher's blood boiling.

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Just for Fun
via @younmephoto on Instagram

Summer's coming to a close which means it's time to head back to school and back to the studio. And though we have no doubt that you'll log a lot of dancing this fall, every dancer knows that there's bound to be down time in between technique classes, rehearsals, stretching, and waiting to be picked up. So give your Insta feed a break and check out these dance-tastic books that'll not only entertain you, but might even teach you a thing or two.

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Dancers Trending
The Joffrey Ballet in Alexander Ekman's Joy won "Most Moving Performance" last year. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Silverman Group

Have you seen any shows in 2018 that you can't stop thinking about? Watched any dance videos that blew your mind? Discovered any performers who everyone should know about? We want to hear about them!

Yes, we realize that it's only August. But we're gearing up for our annual Readers' Choice Awards, and it's time to send in your nominations!

It's as easy as filling out the form below. (You don't even have to fill out the whole form—just complete as many categories as you want.) Nominations will be accepted until August 30. You'll then be able to vote on selected nominations beginning September 4, and winners will be announced in our December issue.

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Popular

Allow me to start with a question.

In the average graduating class of any dance program (in styles that use pirouettes), how many of the graduates can do a quadruple, clean, controlled, pirouette with consistency? Forty percent? Fifty? Seventy percent? Think carefully before you answer.

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Advice for Dancers
Too much betacarotene can lead to a yellow-orange pigmentation on your skin. Photo by Stock Snap

My doctor sent me to a hormone specialist to be checked out for a possible metabolic disorder after a series of unexplained fractures. When my blood tests came back, I wasn't prepared to hear that the problem was due to my super-healthy diet (I eat a lot of raw carrots). Once she saw that the bottoms of my feet are orange-colored, she said, "That's the problem!" How can that be?

—Carrot Withdrawal, San Diego, CA

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Dance Training
Photo by Ali Yahya via Unsplash

Every dancer wants to open their competition score packet and see high marks that sing their praises. But a less-than-stellar score can quickly sour what was meant to be a positive learning experience.

While winners walk away with cash prizes, glistening trophies and scholarships to their dream schools, it can be tempting to let a low score be your one-way ticket to self-pity city. But with the right mindset, even a lackluster competition performance can be made into a constructive rather than destructive experience.

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Rant & Rave
Social media validates extremes over clean, solid technique. Photo by David Hofmann/Unsplash

The entrancing power of Instagram can't be denied. I've lost hours of my life scrolling the platform looking at other people documenting theirs. What starts as a "quick" fill-the-moment check-in can easily lead to a good 10-15 minute session, especially if I enter the nebulous realm of "suggested videos."

My algorithm usually shows me professional ballet dancers in performances, rehearsals, class, backstage and on tour, which I quite enjoy. But there are the other dance feeds that I find myself simultaneously intrigued and horrified by: the hyper-elastic, hyper-extended, gumby-footed girls always at the barre doing developpés to six o'clock. There are the multiple turners, the avid stretchers and we can't forget the endless balancers.

This parade of tricksters always makes me wonder, What else can they do? Can they actually dance?

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Just for Fun
Think "biscuits" should be in the dictionary? Now's your chance. Photo by Jazmin Quaynor via Unsplash

Have you ever referred to your feet as biscuits or your pointe shoes as dead in front of a non-dancer friend or family member and seen a wave of confusion cross their face? Dance, like most activities, is chock-full of words and phrases used only by those in the know. In honor of their 90th anniversary, the Oxford English Dictionary wants to change that. They've put out an appeal to gather "hobby words," and dance is on their list (we know that dance is more than a hobby—try not to take offense).

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Popular
Screenshot via YouTube

Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin doesn't appear to have completely shed his bad-boy skin. A new video from Rankin Hunger Magazine, "Sergei x Rankin," shows us what happens when Polunin is given total freedom to explore his tendency for raw, emotional movement. Paired with British photographer Rankin, the duo creates a captivating video that explores our primal need for unrestrained expression set to an alternative rock soundtrack by Husky Loops.

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Just for Fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Stage fright is no joke! Any dancer who's experienced the sudden whirl of butterflies in the stomach that can make you feel slightly nauseous will agree that those nerves can hamper your performance, no matter how many hours you've practiced. So we can totally relate to the tears shed by this tiny toddler as she practices her dance on stage for the first time.

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Just for Fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Stage fright is no joke! Any dancer who's experienced the sudden whirl of butterflies in the stomach that can make you feel slightly nauseous will agree that those nerves can hamper your performance, no matter how many hours you've practiced. So we can totally relate to the tears shed by this tiny toddler as she practices her dance on stage for the first time.

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Just for Fun
Screenshot via YouTube

We're used to seeing Maddie Ziegler own the room whenever she steps on the dance floor. So the idea of her learning a dance routine from Instagram star, Everleigh Soutas initially seemed a little backwards. Then we found out that Everleigh's original performance of this solo earned her first place in her division, at Revolution Talent Competition—and that it's garnered over 12 million views on YouTube—and the pair's duet makes a lot more sense. Maddie even compliments the pint-size dancer's energy and facial expressions. High praise coming from the queen of dance prodigies!

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Health & Body

Sore arches may be one of the peskiest pain spots dancers deal with. This small area on the bottom of your feet may seem minor, but it actually does a lot of work: Your arches are what allow your feet to support the weight of your entire body.

While any sharp, unbearable pain should always be checked out by a doctor, a dull ache after a particularly long rehearsal can usually be alleviated by giving your feet the extra care they need. Here, two podiatrists weigh in on what causes arch pain and how you can manage it.

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Just for Fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Tiffany & Co. primarily sell jewelry, but it's their new dance-filled commercials that we're really sold on! Elle Fanning stars in the luxury retailer's latest dancetastic ad and we must say, the starlet's got moves. Though she may not be a ballet dancer (a fact which was made painfully clear in a 2017 Vanity Fair video of Fanning supposedly demonstrating how to do a piqué turn on pointe) Fanning's high energy performance proves she can groove and freestyle with the best of them. In fact, Fanning does appear alongside all-star dancer Maddie Ziegler, who's also been featured in a previous dance inspired commercials by Tiffany & Co.

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Just for Fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Other than being one of the nicest and funniest people on earth, Ellen DeGeneres also happens to have a knack for spotting talented dancers. Thanks to the comedian's dance obsession, world-class dancers like Tiler Peck, Lex Ishimoto, and Travis Wall have performed on her hit talk show "Ellen," with dance all-star tWitch retaining a permanent role as the show's DJ.

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