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The Tricks of the (Ballet) Trade

In the ballet world, it's not the spectacular moves that make the dancer—it's the nuanced subtleties of artistry, the sheen of immaculate technique. That said, there's nothing quite like a great trick. Daredevil feats can add jolts of electricity to performances, especially when they're in the hands (and feet) of world-class dancers.

 

The Washington Post recently asked several members of The Washington Ballet to demonstrate, and explain, their "hardest moves." The dancers articulated the difficulties of everything from double fouettés to something terrifying called the 540 battement en rond—while making each virtuoso step look supremely easy, of course. Take a look!

 

The Conversation
Dance Training
Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Alexandra Wells can always tell when a dancer hasn't read her summer intensive information packet. Sometimes, says Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's director of artist training, there's a quick fix for the lack of preparation. "You can go and buy a long-sleeve shirt after you burn your shoulder really badly in that first floorwork class," she says. But not bringing enough of your special-order pointe shoes? "That's really dire."

Between reading the fine print, shopping for necessities and ramping up physically, getting ready for a summer intensive takes more than just dancing a lot. We broke down a step-by-step timeline:

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Advice for Dancers
Photo by Ali Müftüoğulları, Courtesy Unsplash

Whenever I'm cast in a solo role, I'm consumed with thoughts of everything that could go wrong. Please help.

—Isabella, Philadelphia, PA

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