Dancer to Dancer

When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.

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How To

College can be a huge adjustment, and halfway through your first year, you may be feeling unsure: Am I making the right decision? Am I really fitting in? Is this the right school for me? While those anxieties may lessen or go away completely after a semester—or after a particularly great class—switching schools is an option. Here are some of the elements to consider before transferring.

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Dancer to Dancer
Lesley Rausch with Jonathan Porretta in Balanchine's Prodigal Son (Lindsay Thomas, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet)

From meditation to Pilates to Drake playlists, no two preshow rituals include exactly the same ingredients. But just like bakers following a recipe, most dancers follow a very specific—and very important—routine before every performance. We asked six pros to share what they do precurtain to make sure they're at their best onstage.

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Dancer to Dancer
Fordham University's Expressions Dance Alliance (Nathan Tibet, courtesy Expressions Dance)

Whether you major or minor in dance, join a dance team or simply take a few extracurricular classes, there are myriad ways to continue your artistic journey in college. Sometimes, though, exactly what you're seeking isn't on campus—yet. That's where being in college comes in handy: You can start your own organization! Not only do student-run groups give you the chance to express your dancing self in unique ways, but you're also likely to gain leadership skills, hone your choreography chops and even make a few friends along the way.

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Dancer to Dancer
Sonya Tayeh's choreography journal (courtesy Sonya Tayeh)

A choreographer's notebook can be a very private thing. After all, it's where she crafts concepts, scribbles formations and documents her dancers' rehearsal processes before anything is ready to be seen by an audience. And while many artists use video cameras to record phrases and set movement on dancers, others choose to stick with good, old-fashioned pen and paper. Here, three choreographers give us a peek into their notebooks and explain just what their notes mean.

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Dancer to Dancer
Dusty Button In class onstage (Mitchell Button)

If you're one of Dusty Button's 146,000 (and counting) Instagram followers, you know this ballerina doesn't fit any molds. Because while she holds down a job as a Boston Ballet principal dancer and takes the stage in ultimate classical roles like Odette/Odile (which she performed this past April), she's just as comfortable in a fast-paced contemporary Jorma Elo piece or in a thin pair of socks working a hotel ballroom floor.

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Dancer to Dancer
Mathew Murphy (courtesy Murphy)

Anyone who's seen A Chorus Line is familiar with the high-pressure, “I hope I get it!" process of a musical theater audition. Out of hundreds of hopefuls, you have to be the one whose skills are strong enough to catch the casting director's eye. Then comes the callback, the workshop—and, most of the time, the “no, thank you." But while rejection can sting, it happens to everyone, including the very best. We spoke with five talented Broadway pros who missed out on coveted gigs. As their experiences prove, audition disappointments don't mean the world's ending—or even that a role is permanently out of reach.

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How To
On the set of "Let It Go" (courtesy Talia Favia)

Odds are good you've seen a T. Milly—aka Tim Milgram—production: He's filmed class routines for the likes of Tricia Miranda and Brian Friedman, and his concept videos for the Fraternal Twins and 8 Flavahz crew have garnered millions of views. You've also probably encountered talented choreographer Talia Favia, a Capezio A.C.E. Award winner whose lush creations are highly camera-friendly.So what does it take to capture the essence of a dance on film? And what makes choreography pop on screen? Dance Spirit got the scoop from Milgram and Favia, who discussed “Let It Go," the popular video they collaborated on last year.

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