Dancer to Dancer
Jade Chynoweth knows how to mesmerize an audience with some killer eye contact. (Joe Toreno)

In an audition or onstage, knowing how to use eye contact appropriately is a total game changer. Dancers who aren't afraid to meet the eyes of judges or audience members exude a special confidence that allows them to be seen as capable, talented performers. When dancers look at the floor or around the room, though, they telegraph insecurity. Don't send your critics looking for flaws! Avoid these three no-no's and become a true master of eye contact.

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Dancer to Dancer
Dance photographer Kenneth Edwards' shot of American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary (courtesy Edwards)

Is there anything better than a killer dance photoshoot? OF COURSE NOT! Whether you're taking headshots, model shots, or simply images that'll slay on Instagram, dance photography makes the world a prettier place.

To make sure your next dance photoshoot is as 🔥 as you are, we asked photographer Kenneth Edwards for his dos and don'ts. Follow his advice and your dance photography future will be as bright as your "golden hour" lighting.

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Dancer to Dancer
Ballet BC's Alexis Fletcher says experimenting with structured improv can make you more comfortable with risk. (Michael Slobodian, courtesy Ballet BC)

The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.

But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?

Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.

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Dancer to Dancer
The members of Gallim Dance are master improvisers. (Lucas Chilczuk)

We've all been there—smack in the middle of the improv portion of an audition, when suddenly our brain freezes over. All the creative movement born out of story telling and honest expression becomes the same right-battement over...and over...and over again. Yikes!🙅 Here are four prompts to help you break that dreaded right-battement cycle. Use them the next time you are feeling stuck, and they'll help you get back into your groove of awe-inspiring improv in no time!

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Dancer to Dancer

This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. Next up? Emma Hellenkamp, from San Diego, CA, who competed at Showstopper's West Coast Nationals for the first time since "So You Think You Can Dance." (All photos courtesy KC Hellenkamp.)

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Dancer to Dancer
@laurenclaire88 via Instagram

Dancers are some of the most resilient people out there—but coming back from a serious injury can test even strongest dancer's will. American Ballet Theatre corps member Lauren Post has proven up to the challenge.

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Dancer to Dancer
Keone and Mari Madrid on "World of Dance." Mari recently opened up about her struggles with depression. (NBC)

Recently, our friends at Dance Magazine posted a thought-provoking article about the dance world's inability to address dancers' mental health. It was one of their most-read articles to date, and it encouraged dancers, parents and teachers to share their own personal stories.

That group of storytellers includes some very high-profile dancers, and we're especially thankful for their courage. We hope that their willingness to discuss such a personal issue will help younger dancers feel comfortable talking about mental health as well, and hopefully help lead to better support systems within the dance community.

Here are two big names who've been open about their struggles.

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Dancer to Dancer
Thinkstock

Let's face it, no matter how many precautions you take in the dance studio each day, your feet are inevitably going to get trashed. Between pointe shoes, petit/grand allegro, and stretching beyond what is natural, those puppies take a genuine beating. All that impact may tempt you to ask, "Is there any hope for performers to avoid injuries at all?" As it turns out, yes! According to Dr. Bryan Hersh, DPM, of the Center for Pediatric Medicine in Chicago, IL, dancers can seriously reduce the likelihood of injury by taking care of their feet outside of the studio. Read on for his tips on how to keep your feet safe and strong.

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