I am thankful for these puppies. So thankful for these puppies...
Between the turkey, the gravy, the stuffing, the desserts and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, there's a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.
But take a moment today to think about things in the bigger picture you're thankful for, like finally nailing your triple pirouette—on pointe!—or landing your dream role in your company's production of The Nutcracker.
We have a tradition here at the Dance Spirit office: I force everyone to tell me what they're most thankful for, and it has to be dance-related. In the [dance] spirit of sharing, giving and being grateful, here's what each DS editor had to say...
"I'm thankful I get to live in NYC. Yes, it sometimes smells like garbage and there are way too many people on the sidewalks at any given time. But it's also the city of Broadway, which is my favorite thing in the whole wide world. While we're on the topic, I'm thankful I get to chat with Broadway performers every day for my job!" —Rachel Zar, managing editor
"I'm thankful for Nutcracker season—and those are words I never thought I'd say. It took me more than a decade to go from 'I never want to hear that music again' to 'Maybe I'll just play a little Waltz of the Flowers to get me through my workout.' But here I am, rooting for Team Nut. It's a magical ballet with a magical score, and I'm seeing three different productions of it this year. Thanks for bringing me—not to mention countless trinas-to-be—endless joy, Nutcracker." —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor
"I'm thankful for a job that combines my two passions: writing and dance. And I'm thankful for ballet class. Any time I get homesick, I just reach for the barre and I'm home." —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor
"I'm thankful I've been able to experience so many difference facets of the dance world—dancer, teacher, administrator and now Dance Spirit fashion editor!" —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor
My beloved Matilda kids. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Me? I'm thankful for the Newsies boys, the Annie orphans and the Matilda revolting children on Broadway. I'm thankful for my dream job and the fabulous DS team that makes each issue so great and each day so fun. I'm thankful for the In the Heights soundtrack, which powered me through mile 15 of the New York City Marathon earlier this month, and I'm thankful for all those Sunday afternoons when I discover Center Stage on TV. And, of course, I'm thankful for each of you for reading Dance Spirit and sharing your wonderful stories with me.
What's more daunting than getting into your dream college dance program? Figuring out how you'll cover the costs of tuition, room and board, incidental expenses and more. Here's the good news: The right scholarship(s) can bring your dream school well within reach.
Look Around, Look Around
Scholarship applications are due between the fall of senior year and graduation time, so familiarize yourself with funding opportunities during the spring of junior year. And there are a lot of opportunities out there, says Kate Walker, chair of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. "A lot of school guidance counselors now have software that automatically matches you with scholarships," she says.
Seek out scholarships on your own, too. According to Walker, "a lot of corporations are required to have some community engagement, including offering scholarships, so research corporations in your community." Your parents' employers might offer assistance too, says Doug Long, an academic and college counselor at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. "They might have scholarships you can apply for just because your parent works there."
Other sources of grant money you won't have to pay back (as you would a loan)? The YoungArts Foundation; competitions/conventions, like New York City Dance Alliance; and the university or dance department you're applying to. Even some scholarships aimed at athletes are open to dancers!
A winning scholarship application involves a fair amount of paperwork, especially if the organization requires you to show financial need. In addition, certain scholarships ask for the College Board's CSS/Financial Aid Profile, which gives the awarding organization a more complete picture of your family finances.
Other ingredients of a successful scholarship application include recommendation letters, a dance and/or academic resumé and an essay or statement of purpose. Treat these components just like college applications: Have multiple trusted adults proofread your materials, and ask for recommendation letters or transcripts long before deadlines.
A note for non-dance scholarships: Including objective measures of achievement can only help you. "List national recognitions, like YoungArts or other competitions," says Long. "That shows the scholarship committees that people at high levels have acknowledged you as an artist of quality." And don't forget who your audience is. "Especially in writing samples, make sure you paint a vivid picture for your reader," Walker says. "Don't assume they know about all the things—like barre every day—that we as dancers take for granted."
No award amount is too small to be worth your time and effort. As Walker says, "Don't pooh-pooh a couple hundred dollars in award money, because any scholarship is funding that you didn't have yesterday."
A version of this story appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "All Aboard the Scholar-ship."
Every ballet dancer knows the time, sweat, and occasional tears the art form demands. But many non-dancers are clueless about just how much work a ballet dancer puts into perfecting his or her dancing. So when the mainstream crowd recognizes our crazy work ethic, we'll accept the round of applause any way it comes—even if it comes via four men in tutus. Yep, we're talking about "The Try Guys Try Ballet" video.
Remember that fabulous old-school clip of dancers tapping in pointe shoes that Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo brought to our attention back in March? As we mentioned then, toe-tap dancing was actually super popular back in the 1920s and 30s—which means there are more videos where that one came from. And because #ToeTapTuesday has a nice ring to it, we thought we'd take this opportunity to introduce you to Dick and Edith Barstow, a toe-tapping brother and sister duo from that era who are nothing short of incredible:
Guess who's back? Back again? The Academy's back! Tell a friend.
After one day at The Academy, the All Stars have successfully taken the Top 100 down to 62. But their work is just getting started: Now they need to keep narrowing the field to a Top 10, ultimately deciding who each will partner with during the live shows.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is some SERIOUS #goals. Her strength and power onstage borders on superhuman. But what's extra magical about Mearns is that she really puts in the fitness and cross-training work outside of the rehearsal studio. And she's overcome her fair share of injuries. Which is why she was the perfect source for Vogue's latest ballet fitness story.