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Via @physicsonpointe on Instagram

Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.

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Dance News
Shwetali Sapte, courtesy Boston Ballet

Yes, Dance Spirit, there really is a Santa Claus. And we've got proof—namely, the delightfully silly stunt Boston Ballet's Nutcracker Bear pulled off last week to celebrate the start of ticket sales for BB's 2017 production of the holiday ballet classic.

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What does dance mean to you? That's the question Boston Ballet principal John Lam asks his fellow company members in a moving new short film. The dancers' responses, which we hear as we see them performing fluid choreography by Lam, are lovely: "Joy." "Change." "Truth." "Love." "Freedom."

It'd be a meaningful watch even if it were released in a vacuum. But its message hits with special force because Lam created the video to show support for the embattled National Endowment for the Arts, which faces elimination under President Trump's proposed budget.

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Dance News

It's officially Nutcracker season, and you know what that means: Snow! Sugarplums! Hot chocolate! 40-foot tall Christmas trees!

This year, Boston Ballet took their performance previews to the next level. Their "Frozen Snowflakes" video captures the spirit of the snow scene from every angle imaginable by using awesome 3-D imagery. (ABT just used a similar method with a 360-degree camera for its backstage tour of Lincoln Center). We rounded up our favorite GIFs from the video, and be sure to check it out in full here!

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"Free puppies and 25% off tickets!" That was the subject line of the Boston Ballet promotional email that landed in my inbox this morning.

I kind of blacked out for a second.


And then I remembered that it's April 1st, and my dream of frolicking with little baby doggies dressed in little baby tutus died a slow, sad death.

At least they gave us a picture of a puppy.

But hey, nice work, BB. And the 25% off tickets thing is for real, so, Bostonians, get on that!

(UPDATE: I've been informed that the fun continues on the Boston Ballet Facebook page, where the company has introduced its newest "pup-erinas":)

They didn't name these lovelies, but might we suggest Anna Pawlova, Barkot Fonteyn, and Alicia Wooflonso?

Enjoy the silliest day of the year, everyone. May your dance teacher terrify you with impossible combinations, only to scream "April Fools!" as the pianist cues up; may you and your dance friends repay her by swapping barre spots every time she turns her back.

We first heard from beautiful ballerina Keenan Kampa in 2010, when the Washington, D.C. native documented her final year at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia for us. (It's incredibly rare for an American dancer to study at the iconic school, by the way, which speaks to just how amazing Keenan is.) Then, this past March, she graced our cover, talking about her artistic growth during her first year as a professional dancer at Boston Ballet—and posing for a gorgeous group of fashion photos that blew up our Pinterest page. Shortly afterward, we were thrilled to hear that Keenan was making history as the first American to join the Mariinsky Ballet—her lifelong dream come true.

And this past week she came full circle, making her U.S. debut with the Mariinsky at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in L.A. The company danced Swan Lake (of course), and Keenan was honored with a demi-soloist part, one of the Big Swans.

Judging by this photo from the performance, it looks like she's grown even more lovely since joining the Mariinsky. (We almost didn't recognize her as a brunette—until we saw those unforgettable feet!). Congratulations, Keenan—we can't wait to see where your fabulous career goes next! And if you haven't experienced Keenan's particular brand of awesome, check out this behind-the-scenes video from her cover shoot:

Erica Cornejo in "Swan Lake." Photo by Gene Schiavone.

With her lovely, expressive face and delicately refined port de bras, Boston Ballet principal Erica Cornejo seems tailor-made for soft, feminine roles like Giselle and Odette—and her nuanced portrayals of those heroines have earned her critical acclaim. But then she busts out her explosive jump in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, or gleefully tosses off multiple fouettés as Odile, and it becomes clear that this Argentinean beauty has a bit of fire in her, too. Cornejo began training at the Arts Institute of the Colón Theatre in Buenos Aires at the age of 4. (Her brother Herman, now a principal at American Ballet Theatre, soon followed her to ballet class.) She joined ABT’s Studio Company in 1998, was made a full company member that same year, and by 2002 was promoted to soloist. Four years later, she joined Boston Ballet as a principal. Today Cornejo, who is married to former BB principal Carlos Molina, continues to wow audiences in both classical and contemporary repertoire.  —Margaret Fuhrer

Dear Erica,

The world of ballet is beautiful and powerful. You will get to experience the most amazing feelings through dance and music. It will be magical!

Of course, as in everything else, the negative comes with the positive. In ballet there is plenty of competition. Some people will try to make you feel down, but others will say beautiful things about you. Dance is a demanding profession that is very challenging physically. To succeed, you will have to train many hours and absorb everything you are taught so you can apply all the details and get better and better.

You will need to be mentally strong to be able to overcome the difficulties of your career. Don’t be afraid. Whatever you do, do it with your heart. Don’t do anything just to please others. Remember that your dance experiences will contribute to your development as a person as well as an artist.

Enjoy what you do; be proud and happy. You have chosen an art that will enrich your soul. With love, passion and dedication, nothing is impossible.

Erica Cornejo

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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