You already know dancers really love their dogs. But Sacramento Ballet is taking their animal affection a whole new level. They've partnered with Sacramento's Front Street Animal Shelter to feature adorable, furry friends in their annual production of The Nutcracker. And get this: Every pup (or feline) onstage is adoptable!

A scene from Sacramento Ballet's #Muttcracker (if only I could take credit for that fantastic pun) (photo via SB's Facebook)

Here's the scoop: During each performance, one dog and one cat make their stage debuts, then during intermission and after the show, adoption counselors with 5 to 10 animals meet with prospective families from the audience. So far, they've had a 100% success rate—finding homes for 40 homeless animals. (All together now: AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!)

(L) Company member Rick Porter with the world's danciest kitten; (R) more kitten fun backstage (photo via @sacballet)

Inspired? If you're in the Sacramento area, there are five shows left—aka five more chances to adopt your new best friend. Get more info and tickets here.

Forget the doll. Bring Clara more puppies! (photo by Robin Hagy)

Whether you're shopping for your dance friends or making your own winter wish list, look no further—we've got you covered! From glamorous sparkles to sporty stripes, from girly pastels to edgy prints, there's something here for every type of dancer.

 

...gooey cinnamon buns for breakfast, a giant mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top and a roaring fire in the fireplace.

OK, and a few other things. We'll get to those in a sec.

First: Merry Christmas, everyone, from all of the Dance Spirit editors!

It's arguably the most festive day of the year, and if you're a Christmas celebrator, we hope you're in the midst of a very merry day. (Pajamas mandatory all day long. Deal? Deal.)

But you don't have to celebrate Christmas in order to make a lengthy wish list, right? Here's what the Dance Spirit editors are dying for this year...

Sophia's shoes are from Steve Madden. Get 'em while you still can! (Photo by Erin Baiano)

"Sparkly wedge high-tops, like the ones Sophia Lucia is wearing on our January cover. As a fellow shorty, I understand her need for a little extra height—even when it's a sneaker day." —Rachel Zar, managing editor

"I want another live musical on TV! How about Singin' in the Rain? Ryan Steele in the Gene Kelly role? Cloud Campos in Donald O'Connor's part? Somebody get Rob Ashford on this, stat!" —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor

"I want to go to a taping of 'So You Think You Can Dance' during Season 11 so I can scream 'judges' in a Cat Deeley-esque British accent. That, and a pair of harem pants so I can feel like less of a bunhead in hip-hop class." —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor

"In a perfect world, stores would play Nutcracker music all year long—and the rest of the world would love it as much as I would." —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor

Simi! Let's be twinsies. (Photo by Erin Baiano)

As always, I've got quite the list of my own going: I want Lin-Manuel Miranda to bring something—anything—to Broadway ASAP. I want to go shopping with Simrin Player. I want to put an end to "Dance Moms" and in its place create a TV show about all the great things that happen in the competitive dance world. I want Juliet Doherty to take home the top prize at the Prix de Lausanne. I want Nick Lazzarini to be the next President of the United States. I want newlyweds tWitch and Allison Holker to have, like, millions of little dancer babies. And I want to grow just one more inch so I can be tall enough to audition for the Radio City Rockettes.

Get busy, Santa—you've got some serious work to do for us this year.

Happy holidays!

No show is complete without activities! Here I am in the MSG lobby, sticking my head in the hole of this snowsuit. "I can't put my arms down!"

Last Thursday, A Christmas Story opened at Madison Square Garden in NYC for a very limited run (through December 29). I was lucky enough to snag a seat. It. Was. Awesome. Here are 5 reasons you should buy your ticket now:

1. The story. Nothing says, "The holidays are almost here!" quite like A Christmas Story. You've seen the movie—which runs on repeat on TBS every Christmas Eve—and all your favorite parts are in the show! Little brother stuffed into a snow suit? Check. Embarrassing bunny costume as a Christmas present? Check. Tongue stuck to a flag pole? Check!

2. The songs. OK, so there were no songs in the movie version, but trust me when I say the musical numbers give this show an extra-special something. I still can't get "Ralphie to the Rescue" out of my head.  And the classic line, "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out," is somehow so much funnier when it's sung by a school teacher in full flapper garb.

3. The dancing. Holy smokes, this show gave choreographer Warren Carlyle a chance to get really creative. After all, many of the songs take place in protagonist Ralphie's wacky imagination. And if you love the classic leg lamp from the movie, you'll go crazy over the leg-lamp kickline in "A Major Award."

4. The kids. It takes a ton of talent to make it to the Broadway stage. Which is why it's SO impressive that all that talent could come from someone who hasn't even made it through middle school. This cast is chock full of pint-sized prodigies! Singing, acting, dancing... these kids can do it all. You'll love Jake Lucas as Ralphie, and little brother Randy, played by Noah Baird, is honestly the cutest thing you ever did see.

Which cast has the cutest kids on Broadway? The A Christmas Story crew certainly gives the Matilda and Annie kids a run for their money. (photo by Carol Rosegg)

5. Luke Spring. It's no secret that we're OBSESSED with this comp kid. And 11-year-old Luke never fails to disappoint. His starring role in the "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" tap number got the biggest applause of the night! We can't wait to see what this tiny tapper does next.

Watch this performance featuring all the cute kiddos and little Luke (at 2:55) at the 2013 Tony Awards:

Still don't have your tickets? Allow me to introduce Pete and Lily, the furriest members of the cast:

Hi! We're the Bumpus dogs! (photo by Carol Rosegg)

Consider yourself convinced.

New Year's Eve is one of the most exciting days of the year. There's so much optimism, so much positivity and so much "I have no idea what lies ahead but I'm totally pumped about it" energy.

But the start of a new year also means saying goodbye to the year you've been in for the past 365 days. So how do you make sure you go out with a bang, especially when the year was filled with so much excitement? We came up with 12 ways to leave 2012 behind in style.

1. Have a dance party. I mean...duh.

2. Take a nap! If you're going to make it until midnight, you may need a midday snooze (I know I will). Here's everything you need to know about taking the perfect nap.

3. Wear something sparkly. You can't be bland on New Year's Eve. Stand out with the Gia-Mia Sequin Hoodie from Just For Kix. (Layer a tank underneath for a more party-appropriate look.)

4. Do "Gangnam Style" one last time. And while you're at it, have a "Call Me Maybe" karaoke session. But then let's retire those songs and leave them in 2012, deal?

5. That leftover Nutcracker tiara that's been sitting on your dresser since the final curtain? Bust it back out. It goes with your outfit.

6. Relax before your nighttime fiesta by re-reading your favorite DS articles from the year! Might I suggest this one, this one and this one?

7. Re-watch this. (I cannot get enough of these boys.)

8. Set a new pirouette PR. A "PR" is a term runners and other athletes use when they set new personal records, like time or distance goals. Why not go for a PR of your own by seeing how many pirouettes you can knock out before the clock strikes 2013?

9. Toast the new year with these festive (and healthified) winter drinks

10. Compliment someone. You'll feel good making someone else feel great! Go into the new year with a bit of positive karma, yeah?

11. Give your pas de deux partner a peck on the cheek at midnight. (Fine, go for the lips if you're feeling daring!) Not into your duo buddy? A sweet squeeze with your best girlfriends can't be beat!

12. After midnight, get cozy by slipping into these Discount Dance Supply flannels

You made it! Cheers to 2013: May your year be filled with pirouettes, passés and platinums. Happy New Year!

Joy to your worlds, friends!

If you're celebrating Christmas today, we hope you're snuggled up in holiday PJs with your families, opening presents, drinking hot chocolate and eating pancakes (no one ever said Christmas was a day for being healthy).

In the spirit of the holiday, we thought we'd share what's on each of our Christmas lists this year...

"All I want for Christmas is to have a DanceMedia [our parent company] talent show. Each magazine's staff—Pointe, Dance Magazine, Dance Retailer News and Dance Teacher—could put together a dance routine. The DS staff would rock. (In rhinestoned costumes, naturally.)" —Michael Anne Bailey, assistant/fashion editor and in-house bedazzler

"I want Misty Copeland to get promoted at American Ballet Theatre, already. It's long overdue—just ask Prince!" —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor and resident ballet guru

"I want a walk-on role in Annie (I'm short enough to be an orphan, right?) and lots of airline miles so I can travel to see my favorite dancers perform across the country. L.A. and Las Vegas, here I come!" —Rachel Zar, managing editor and DS shorty

As for me? I want In the Heights to return to Broadway forever. I want Ryan Steele to be my best friend. I want to salsa dance (well) with Luis Salgado. I want to be able to sing "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde: The Musical, and I want to actually hit—and hold—that crazy-long high note at the end. I want Chantel Aguirre to be mega-famous. I want fouette turns to be banned from competitions for one year—let's see what happens—and I want to go on a shopping spree with Cat Deeley.

Let me know how that list works out for you, Santa. I know I'm asking a lot, but I think my requests are pretty reasonable.

Have a safe, wonderful holiday, everyone!

The holiday season comes with a few inevitable truths you simply must accept:

  • You will love The Nutcracker...for one week. After that, you won't want to hear about sugar plums or The Land of Sweets.
  • The malls will be crowded.
  • Parking spaces at said malls will be sparse. Getting a good one is both fiercely competitive and unlikely.
  • Your list of people to shop for will continue to grow.
  • Despite your best intentions, your gift wrapping will not be flawless. (No one minds, promise.)
  • Despite your best intentions, your "I'm going to be super healthy this holiday season" resolution will lead you to the dessert tray at every fiesta.
  • You will become stressed out at some point, whether it's over wrapping or rehearsals.

We get it: The holidays are a festive time, but they're also a crazy-busy one.

When I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed with life, one thing always helps: making someone else feel good.

There are a few really easy things you can do right now to boost your winter mood and lift someone else's spirits:

Buy a gift for a child who may not get one. We like to think Santa can hit up every home this Christmas, but for some, they won't be a stop along his very busy way, for a myriad of reasons. Reach out to an organization like New York Cares—Winter Wishes to find out how you can get involved.

Use your talents for good. Check out these dancers who are doing just that. 

Be randomly kind. After the Newtown shooting, Ann Curry championed a campaign to get people doing good things. She dubbed it #26Acts, and the goal is to commit to 26 acts of kindness in memory of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary. I love this and I'm taking part, myself. Join me! It's so easy—think of things like holding the door for someone, paying for a stranger's cup of coffee or offering your seat to someone on the bus.

Now take a break from your wrapping and your cookie baking and get involved—someone out there will appreciate it.

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored