Dance News

Gather 'round, ballet nerds, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and I fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what? It's time to put your "Snow" knowledge to the test. Match the snowflakes to the correct company's Nutcracker. And if that's too easy, see if you can name each production's choreographer for extra credit. Good luck!

1.

(Angela Sterling)

2.

(Paul Kolnik)

3.

(Gene Schiavone)

4.

(Sebastien Mathe)

5.

(Luke Isley)

6.

(Erik Tomasson)

7.

(Alexander Iziliaev)

8.

(Dave Morgan)

9. 

(Cheryl Mann)

10.

(Gene Schiavone)

A. New York City Ballet in ______'s The Nutcracker

B. Boston Ballet in ______'s The Nutcracker

C. The Royal Ballet in _____'s The Nutcracker

D. San Francisco Ballet in ________'s Nutcracker

E. Joffrey Ballet in ______'s The Nutcracker

F. Pacific Northwest Ballet in ______'s Nutcracker

G. American Ballet Theatre in ______'s The Nutcracker

H. Paris Opéra Ballet in ______'s Casse-Noisette

I. Pennsylvania Ballet in ______'s The Nutcracker

J. Ballet West in ______'s The Nutcracker

Think you got 'em all? Get the answers here!

(Photo by Tracy Whiteside/thinkstock.com)

1. Your teacher asks you to freestyle at the end of class. What’s your go-to showstopper?

A. A huge shimmy followed by a big body-roll

B. Time steps, pullbacks and wings until your taps nearly fall off

C. The quadruple pirouette your teacher didn’t even know you’d mastered

D. Sky-high extensions with perfect turnout and pointed feet

2. At lunch, you’re most likely to be surrounded by…

A. …all the boys.

B. …the girls you’ve been best friends with since kindergarten.

C. …no one. You kind of do your own thing.

D. …dance friends one day, jocks another. You bounce from group to group.

3. Your school’s big homecoming dance is this weekend. What are you wearing?

A. Something bright, flirty and spotlight-worthy

B. Whatever’s clean—everything goes great with a smile.

C. A black dress. I stick with what works.

D. Something that coordinates with my friends’ outfits

4. What’s your karaoke song?

A. “Roar,” by Katy Perry

B. “Royals,” by Lorde

C. “Born This Way,” by Lady Gaga

D. “Love Story,” by Taylor Swift

5. You’re competing this weekend. Which routine are you most looking forward to?

A. My solo. When I’m onstage alone, I don’t have to worry about showing up my teammates.

B. The small group jazz routine my friends and I have been working on all season. It’s not too complicated, but it’s tons of fun.

C. I was gunning for a solo, but it went to another girl at my studio, so I’ll be in the audience watching and learning.

D. My duo. My partner and I have tons of chemistry, and we can’t wait to show it off.

6. Your birthday’s coming up. Any fun plans?

A. I’m throwing a big party—the whole grade is invited!

B. I’m secretly hoping for a trip to NYC with my parents. But if that doesn’t happen, maybe a movie with my friends.

C. A quiet night in. I doubt my classmates even know it’s my birthday.

D. I’m planning to show off my new look—I’m getting a birthday makeover!

7. If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

A. Mind reading. I’d love to hear all the wonderful things people are thinking about me!

B. The ability to talk to animals. I know they have a lot to say.

C. Flying. Sometimes you just have to get away.

D. Time travel. I wouldn’t mind reliving last summer—it was amazing!

8. What’s your best subject in school?

A. public speaking

B. home economics

C. science

D. English

9. There’s a rumor going around school—about you! How do you handle it?

A. I laugh it off and confront the big talkers. People are just jealous. Plus, all attention is good attention, right?

B. I ignore it. It’ll all blow over by tomorrow.

C. I’m embarrassed at first, but then I move on. I don’t need validation from others.

D. I cry and go straight to my friends for support.

10. You’re in a crowded convention class with your favorite teacher. Where do you stand?

A. Front and center. I want to see her, and I definitely want to make sure she can see me.

B. I lead my studio friends toward the front of the room, but off to the side where there’s room for us to stay together.

C. It doesn’t matter, as long as I have enough space to dance full-out every time.

D. My friends have usually staked out a spot by the time I get there, so I join them.

 

Scroll down for your results...

 

(In purple) Karen Olivo as Anita with the Shark girls in West Side Story (Photo by Joan Marcus)

 

 

If you scored mostly A’s, you’re Anita from West Side Story.

You love being the center of attention, and you’re not afraid to show off for a crowd. The more sparkles on your costume, the better!

Lila Crawford as Annie with Sunny (photo by Joan Marcus)

 

 

 

 

If you scored mostly B’s, you’re Annie from Annie.

You’re a loyal friend, and you’re always thinking about what’s best for your entire team. You’re endlessly optimistic—if you don’t nail that tough combination today, you’ll get it tomorrow.

Nicole Parker as Elphaba in Wicked (photo by Joan Marcus)

 

 

 

 

If you scored mostly C’s, you’re Elphaba from Wicked.

You’re strong-willed, independent and willing to work hard for what you want—even if that means flying solo sometimes. Your determination will pay off in the end.

 

Max Crumm and Laura Osnes as Danny and Sandy in Grease (photo by Scott Gries)

 

 

 

If you scored mostly D’s, you’re Sandy from Grease.

You’re perky, preppy and a hopeless romantic. You’re a perfectionist in the studio, and you have big dreams for the future.

(iStock)

Confidence plays a major role in how you carry yourself on and off the dance floor. Do you hold your head high even when things get a little rough? Or are you prone to self-esteem slumps? Take our quiz to find out.

 

 

 

1. You’re out to dinner with friends after a performance and the server brings you the wrong order. What do you do?

[a]    Eat it anyway

[b]    Politely let the server know about the mistake

[c]    Roll your eyes and loudly demand the correct order

 

2. You weren’t accepted into your dream summer program this year. How do you feel?

[a]    Devastated—like you’ll never be good enough to reach your goals

[b]    Disappointed, but glad you tried. You’ll ask your teacherwhat you should work on for next year’s audition.

[c]    Indifferent. You’re probably too good for that program anyway.

 

3. You finally landed a triple pirouette, but instead of praising you, your teacher says your relevé could still be higher. How do you react?

[a]    By trying to hide your tears of frustration

[b]    By nodding your understanding and applying the correction

[c]    By ignoring the correction. Those turns were perfect!

 

4. Your best friend asks to borrow your favorite leotard—the one you want to wear today. What do you say?

[a]    “Sure!” You’re afraid she’ll be mad if you say no.

[b]    “I planned to wear it today, but you can borrow it next week!”

[c]    “No way!” She won’t look as good as you do in it anyway.

 

5. If you make a mistake during rehearsal, what do you say to yourself?

[a]    “I’m dumb. I’ll never get it right.”

[b]    “That was a silly mistake, but I can do better next time.”

[c]    “It wasn’t my fault! Everyone else was wrong.”

 

6. Your dance teacher suggests you need to improve your leaps. What’s your plan of action?

[a]    Work on them on your own. You don’t want to waste your teacher’s time.

[b]    Schedule a private lesson with your teacher exclusively for practicing jumps

[c]    Focus on your turns instead. Your leaps are awesome!

 

7. How do you feel when you take class from a new and unfamiliar teacher?

[a]    Nervous and uncomfortable

[b]    Curious and excited to learn

[c]    Determined to show off your skills from front row, center

 

8. Your studio is holding auditions for a special solo in this year’s recital. Will you audition?

[a]    Probably not. You don’t feel strong enough to perform a solo.

[b]    Why not? It never hurts to try!

[c]    Yes—but secretly you feel like you shouldn’t even have to try

out. That solo is yours!

 

9. What do you do if you’re having difficulty picking up a combination?

[a]    Keep quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself

[b]    Raise your hand and ask your teacher to demonstrate more slowly

[c]    Add a little improv to your trouble spots. It’ll make it more fun, anyway.

 

HOW'D YOU SCORE?

If you answered mostly A's, your low self-esteem is probably interfering with your life—and your dancing. According to Dr. Linda Hamilton, wellness consultant for New York City Ballet, “Dancers who lack self-confidence feel uncomfortable expressing their opinions in front of others. They feel anxious asking for help.” As a result, you may feel frustrated and downtrodden.

How can you give your confidence a boost? Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. “Follow the ‘best friend rule,’ ” Hamilton advises. “If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself!” And try not to sweat the small stuff. One wobbly pirouette doesn’t make you a bad dancer. Even the pros make mistakes!

If you answered mostly B's, you’re a confidence queen! You may struggle with feelings of self-doubt, but you’re usually able to keep them in perspective. When you reach a roadblock, you take a deep breath and figure out a new route. “With healthy self-confidence, you can adjust your goals,” Hamilton says. “You may think, ‘Even if I don’t make it in a ballet company, I can still dance.’ For example, you might change your focus to theater dance.” Strong self-esteem won’t fix all your problems, but the ability to persevere and stay positive in the face of challenges can have a lasting impact on your overall health and happiness. Keep it up!

If you answered mostly C's, it might be time for a reality check. An inability to accept constructive criticism or recognize your areas of weakness isn’t doing you any favors. A cocky attitude can slow—or even halt—your improvement and earn you a less-than-stellar reputation. But is your overconfidence just a mask for low self-esteem? “Dancers with grandiose attitudes may actually be overcompensating,” says Hamilton. “They may not have much confidence at all.”

How can you stay realistic about your abilities? “Go to a teacher for feedback,” says Hamilton. A good dance teacher can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. You can feel good about yourself and be confident without acting like a total diva!

(iStock)

“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 9 winner
Eliana Girard (courtesy FOX)

From the wannabe-primas on “Bunheads” to the fierce comp kids on “Dance Moms,” talented dancers—both real and fictional—are all over the TV these days. So which small-screen star are you most like? Take our quiz to find out.

What’s your turning specialty? 

[a] A perfect triple pirouette.

[b] Powerful, super-flashy fouettés.

[c] Pretty traveling piqués and chaînés.

 

Fifteen minutes before show time, you’re…

[a] …already in the wings, calmly reviewing choreography in your head.

[b] …in your dressing room, singing along to your iPod as you apply another coat of your signature bright red lipstick.

[c] …backstage, offering words of encouragement to your nervous friends.

 

How do you master a difficult new combo?

[a] By practicing endlessly until the steps look perfect and effortless.

[b] By adding a few personal touches, like a sassy hair flip, to help you feel more confident.

[c] By observing other dancers until you feel ready to tackle the moves yourself.

 

What are your favorite jumps? 

[a] Soaring grand jetés.

[b] Switch leaps and toe touches—go big or go home!

[c] Assemblés, pas de chats and any kind of small jump you can do with a group.

 

You’re asked to improv for 16 counts. What do you do?

[a] Solid moves that show off your technique and your personality.

[b] Every trick in your arsenal, from high kicks to acrobatics. You want to be noticed!

[c] A combo of simple steps you know well.

 

If you were an iconic ballet character, who would you be?

[a] Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty:

the picture-perfect princess.

[b] Kitri from Don Quixote: sassy, seductive and sultry.

[c] One of the four little swans from

Swan Lake: Go, team!

 

In dance class, where do you usually stand?

[a] Close to the instructor, so you can hear corrections.

[b] Front and center!

[c] Any spot where you have enough room to dance and won’t be in anyone’s way.

 

What’s your favorite thing about performing?

[a] The satisfaction of executing a difficult dance flawlessly.

[b] The applause and compliments you receive afterward.

[c] Being able to share the joy of dance with an audience.

 

Your choreographer wants you to dance a solo at an upcoming competition. How do you feel?

[a] Not surprised. You’re a pro at dancing solo.

[b] Psyched! You’re finally getting the recognition you deserve.

[c] Grateful, but nervous. You’re not used to being in the spotlight.

 

How do you feel when your best friend lands the part you want?

[a] Disappointed at first—but happy once you realize your part is even bigger.

[b] A little angry with the director. You were perfect for that role!

[c] Ecstatic for your friend. You’re more comfortable with smaller parts anyway.

 

WHO'S YOUR ONSCREEN ALTER EGO?

Maddie Ziegler (by Scott Gries)

If you answered mostly A’s, you’re the LEADING LADY, like Maddie Ziegler from “Dance Moms,” Eliana Girard from “So You Think You Can Dance,” Karen Cartwright from “Smash” and Christiana Bennett from “Breaking Pointe.” You were born for the spotlight, and you’re always working hard for that next big role. But don’t forget, dancing is supposed to be fun, so try not to take it too seriously all the time.

 

 

 

Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn (by Patrick Harbron/NBC)

If you answered mostly B’s, you’re THE DIVA, like Taja Riley from “All the Right Moves,” Ivy Lynn from “Smash” and Sasha Torres from “Bunheads.” You’ve got the attitude as well as the moves, and you’re not afraid to show off! Sometimes it’s best to tone it down a bit, though: If your technique is top-notch and your personality screams “Book me!” you’ve probably got the job. And remember to keep your ego in check—no one likes a bossy ballerina!

 

 

Nia Frazier and Paige Hyland on “Dance Moms” (by Adam Taylor/ ABC Family)

If you answered mostly C’s, you’re THE BEST FRIEND, like Nia Frazier from “Dance Moms,” Jaimie Goodwin from “All the Right Moves” and Boo Jordan from “Bunheads.” You might take a backseat to the leading lady, but you don’t mind—you just love to dance! You’ll get your moment in the spotlight when the time is right—and when you really want it. In the meantime, know that your talent is worth showing off a little, so don’t get too comfortable in the back row.

Florida State University studnets take Suzanne Farrell's ballet class alongside Suzanne Farrell Ballet company members

Stressed about picking the right college? Even if a great dance program is your top priority, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of other factors to consider, from location to class size to extracurricular options. When it comes time to sort through that stack of college catalogs, use our quiz to help you narrow the field and decide what type of school best suits you. 

 

After a long day of classes, you prefer to unwind by: 

a. hitting up a poetry reading with friends.

b. rooting for the home team at a football game.

c. checking out the theater department’s new play.

d. heading downtown to bask in the local nightlife.

 

Besides dance, what’s your favorite kind of class? 

a. A class in which you’re encouraged to share your opinions and ideas about the material

b. A lecture where you can be anonymous and concentrate on taking notes

c. What other classes? Dance is all that matters!

d. A class that involves frequent field trips   and on-site learning at museums, historic sites and galleries

 

You’re packing your school bag for the day. You make sure to include:

a. a draft of the philosophy paper you’re working on.

b. your science textbook and laptop.

c. an extra leotard and a copy of the day’s rehearsal schedule.

d. your bus or subway pass.

 

You have an unexpected break between classes. How do you spend your extra half-hour? 

a. Diving into the novel you’ve just been assigned

b. Racing across campus to make it to your next lecture on time for once

c. Stretching and reviewing choreography

in your head

d. Squeezing in some homework and

people-watching at a busy café on the

corner

 

It’s the first week of school! What are you most excited about?  

a. Taking classes in a wide variety of subjects that interest you

b. Scoping out the Greek life scene

c. Getting to focus on dance 24/7

d. Exploring the neighborhoods surrounding your campus

 

Which of these dorm styles appeals to you?

a. A quiet, laid-back dorm small enough for you to know everyone

b. A multistory building constantly bustling with activity

c. A dorm dominated by the sounds of show tunes and impromptu rehearsals

d. An apartment-style dorm smack dab in the middle of a city

 

What’s your lunch of choice on a busy weekday?

a. The daily special from the only cafeteria on campus

b. A sandwich from one of the on-campus sub shops included in your meal plan

c. Anything light and portable you can eat between rehearsal and modern class

d. Something exotic from a new, trendy restaurant near campus

 

Aside from dance, what kinds of extracurriculars does your ideal school offer?

a. Plenty of clubs and an active student government

b. A variety of sports teams, sororities and fraternities

c. Student-directed shows and performance groups

d. Internship opportunities in almost every field imaginable

 

You prefer to be surrounded by:

a. a rural landscape.

b. a relaxed, suburban neighborhood.

c. ballet barres, of course!

d. a hip, urban environment.

 

You hit a mental block while working on a big term paper. Where do you go for help?

a. Your professor

b. The extensive campus library, to do some more research

c. Dance class, to blow off some steam and clear your head

d. A nearby art gallery for inspiration

 

Dancers in class at SUNY Purchase

HOW'D YOU SCORE?

Mostly A’s: A small private liberal arts college. Your voice will be heard in one of these intellectual hubs, which boast intimate class sizes. Check out Sarah Lawrence College, Amherst College and Bates College.

 

Mostly B’s: A big research university in the suburbs. These schools offer solid academics with bustling campus social scenes and, often, fantastic dance programs. Check out Indiana University, Florida State University and University of Michigan.

 

Mostly C’s: A performing arts conservatory program with an exclusive dance focus. Some conservatory programs pair with universities to offer academics, while others focus entirely on dance. Check out The Juilliard School, Point Park University, SUNY Purchase and the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA program at Dominican University of California.

 

Mostly D’s: A cool school in a big city. Who needs a sprawling campus when you’ve got hot nightlife, enriching cultural experiences and killer internship opportunities at your fingertips? Check out New York University, The Boston Conservatory and Barnard College.

 

Come up with a mixed bag of answers? Check out schools that offer the best of multiple worlds! For example, places like Marymount Manhattan College and Columbia College Chicago offer liberal arts programs in a big-city setting, while University of North Carolina School of the Arts lets dancers reap the benefits of a conservatory program while enjoying the resources of a state university.

Your Body

Courtesy Choosemyplate.gov

You probably learned about the food pyramid back in elementary school. But did you know that First Lady Michelle Obama recently helped introduce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate icon to replace it? That’s right: Coinciding with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to end childhood obesity, the USDA has created an easier way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your body performance-ready. Simply follow the icon: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, about a quarter with grains and a quarter with protein, then add a small side of dairy. It’s that easy. Just make sure your plate isn’t super-sized!

Perfect Portions

Test your knowledge about how much you should really be eating.

1.    One serving of vegetables or fresh fruit is about the size of:

a)    a ping-pong ball

b)    a baseball

c)    a softball

2. One serving of fish is similar in size to:

a)    a credit card

b)    a passport

c)    a checkbook

3. One serving of dried fruit and nuts is comparable in size to:

a)    a large egg

b)    a lemon

c)    an avocado

4. One serving of ice cream is similar in size to:

a)    a golf ball

b)    a tennis ball

c)    a Wiffle ball

5. One serving of meat is about the size of:

a)    a box of matches

b)    a deck of cards

c)    a postcard

Quiz Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b, 5. b

 

Make portion control easier:

Never eat straight from the bag. Just pour a serving size of your favorite snack into a small bowl. You’ll eat less and feel satisfied—not sick.

Boyfriends & Ballet

Men who attend the ballet, museums and other cultural events lead healthier and happier lives, according to a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. If your man has been feeling upset or anxious lately, cheer him (and yourself!) up with tickets to see your favorite ballet company. It’s time for a date night at the theater.

Bright Eyes 

If you’ve been rehearsing late and waking up early, you’re probably sporting some unwanted bags under your eyes. For a quick remedy, place your eye moisturizer in the refrigerator overnight. The cool cream will reduce puffiness and act as a moisturizer, leaving you looking healthy and happy!

So how'd you do, bunheads? Did you match each "Snow" scene to the correct Nutcracker? Here are the answers (including each production's choreographer):

1. F

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Kent Stowell's Nutcracker (photo by Angela Sterling)

2. A

New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (photo by Paul Kolnik)

3. B

Boston Ballet's Paulo Arrais and Kathleen Breen Combes in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker (photo by Gene Schiavone)

4. H

Paris Opéra Ballet in Rudolf Nureyev's Casse-Noisette (photo by Sebastien Mathe)

5. J

Ballet West in Willam Christiansen’s The Nutcracker (photo by Luke Isley)

6. D

San Francisco Ballet's Sarah Van Patten and Pierre-François Vilanoba in Helgi Tomasson's Nutcracker (photo by Erik Tomasson)

7. I

Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Alexander Iziliaev)

8. C

The Royal Ballet in Peter Wright's The Nutcracker (photo by Dave Morgan)

9. E

Joffrey Ballet in Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker (photo by Cheryl Mann)

10. G

American Ballet Theatre in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker (photo by Gene Schiavone)

Need a do-over? Click here to take the quiz again.

Your Body

Some things in life are black and white: Either you got the part or you didn’t. Either your competition team took first place or it didn’t. Other issues are more complicated. You might have mixed feelings about a piece of choreography, or you may like petite allegro more on some days than on others. Eating habits and attitudes about food are similar, because there is a large gray area between what is healthy and what is not. Complete the following questionnaire to learn where you fall in this range. The results may be surprising.

QUESTIONS

1. Can you eat when you’re hungry and quit when you’re satisfied?

2. Do you stop eating because you think you should (as opposed to because your body is satisfied)?

3. Do you make food choices based on foods you enjoy?

4. Do you become physically uncomfortable (weak, tired, dizzy, etc.) when you undereat or diet?

5. Do you feel that your food selections are a combination of “healthy foods” and “pleasurable foods”?

6. Do you have to eat in a certain pattern—always three meals a day or always at a certain time of the day?

7. Do you believe that if you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, you will not get fat?

8. Do you feel guilty when you eat to the point that you’re stuffed and uncomfortable?

9. Can you balance the time you give to thoughts about food, weight and dieting with thoughts about other important aspects of your life, such as relationships, dance, work and self-development?

10. Does what other people eat determine what and how much you will eat?

11. Can you leave some cookies on the plate, because you know you can have some more tomorrow?

12. Do you usually pick foods based on their calorie content?

13. Are your regular eating habits unaffected by important events, such as performances or auditions?

14. Do comments (from teachers, friends, parents) about your appearance influence how much you eat?

15. Do you maintain your regular eating habits despite varying levels of physical activity, not aiming to eat more on days when you’re dancing a lot or less on days when you’re not?

16. Does the way you see yourself in the mirror influence what and how much you eat?

*This survey is designed to help you reflect on your relationship with food. “Normal” eating is flexible and varies naturally according to your emotions, daily activities, hunger and proximity to food.

*SCORING

1. Give yourself one point for each no answer to an odd-numbered question. Write that number here: ____

2. Give yourself one point for each yes answer to an even-numbered question. Write that number here: ___

3. Add your points together to get your final score: _____

NOTE: This questionnaire can only give results based on the limited number of questions asked. It cannot account for the truthfulness of the answers, only for the self-reporting of each participant. The interpretations given are for informational and educational purposes only, and do not constitute or substitute for any psychological and medical evaluations performed by a qualified professional, nor for any psychological or medical treatment. If psychological or medical evaluation and treatment are indicated in your score, immediately consult a qualified professional.

DS would like to thank the Renfrew Center Foundation for granting permission to republish and adapt the questionnaires used in this article.

Katia Bachko, with consulting by Susan Kleinman, MA, ADTR, NCC

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