Photo by Joe Toreno

It was fall 2016. Gianna Reisen—then 17 and in her final year at the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet's official training school—had just been made the offer of a lifetime: the chance to choreograph a work for the company's fall gala. She would be the youngest person ever to do so.

Two weeks later, Reisen went from an all-time high to an all-time low: She found out she wouldn't be getting an apprenticeship with NYCB. "I absolutely deflated," she remembers. "Imagine if, after seven years of working towards something, it simply doesn't happen. It's sort of heartbreaking."

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Cover Story
Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

Berkley Houchin is a dance competition powerhouse. At just 12 years old, Houchin boasts the resume of a much more seasoned dancer. When she isn't at home on her ranch in Amarillo, Texas with her family and her horse, Jazz, Houchin is managing a whirlwind schedule of dance competitions. She is currently a Pro Reveler at the Revel Dance Competition, and she was awarded "Junior Miss Encore" and Encore "Performer of the Year" in 2018, among others.

When Houchin travels for competitions, she currently has 14 dances in tow. She knows that having things packed correctly is the difference between being able to focus on her dancing or fretting over where her next headpiece is. We took a look in Houchin's Dream Duffel bag to find out how she keeps all the details straight so she can focus on the stage (and, we're giving away all her favorite Dream Duffel products!):

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Sponsored by Dream Duffel
Photo by Erin Baiano

If you want some quick inspo on how to #doitall, look no further than Tate McRae. The 16-year-old somehow manages to balance approximately 25 different careers in fields including dance, singing, songwriting, acting, and modeling. Every project is imbued with her signature off-beat relatability.

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Dance Videos
Courtesy Just for Kix

Purple is often associated with royalty, power and wisdom. Sound like qualities you'd like to bring to your dancing? Same.

We rounded up our favorite purple looks from Just for Kix, for inside the studio or on the stage:

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Just for Inspiration, Sponsored by Just for Kix
Photo by Erin Baiano

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I just moved to a new dance studio that provides great training. But there's an awful culture of bullying there. While I'm not getting bullied myself, I see girls being picked on constantly. It seems like the teachers must be aware of it—it's happening in a really obvious way in the studio—but nobody ever says anything. What can I do to help the situation?

Emilie

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Dear Katie
Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

Competition season is just around the corner. In anticipation of all the craziness to come, we asked comp star Berkley Houchin about how she survives her busy schedule. Turns out, the secret is her Dream Duffel bag—and the many products in it.

We're giving away all Houchin's Dream Duffel competition essentials. Click here to enter by October 31st.

Sponsored by Dream Duffel
Because there's a right (and a wrong) way to stretch (Getty Images)

If you've seen it once, you've seen it a million times: a pic or vid of an über-flexible dancer stretching her enviably limber limbs. She's got her banana feet jammed between a portable barre and the floor, or a Gumby-esque leg propped impossibly high on a dresser. You've probably felt jealous of her wow-worthy flexibility.

But Ashley deLalla, a physical therapist and Pilates instructor with the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters' Dance Medicine Program in Norfolk, VA, has a very different reaction. "It's cringeworthy. I find myself holding my breath, especially when you look at how young these dancers are," she says. Athletic trainer and acupuncturist Megan Richardson, who's on staff at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in NYC, agrees: "Overstretching—forcing yourself into an extreme position for a long time, or doing the wrong stretch for what you're trying to achieve—has always been a cultural problem in the dance world." So what is the right way to stretch? We're so glad you asked.

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Health & Body
Photo by Jayme Thornton

It's National Bullying Prevention Month—and Houston Ballet breakout star Harper Watters is exactly the advocate young dancers facing bullying need. Watters is no novice when it comes to slaying on social media, but his Bullying Prevention Month collaboration with Teen Vogue and Instagram is him at his most raw, speaking about his own experiences with bullies, and how his love of dance helped him to overcome adversity. Watters even penned an incredible op-ed for Teen Vogue's website, where he talks candidly about growing up queer. Catch his amazing anti-bullying video here—and, as Watters says, "Stay fabulous, stay flawless, stay flexible, but most importantly, stay fearless."

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Dancer to Dancer
Via Youtube

Bailey Muñoz's journey to stardom on "So You Think You Can Dance" may have seemed instantaneous (he and his partner Mariah Russell quickly won over viewers' hearts and became the last two contestants standing). But as it turns out, Bailey's been showing off his b-boy chops on TV for longer than you'd think: he competed on "America's Got Talent" in 2010, and was featured on "Dancing With The Stars" in 2011. But our hands-down favorite throwback performance? This segment from "Make Your Mark" on Disney Channel, which shows Bailey performing at World of Dance New York in 2013.

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Dance Videos
Megan Mizanty (in black) teaching at Wilson College (Kendra Tidd, courtesy Mizanty)

It seems like it should go without saying: Choreographers create on dancers…right? Right—except when they don't. Depending on your career path as a choreographer, you may end up working with nondancers frequently. Actors, models, and even pop stars often lack the level of dance training that makes performing movement look effortless. But think of your job as an exciting challenge, and you'll be able to create something that looks great on everybody involved.

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How To
Splish splash, you should be taking a bath! (Getty Images)

After a grueling day in the studio, it's important to give your tired muscles some extra TLC. Baths are a great way to aid recovery, but figuring out the most effective temperature can get complicated—should you go piping hot, or ice cold? Here, we break down the benefits of both.

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Health & Body
Photo by Erin Baiano

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I can do fouetté turns forever in flat shoes—but once I put my pointe shoes on, everything falls apart. How can I improve my fouettés on pointe?

Isabella

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Dear Katie
Getty Images

If, like us, you're obsessed with every move choreographer Phil Wright makes, then you know all about "The Parent Jam," Wright's workshop series that gets the whole family into dance class. Videos of the masterclasses, in which Wright teaches simple choreography to both parents and kids, have gone crazy-viral on YouTube. And it's not hard to see why—they're infectiously fun.

Now, Wright's inspired idea is about to reach an even bigger audience: Disney Channel just ordered "Disney Fam Jam," a family dance competition series based on "The Parent Jam."

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Dance News
We'd be willing to wear a Donald Duck costume if it meant we could join the "DWTS" cast for a Disneyland performance. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal, courtesy ABC)

DISNEY! NIGHT! Disney Night on "Dancing with the Stars"! Sorry, but we're still not over the bedazzled amazing-ness that was last night's episode. If last week's lack of glitz and glamour left us feeling a bit underwhelmed, Disney Night made up for it doubly—starting with one of the best opening numbers we've seen in a minute (filmed on-site at Disneyland, nbd).

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Dance Videos
Friendly reminder that tWitch and Allison Holker are absolute goals. (Via YouTube)

Regardless of any drama surrounding Ellen DeGeneres which may or may not have occurred last week, we're still major fans of the majorly adorable Ellen-tWitch friendship. tWitch is a regular DJ and dance-master on Ellen's show, and we love to watch the duo do their thing. And this past Friday, Ellen gave her bestie a shot at the big job: hosting.

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