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Former Rhythmic Gymnast and Founder of Farfalla Fitness Iryna Yemengulova (Courtesy Farfalla)

How a Former Rhythmic Gymnast Created a Stretching and Strengthening Program Just for Dancers

For most dancers, rhythmic gymnasts are revered as sort-of superheroes. Think Elastigirl, from The Incredibles: Rhythmic gymnasts are the kind of flexible you usually only see in the movies. So even for us dancers, they're #FlexibilityGoals.

But what if you could train like a rhythmic gymnast? Or, better yet, with a rhythmic gymnast? Well, that's why Iryna Yemengulova founded Farfalla Fitness, a stretching method specially designed for dancers, created by Yemengulova herself, a former rhythmic gymnast. For all the deets on how you can achieve your #FlexibilityGoals with the help of Farfalla, read on.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers perform the mazurka in Coppélia (Angela Sterling, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet)

Building Character: What Happened to the Popularity of Character Dance?

Most full-length classical ballets feature several character dances—troupes of dancing peasants, parades of visiting princesses. Today, those dances are often seen as "filler," interludes to give the principals a breather between classical variations. But back in the 19th century, when many of these ballets premiered, character dances had deep cultural significance. Ballerinas, equally versed in character and classical techniques, would perform character dances in stand-alone programs. (Picture a Paris opera house full of cheering crowds, demanding multiple encores after their favorite star performs a knockout mazurka.) How did something that used to be so popular, and once provided critical context, fade from prominence?

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#TeamDaNelly made just want to "Jump, Jive, an' Wail" last night. (Erin McCandless, courtesy ABC)

"DWTS" Week 10 Recap: Double (Elimination) Trouble

We'd like to take a brief moment of silence for the fact that we made it to the semi-finals of this season of "Dancing with the Stars" without a single coronavirus case. The producers of a television dance competition really do have a better handle on this whole "pandemic" thing than some world leaders do, huh? (Though, "Strictly Come Dancing" didn't fare quite as well...)

And boy are we glad that this season didn't get shut down, because last night's semi-finals were chock full of some of the best dancing in "DWTS" history. But in case you missed the episode (or you were too busy counting down the hours until Ariana Grande's music video release), we rounded up all the best dancing—and the results of last night's shocking *double* elimination.

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Because there are lots of ways for dancers to lessen our impact on the environment. (Getty Images/TShum)

The Dancer's Guide to Sustainability

In many ways, the planet we live on is like a dance partner. It provides for us, inspires us, and supports us. And like in any good duet, both partners benefit when support and respect go both ways.

Did you know that there are choices you can make as a dancer to lessen your impact on the environment? Here are some of the best ways that you can dance towards a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle.


Carpool to class, competition, and convention

Fact: Car rides (like most things) are more fun with friends. Organize a carpool with your #DanceSquad to your next competition or convention, or even just to the studio. Fewer cars on the road means less gasoline used, and you can use the time spent in the car to catch up with your besties—instead of getting busted for whispering at the barre or during warmup.

Invest in reusable accessories

If you're not on the #SaveTheTurtles bandwagon yet, consider this your formal invitation. Single-use plastics like sandwich bags, plastic straws, and yes, even your precious Starbucks cups, account for around 10% of all waste we produce. Half a million plastic straws are used in the world every day.

Invest in reusable containers for your snacks and lunches and keep your water in a refillable bottle. Customize them with stickers for an accessory that's as cute as it is eco-friendly. Trust us: Your PSL will taste just as good from a reusable coffee mug.

Reuse dance costumes

Did you just love your large group contemporary costume from last season, or were you super jealous of the fierce small group jazz costume that the older girls wore? Instead of cracking open that costume catalog to select a look for your new solo, try shopping in your own closet (or someone else's). If you can reuse a costume from a previous season, or buy one secondhand from a teammate, you'll be saving all the resources it takes to manufacture and ship a new dance costume (and you'll save some money, too).

Look into sustainable dancewear

Who said recycling can't be stylish? More and more uses are being found for recycled single-use plastics, including Repreve, a new form of polyester made from recycled water bottles. Rezonance Athletics, founded by ABT dancer Betsy McBride, uses Repreve as well as recycled nylon to make leotards, bike shorts, and hair accessories. Consider investing in an ethically and sustainably-made piece the next time you shop for dancewear.

Follow the golden rule

It might be tempting to dump all your single-use plastics and old leos in favor of your new sticker-covered thermos, or your trendy new dancewear made from recycled materials, but remember the number-one rule of sustainability: The most sustainable and eco-friendly products you can use are the ones that you already have. Instead, focus on replacing finished or worn-out products with ethically made and eco-friendly choices.

All the doctors you might encounter in your dance career, from A to Z. (Getty Images/photoguns)

The Dancer's Dictionary of Medical Specialists

Podiatrists and physiatrists and pulmonologists, oh, my! There are a lot of medical subspecialists out there—and many of these professionals can make a real difference to a dancer's health and career. With the help of Virginia Wilmerding, PhD (dance science researcher and research professor for the exercise science and dance programs at the University of New Mexico), and Elizabeth Yutzey, MFA in dance science (and chair of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science's Student Committee), Dance Spirit has compiled a handy list of specialist physicians that growing dancers should be aware of.

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