Maria Kochetkova Multitasks Like a Boss

Brief soapbox moment: Does anyone else feel like the Christmas season started the minute Halloween was over? I mean, Starbucks immediately brought out their cranberry-colored cups and ginger-bread-y goodness. The drug stores swept their candy aside and replaced it with Santa hats, Christmas lights and red-and-green wrapping paper. And the holiday commercials descended with gusto. Don't get me wrong, I love me some good old fashioned holiday spirit (#nogrinch!), but what ever happened to Thanksgiving?!

Kochetkova: supreme elegance, even when she's on her smart phone.

Anywho...I'll admit that there is one holiday commercial out this year that I'm kind of obsessed with. San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova's VISA Checkout and Gap.com commercial is perfect.

It begins with the familiar swells of an orchestra tuning and warming up, with shots of dancers marking on stage. Then, the Morgan Freeman voice-over kicks in (love!). He asks: "Can Maria Kochetkova pay for holiday gifts at Gap.com while dancing The Nutcracker?"

The answer is yes, of course she can—and she doesn't let a single lift, jump or pirouette interrupt her. (Question: How does one spot while typing on a phone?) So in case you ever wondered how professional ballerinas get their holiday shopping done during Nutcracker season, here's your answer:

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.

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Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe

It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.

But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.

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