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9 Moods Every Dancer Has During "Nutcracker" Season

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the moment the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, the holiday season has begun. And for dancers, that means only one thing: It's officially full-on Nutcracker time.

Sure, we've been in rehearsals since September, but it's not until ~spooky~ season ends that we can really start getting in the Nutcracker mood. And as the holidays kick into high gear, things around the studio start getting a little crazy. Here are the nine moods every dancer experiences at least once during the annual Nutcracker rush.


When You're Asked to Run "Waltz of the Flowers" for the 75th Time...Today

Just...it's seven minutes long.

When You Show Up to Rehearsal at 8 AM on a Sunday Morning

You'll be marking it until the coffee kicks in, sorry (not sorry).

When You Hear "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" on the Radio

Or during a TV commercial, or at the supermarket...you get the drift.

When Someone Asks You to Pantomime

You're not quite sure what you're supposed to be saying here, and the audience probably won't understand it either. But hey, at least it looks cool!

When You Try on Your Battle Scene Costume

You know you're supposed to be dressed as a mouse, but couldn't it be just a little bit cuter?

When You Fall on the Fake Snow

The snow scene was going so great! And then—BAM.

When You Try Your Quick Change for the First Time

And of course, the costume you're changing into has different tights, shoes, makeup, and hair—plus arm puffs, a hat, and a hook-and-eye back.

When You Go Through Yet Another Pair of Pointe Shoes

It's the ones you love who hurt you the most.

When You Finally Get Onstage with Your Friends

And remember all of the many reasons you love The Nutcracker.

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These Dance Comps and Conventions Are Coming to a Living Room Near You

While dancers all over the world are sharing the heartache of canceled classes, shows, and projects, our hearts hurt especially hard for a group of dancers we at Dance Spirit couldn't admire more: comp and convention kids. Determined to challenge your artistry and learn from cutting-edge faculty, you dancers normally brave crowded ballrooms and nonstop schedules all year long. But just because you might not be in one of those crowded ballrooms for a while doesn't mean that part of your dance life has to grind to a halt.

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Troy Ogilvie, who teaches dance improvisation classes in NYC (Franziska Strauss, courtesy Ogilvie)

Stay Creative with These 5 Improv Exercises You Can Do at Home

If social distancing has you feeling unusually restless right now (cabin fever is REAL), a good improvisation session could be the dance remedy you need. Improv, which is the simultaneous creation and performance of movement without any preparation, doesn't require a dance studio or stage. In fact, sometimes working in an unconventional space—like your own home—can prompt even more interesting movement. And when done right, improvising is seriously liberating.

"Improvisation can be uniquely healing if you give yourself time to listen to your body without judgement," says Troy Ogilvie, who teaches improvisation classes at renowned institutions like SpringboardX and Peridance in New York City. "It allows us to interact with our surroundings and emotions more directly."

Here are five improvisation exercises you can do at home to keep your body and mind moving.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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