"Strictly Ballet" Season 2 Is Happening!

There's been a pointe shoe-sized hole in our hearts ever since the first season of Teen Vogue's "Strictly Ballet" wrapped up last spring. The web series, which went inside the prestigious School of American Ballet, did such a beautiful job depicting the pressures and joys of life as an aspiring professional dancer. It showed us a familiar world in an eye-opening way. (And obviously we love a good dance-y web series.)

Dancers from the first season of "Strictly Ballet" (via teenvogue.com)

Well friends, get your popcorn ready, because "Strictly Ballet" Season 2 is officially a thing! The next installment of the series, which premieres May 20, will follow talented students at Miami City Ballet School. It's an interesting tack to take, because SAB and MCBS actually share a connection: They both come from the same Balanchine tradition. But NYC has significantly fewer beaches than Miami, and oh my gosh we can't WAIT for the dancing-on-the-beach montages that are inevitably headed our way.

To tide us crazy fans over until May 20, Teen Vogue put together a little video featurette on Mimi Staker, one of the gorgeous stars of the first season. Staker's now a full-fledged member of New York City Ballet, and the vid gives us a peek at what her professional life looks like. It also concludes with some pretty enticing sneak-preview Season 2 footage of MCBS students (including dance-y beach shots, yippee!). Take a look:

Dance News
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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Dance News
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)

In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."

Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.

In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.

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Mind
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!

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