Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB 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,

My feet naturally sickle when I point them, especially when I'm moving quickly or jumping. How can I fight the sickle?

Kelsey

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Dance News

If you follow New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns on Instagram, you'll have noticed that for the past several months, her feed has included wedding prep pics in addition to her usual performance posts and cross-training clips. This past weekend, the big day finally arrived, and Mearns married Broadway and television choreographer Joshua Bergasse in a dreamy beach ceremony in North Carolina.

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Dancer to Dancer
Lil Buck (photo by Rebecca Miller, courtesy Disney)

As the traditional Nutcracker hits ballet company stages across the country this month, Disney presents an updated take with the film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. A fusion of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by E.T.A. Hoffmann, and The Nutcracker ballet, the movie follows Clara as she unlocks a box from her late mother and is promptly transported into a fantastical world, where she meets a soldier named Phillip. Together, they adventure through the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Sweets, and the Fourth Realm, where they must defeat the cruel Mother Ginger. But there's still plenty of dance: Misty Copeland stars as The Ballerina, Lil Buck created the movement for the Mouse King, and Zachary Catazaro and Sergei Polunin both make appearances. Dance Spirit caught up with Lil Buck to get the inside scoop.

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Dancer to Dancer
Former Los Angeles Ballet soloist and Harvard graduate Liz Walker (courtesy Walker)

For Harvard grad and professional ballerina, Liz Walker, school and dance were always separate. In high school, she studied at a private, all-girls school by day and trained at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School by night. At the same time she was auditioning for professional companies, she was applying to colleges. But when the time came to decide between her education and her dance career, Walker struggled to figure out what path was her own. Eventually choosing to go back and forth between Los Angeles Ballet, freelance work, and Harvard University, Walker graduated with a degree in the history of art and architecture after four years in 2011—and rose to soloist rank in just eight seasons. Here, she tells her story and explains her decision to do both. —Sophie Robertson

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Dance News

If you're as obsessed with the Royals as we are then you'll be over the moon to hear of Prince George's budding passion for dance. According to Prince William, his son has become extremely fond of ballet lessons.

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Dancer to Dancer
Quinn Starner performing a variation from Paquita at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS (photo by Richard Finkelstein, courtesy USA International Ballet Competition)

Quinn Starner is no stranger to competitions. The 16-year-old "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" alum has been slaying the contemporary circuit for years, winning Best Teen Dancer at The Dance Awards in 2017. But lately she's been more focused on ballet, relocating from Florida to train at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory two years ago. And while she's won awards at ballet competitions like ADC|IBC and Youth America Grand Prix, in June she upped the stakes by going to the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS—an audition-only event that's one of the world's most prestigious comps. We followed Quinn on her Jackson journey.

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Dance News
Abbie Fitzgibbon, Penelope Dominique, and Myrelle Lam on Hong Kong's Pedder Street (courtesy Twinkle Dance Company)

What's better than dancers doing their thing in unexpected urban locales? TINY dancers doing their thing in unexpected INTERNATIONAL urban locales!

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Dance News
New York City Ballet principal Taylor Stanley rehearsing with Kyle Abraham (photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy NYCB)

New York City Ballet's fall gala always promises new ballet delights. This year, the company is offering not one, but three world premieres by a diverse lineup of choreographers: Matthew Neenan, Kyle Abraham, and Gianna Reisen. At 19 years old, Reisen is the youngest choreographer to ever work with NYCB, and Abraham will be the company's first black choreographer in more than a decade. We sat down with principal dancer Taylor Stanley to get the inside scoop on Abraham's new piece.

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Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams in George Balanchine's Agon (courtesy Dance Magazine Archives)

Former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell passed away today in a Manhattan hospital. He was 84 years old.

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Dance Videos
via YouTube

Watching a ballerina customize her pointe shoes will just never get old. Not only is it oddly mesmerizing to watch, but the pros always have some genius tips and hacks to offer. New York City Ballet corps member Olivia Boisson recently sat down with Insider to talk about her pointe-shoe process, and trust us, the video is a must-watch.

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Health & Body
Thinkstock

Pointe shoes can transform even the simplest steps into ethereal movements of elegance and beauty as anyone who's ever seen a ballerina bourree on pointe can attest. It's no wonder that young dancers long for the day when they too may don a pair of pink satin shoes. But there are a ton of misconceptions—even among dancers—about what pointe work involves. We asked Children's Healthcare of Atlanta physical therapist Colleen Crosby, who specializes in helping young athletes, to debunk common pointe shoe myths.

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How To
Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranga suggests picking different places to spot along your manège's route. (photo by Liza Voll Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet)

A beautifully executed manège—a whirlwind series of steps performed in a circular pattern around the stage—can create a powerful, dramatic climax onstage. But while a manège is always impressive to watch, it isn't always easy to perfect. Even the pros struggle with them: Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga remembers one rehearsal of John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet where she "cut through center stage, and didn't even realize it!" during a manège of sauts de basque and step-up turns.

So, how can you master manèges? The secret lies in figuring out how to keep your balance while constantly changing direction.

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Just for Fun
via @discountdance on Instagram

"Ballet pink" tights and palest-pink slippers. "Nude" fabrics that match only the lightest of skin tones. Unfortunately, many dancewear staples have historically been available only in a single "flesh tone" that tended to exclude non-Caucasian dancers.

Thankfully, in recent years dancewear companies have begun to respond to this issue, offering more varied shades of tights, pointe shoes, body tights, etc. (One former Knicks City Dancer even made inclusiveness the foundation of her business model.) Now, you can also get foundation garments that suit your unique skin tone with the new Mariia True Bare Collection.

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Dancer to Dancer
18-year-old Justin Souriau-Levine (indicated by arrow) takes us backstage as an ABT supernumerary. (Photo by Kyle Froman)

American Ballet Theatre boasts nearly 90 dancers. But when the company is mounting an elaborate story ballet at NYC's cavernous Metropolitan Opera House, it actually needs more bodies to complete the picture onstage. Enter supernumeraries, aka "supers." These supplementary performers are hired for non-dancing background roles (think "third courtier from the left" or "tall market lady"). Being a super is a fabulous way to get onstage experience—not to mention an up-close-and-personal look at some of the dance world's biggest stars.

All photos by Kyle Froman

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Andrew Ross, Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Where in the world is Miko Fogarty? Just three years ago, she seemed unstoppable. After being featured in the 2011 ballet documentary First Position, she became a teenage social-media star, winning top prizes at competitions in Moscow and Varna and at Youth American Grand Prix, and dancing in galas around the world. Last most of us heard, it was 2015 and she had just joined the corps of Birmingham Royal Ballet—and even appeared on Dance Spirit's cover. A year later, she dropped off the ballet radar.

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Just for Fun

In case you missed it, our favorite actress/dance fangirl Jennifer Garner hit the studio this weekend to brush up on her technique (stars, they really are just like us). And the end result might be even better than Garner's #TutuTuesday posts. At the request of American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, Garner took to her Instagram story to participate in Lil Buck's #GoinInCirclesChallenge.

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