Dancer to Dancer
Addie Tapp in Jorma Elo's Creatures of Egmont (photo by IGOP Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet)

Boston Ballet second soloist Addie Tapp immediately stands out onstage thanks to her impressively long lines, precise technique, and mature presence. A Glenwood Springs, CO, native, Tapp started dancing at age 6 at the Glenwood Dance Academy. At 14, she attended The School of American Ballet summer course, and afterwards was accepted into the year-round program. She joined Boston Ballet's corps in 2014, and was promoted to second soloist last year. Catch her dancing this month in the company's Parts In Suite program and Romeo & Juliet.

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Dancer to Dancer
Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker (photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet)

It was Valentine's Day when then–16-year-old Lia Cirio auditioned for Boston Ballet—and was hired on the spot. Every year since, Cirio has celebrated February 14th as not only a day for teddy bears and chocolates, but also as the day she became a professional ballet dancer.

Now, Cirio is a principal at the company, and she knows firsthand that it takes more than a solid supply of pointe shoes (though she can go through 30 pairs in a week!) to survive the ballet world. From the glowing highlights to the frustrating letdowns, Cirio shares what it's really like to be a principal dancer in a world-class ballet company.

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Dance News
George Birkadze is a ballet dancer and a professional martial arts fighter (courtesy Great Big Story)

George Birkadze spends some of his mornings as a guest teacher at Boston Ballet. But this ballet dancer and choreographer also spends much of his time training as a professional martial arts fighter. In fact, Birkadze has a black belt in not one but three different styles including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, and Kyokushin karate. (He's like a ballet ninja!)

Though martial arts and ballet may seem extremely different, Birkadze says the two actually share more similarities than you might think. Both require discipline, dedication, and daily training. In fact, Birkadze credits ballet for having helped him improve as a martial artist.

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Dancer to Dancer

Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!

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Dancer to Dancer
The multitalented Merritt Moore (photo by James Glader, courtesy Moore)

For the past decade, Merritt Moore has been living a double life as both a professional ballerina and a quantum physicist. While dancing with Zurich Ballet and Boston Ballet, she received her undergrad degree from Harvard in physics, and she's currently pursuing a PhD in quantum physics at Oxford while performing with English National Ballet and London Contemporary Ballet.

Now, Moore is hoping to add another ball to her juggling act: becoming an astronaut. She's one of 12 contestants competing on the BBC reality show " Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?" For six weeks, Moore and her competitors face a series of demanding physical and psychological challenges to see if they're astronaut material. (Show mentor Chris Hadfield, former Commander of the International Space Station, will recommend the winner to space agencies recruiting for astronauts.) Even in a cast of extremely accomplished people—the contestants include a military pilot, a surgeon, and a dentist who has summited Mount EverestMoore's unusual combination of skills stands out.

We leveled with the renaissance woman about how she's managed to pursue all her different passions.

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Fashion
Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranaga and Patrick Yocum (courtesy Rachel Neville/Boston Ballet)

We're on somewhat of a dance photography kick here at DS, so we figured we'd keep it going in a very big way: an exclusive interview with Rachel Neville, the photographer responsible for all those absolutely drool-worthy dance photos on your Instagram feed. We caught up with Neville at PurePoint Financial in NYC, where she just wrapped up her new show, "A Command Performance"..

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Dance Videos
Via @physicsonpointe on Instagram

Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.

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Dance News
Shwetali Sapte, courtesy Boston Ballet

Yes, Dance Spirit, there really is a Santa Claus. And we've got proof—namely, the delightfully silly stunt Boston Ballet's Nutcracker Bear pulled off last week to celebrate the start of ticket sales for BB's 2017 production of the holiday ballet classic.

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