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,

I've been a ballet person my whole life, but now I'd really like to start pursuing musical theater. What do I need to do to make that a realistic option?

Laura

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Popular

How many times have you seen a music video that was so amazing that you and your friends wanted to recreate it? And how many times have you actually spent the time and effort to learn the choreography and actually film it? TBH, we've all been inspired by a catchy tune that's paired with some great choreo and cool cinematography. Some of us may even have actual footage of such embarrassing attempts buried deep in the archives of our phones. But four girls from Thailand, did what most of us mere mortals only dream about. They flawlessly recreated one of their favorite band's music videos—and broke the internet in the process.

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Health & Body
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More studio time = more improvement? Not always, according to Roman Zhurbin, American Ballet Theatre soloist and certified personal trainer. "It's absolutely necessary to take rest days so your body can reset and you stay motivated," says Zhurbin. "Seven days a week of hard training is just unhealthy." What is healthy: letting your body recover from a jam-packed dance schedule so you can give your best possible performance.

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How To
OCU students learn skills like lighting design in both the dance management and dance pedagogy concentrations. (photo by Ryan Barrett, courtesy OCU)

So you want to be a dance major? Wonderful! But in college, your choices don't end there. Pedagogy, kinesiology, arts management: What can those different tracks help you with? Choosing a college concentration that opens up multiple career options is a smart move, setting you up for not only an exciting performance career, but also a lifetime of opportunities in the arts. Perhaps you're hoping to start your own dance company, but you have no idea how to run a business—a dance management degree will put you on the right path. Or maybe you want to keep performing while also teaching at local studios—dance pedagogy can help you build an exciting resumé. Read on for a breakdown of what to expect within various dance-program concentrations.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Royal Bridges, courtesy Felecia Hansley

You could say that Donielle "Lil Dee Dee" Hansley joined the family business: His dad (a dancer and recording artist) was his first dance teacher, and his three older siblings are a circus artist, a rapper, and a singer. Dee Dee's been carving out a path in the entertainment world since the tender age of 6, when he first toured with kid rapper MattyB. In fact, you probably recognize his hard-hitting energy and undeniable charisma from Step Up: High Water, Tyler Perry's If Loving You Is Wrong, Lip Sync Battle Shorties, or—super-casual—dancing behind Usher and Chris Brown.

My mentors have always told me, Never give up on yourself. Of course there'll come times when you're like, 'Maybe dance isn't for me. I'm probably better at something else.' There's always someone better than you are—so what? Work 10 times harder so you're better than they are! —Lil Dee Dee

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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
via @younmephoto on Instagram

Summer's coming to a close which means it's time to head back to school and back to the studio. And though we have no doubt that you'll log a lot of dancing this fall, every dancer knows that there's bound to be down time in between technique classes, rehearsals, stretching, and waiting to be picked up. So give your Insta feed a break and check out these dance-tastic books that'll not only entertain you, but might even teach you a thing or two.

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Popular
via @younmephoto on Instagram

Summer's coming to a close which means it's time to head back to school and back to the studio. And though we have no doubt that you'll log a lot of dancing this fall, every dancer knows that there's bound to be down time in between technique classes, rehearsals, stretching, and waiting to be picked up. So give your Insta feed a break and check out these dance-tastic books that'll not only entertain you, but might even teach you a thing or two.

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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,

I'm on the fence about switching studios. My current studio is pretty relaxed about technique, but it's like a second home to me—I have so much fun with all my friends there. There's another studio nearby that's much more serious technically. I want to dance professionally when I grow up. Should I choose the school that has a great community, or the one that will help me reach my dream faster?

Erin

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How To
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Picture this: You're in rehearsal, and you finally get a move the way the choreographer wants it—except that it makes your back twinge each time. Should you say you're in pain, or should you suck it up and keep going? You don't want to injure yourself, but you also don't want to jeopardize your role.

The dance world often teaches students to be quiet and obedient around authority figures. That said, there are definitely instances when you need to speak your mind. Try these tips to navigate sticky situations.

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Popular

Tired of uncomfortable tights that dig into your waist and create unflattering bulges? Body Wrappers' knitted wide-waisted tights will keep you comfortable and give you the confidence you need to perform your very best during dance class. Enter below for your chance to win a pair!

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How To
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Because they're the one part of college applications you don't do yourself, teacher recommendations can feel like big, scary question marks. As Sarah Langford, college counselor at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, says, "When admissions chooses between equally talented candidates, a memorable letter can put you in the 'yes' pile." But take heart: You have more control over what ends up in these letters than you might realize. Here, Langford and Sarah Lovely, director of college counseling at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, spill the secrets to ensuring you'll get letters that'll help launch you into the dance department of your dreams.

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Popular
Screenshot (courtesy Disney Channel)

What's better then a Disney movie remake? The answer: A Disney movie remake in the form of a musical! Disney Channel's giving the 2003 hit comedy "Freaky Friday" a reboot with all the singing and dancing your heart could ever desire. But choreographing the remake of a classic Disney-movie-turned-TV-musical is no joke, which is why two-time Tony nominee John Carrafa was the perfect man for the job. Known for incorporating real life, everyday movement into his dances, Carrafa brings magic into even the most mundane of movements. From having dancers "slice oranges to the rhythm of the music" to using energetic athleticism, Carrafa's choreography is bound to bring an exciting new spin to this tale.

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Dance Videos
Misty Copeland as the Ballerina Princess in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Photo Courtesy Disney.

It's August—the sun is shining, summer intensives are winding down, and Nutcracker seems very far away. But this new trailer for Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is already getting us in the holiday mood. While this modern take on the classic holiday story, in theaters November 2, is not a dance film, it does include mega-stars Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin as the Ballerina Princess and Nutcracker Prince.

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Health & Body
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School cafeterias often conjure up less-than-appetizing images—mystery meats, mushy vegetables, and stale cheese sandwiches are just a few of the things that come to mind. And while this isn't always the case, it can often be a challenge to follow a satisfying, dance-friendly diet if you're buying your lunch at school. Dance Spirit asked Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FACSM, and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc., for her tips, tricks, and hacks for putting together a balanced lunch—no matter what your cafeteria offers.

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