You've completed your summer intensive auditions and received your acceptance letters. Congrats! Now, it's time to choose where you'll be spending this vital training time. While it's easy to select the program with the biggest name, or head to the school where all your friends are going, it might not always be the best choice for you. Instead, it's most important to end up at a program that will nurture you while pushing you to fulfill your potential. Watch out for these common mistakes dancers can make as they finalize their summer plans.
The iconic 1990s musical Rent is the latest Broadway show to get the live treatment. Airing January 27, the star-studded cast includes Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, and "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Valentina as Angel. Keala Settle of The Greatest Showman will also make an appearance to sing "Seasons of Love," and Sonya Tayeh will provide brand-new choreography. We caught up with ensemble dancer Khori Petinaud to get the inside scoop on the movement—and why fans of the original will be super-satisfied with this version.
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
Ashley Ellis in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker (photo by Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet)
Boston Ballet principal Ashley Ellis' dancing is the perfect pairing of ethereal grace and punchy musicality. The Torrance, CA, native began training at South Bay Ballet at age 6, and attended the School of American Ballet summer program in 1998. In 2001, she was accepted into American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, and the following year, she joined ABT's corps de ballet. In 2007, she became a founding member of Corella Ballet Castilla y León in Spain, under the direction of Angel Corella. Three years later, she headed back to the States and danced with Sarasota Ballet before joining Boston Ballet as a second soloist in 2011. In 2013, she was promoted to principal dancer. Catch her performing this season in the company's Nutcracker. —Courtney Bowers
Dance BFFs Findlay McConnell (left) and Payton Johnson (courtesy McConnell and Johnson)
Two dancers from different studios on opposite ends of the country meeting at a dance competition may sound like the formula for a cheesy teen-rivalry movie. But it's actually real life for lots of dancers on the comp circuit. Meet four sets of adorable BFFs who found winning friendships at a competition.