Steven Loch with fellow soloist Leah Merchant in William Forsythe's New Suite (Angela Sterling, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet)

Recently, there's been a noticeable push for more education and support surrounding mental illness. And while every industry can benefit from this shift, it's especially overdue in the dance world. "We need to get rid of the stigma," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "The fact is, when you have an ankle injury, you go to a doctor; when you have anxiety, you should go to a therapist."

Kaslow emphasizes that most disorders are treatable and episodic, and if dancers get a proper diagnosis and therapy, they'll feel better—which in turn will improve their dancing. "There is no question that physical performance is linked to mental health," Kaslow says. "If your mental health is not in shape, you're at an increased risk for injury and won't perform optimally."

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via @lunamontana on Instagram

It's safe to say that in 2019, social media reigns supreme. Social platforms are especially great tools for dancers, allowing them to brand and market themselves, keep up with dance friends across the world, and get noticed by people who would otherwise be impossible to get in touch with. But with all the good, it's easy to forget that most of what you see is highly filtered and heavily curated—and not even close to reality. 18-year-old ballerina Luna Montana is on a mission to change that.

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