Chloe Misseldine has every reason to be nervous as she and her partner run through the challenging wedding pas de deux from Don Quixote. Their performance is just days away and the two American Ballet Theatre Studio Company dancers have only had a week to prepare. Add to that the fact that ABT principal Gillian Murphy, one of the world's most famous ballerinas, is at the front of the studio taking notes.
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.
Nothing compares to that magical moment when your teacher says you're ready for your first pair of pointe shoes. I remember bursting out of the studio doors, clutching a precious piece of paper with the phone number of the nearest pointe shoe fitter. Finally, my years of hard work had paid off!
Ever wonder why getting promoted to pointe shoes takes so long? Pointe work can be dangerous and detrimental to your feet if you start too early, so it's not a decision your teachers make lightly. Several factors have to come into play before they give you the green light.