Photo by Erin Baiano

If there's one thing every dancer is always working on, it's her pirouette. It's no secret that this skill takes years of honing and practice. But in addition to solid technique, perfect pirouettes require a lot of strength. We turned to Roman Zhurbin, soloist with American Ballet Theatre and owner of Roman Empire Fitness, for a breakdown of the best ways to strengthen the muscles used in a pirouette.

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Fitness Tutorials

All photos Anna Marchisello and Jacob Patrick (courtesy Stacey Tookey)

Deep in the hills just outside Calgary, Alberta, Camp Kindle sits unassumingly, nestled in a forest clearing. With rustic cabins, a glassy lake, sprawling lawns, and a giant ropes course, the scene looks like the set of an old-school movie about summer camp- which is why it's so surprising to learn that, for one week each August, some of the competition circuit's most gifted dancers arrive there en masse for Stacey Tookey's Camp Protégé.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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Fitness
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Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.

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Mind
Photo by Erin Baiano

Click here to vote for Darriel.

There are a million and one ways to describe the versatile Darriel Johnakin, but "rare breed" is a good place to start. In fact, it's the first phrase Marie-Louise Gaschler, artistic director of Miami Dance Collective, uses to characterize her longtime student. "Darriel reminds me of how dancers used to train back in the day," Gaschler says. "She never misses a class, gives it her all, inspires the entire room, and somehow manages to stay humble and eager for corrections."

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Cover Model Search
YouTuber Michelle Khare (second from left), with Alison Stroming (second from right), looking none too shabby at her final recital (screenshot via YouTube)

What do we love more than a video about ballet? A video about ballet done rightlike YouTuber Michelle Khare's chronicle of her 6-week deep dive into the world of professional ballet.

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Dance Videos
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Chances are, you're regrettably familiar with those unpleasant pre-period symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. PMS is a sign of a healthy, functioning body, but it's still frustrating to deal with every month—especially during long Nationals rehearsals or summer intensive classes. Dance Spirit turned to Dr. Lauren Streicher, a gynecologist and clinical professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, for advice on all things PMS.

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Body Buzz
We're not worthy 😭 (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

We're officially declaring April the month of Beyoncé. Not only did she gift us the greatness that is her Homecoming documentary, but she followed it up with the #BeforeILetGoChallenge, the newest viral dance craze to sweep the world wide web.

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Dance Videos
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!

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Dancer to Dancer
Dancetown Divas during their powerhouse performance (Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

Last night, while the rest of the population was watching "Game of Thrones," we (and all of you) were wrapped up in the drama that was first round of "World of Dance" cuts. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that everyone can agree this season is especially unpredictable: We've got a whole new points system, surprises every episode, and a truly talented group of dancers who bring it week after week. So, who survived and who was sent packing? Here's what went down last night.

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Dance News
Samantha Little

In news that will shock absolutely no one, the BYU Cougarettes (aka our April cover stars) are National Champions once more! The powerhouse dance team clinched the top titles in both D1A hip hop and jazz during last weekend's NDA Nationals in Daytona, FL. Their precise, hard-hitting performances highlight exactly what makes them the team to beat (we're not kidding when we say our jaws were on the floor the entire time). Check them out below, and if you haven't already, make sure to read their cover feature!

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Dance News
For the love of all that is beautiful, STOP before you pop! (Getty Images)

It's the day before your big recital and you've won the battle against your breakout—only to be left with the parting gift of unsightly dark marks in its place. While acne scarring can be challenging to treat, it's easy to prevent. Dance Spirit turned to Dr. Yunyoung Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in NYC, for advice on combatting this frustrating issue.

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Beauty
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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Dancer to Dancer
Ballet Academy East student Stella MacDonald (Erin Baiano)

It's the rite of passage every young ballerina dreams of: getting her first pair of pointe shoes. But it's important to remember that a lot (and we mean a lot) of hard work and technique-honing leads up to this moment—not to mention getting the green light from your teacher. Dance Spirit turned to Jenna Lavin, former Miami City Ballet dancer and principal of the pre-professional division at Ballet Academy East in NYC, for three exercises meant to strengthen, train, and stabilize the muscles you'll be using once you're on pointe.

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Fitness
Kendra Oyesanya, Marcus Mitchell, and Carlito Olivero (courtesy YouTube/Lionsgate)

Happy "Step Up: High Water" eve, y'all! Everyone's favorite internet dance show makes its triumphant Season 2 return tomorrow, March 20th, on YouTube. In anticipation of the premiere, we turned to Kendra Oyesanya (Poppy), Marcus Mitchell (Dondre), and Carlito Olivero (Davis) for the scoop on all things "Step Up"—from on-set shenanigans, to embarrassing stories, to scenes to watch out for this season (hint: Episode 2's dance battle, and the season finale's final number!).

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