There's no question that life as a dancer can be difficult—long hours, rigorous rehearsals, and the risk of rejection and injury can take a toll. But dancing also gives us so much to be thankful for! In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked nine dancers to share what they're most grateful for this year. From overcoming adversity to new artistic opportunities to growing families, these artists have a lot to celebrate.
Broadway dancer Christine Cornish Smith's good luck charm is the quote "To thine own self be true." (courtesy Smith)
For many dancers, having a good luck charm stowed in a dressing room or dance bag feels like the key to a successful audition or show. We asked nine pros to share the goofy/sentimental/magical objects that they believe can make the difference between the performance of a lifetime and, well, actually breaking a leg.
Can my tampon get lost up there after one too many rehearsals? Should I skip cross-training in the pool during Aunt Flo's visit? Does missing a period mean I'm dangerously underweight? When it comes to menstruation, everybody has an opinion—but few have the facts. We asked the experts to debunk common myths about that time of the month, so you can get back to focusing on dance.
If Kalani were to win an award for something besides her dancing, it would be for having the most "like"-worthy Instagram page (@kalanihilliker): It's jam-packed with behind-the-scenes pics of the "Dance Moms" cast, fashionable photo shoots, and goofy, candid moments. Here, Kalani shares the strategies that got her to 4.2 million followers.
Kalani Hilliker made "Dance Moms" fans sit up a little straighter when she first appeared on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" back in 2013. The then–12-year-old ballerina had charisma, she had sass—and, wow, did she have technique! Abby Lee Miller, the show's infamous host, saw Kalani's star potential from the start, saving her from elimination and ultimately inviting her to perform alongside Maddie Ziegler on Season 4 of "Dance Moms." "I was never supposed to be on 'Dance Moms' beyond that one performance," says Kalani, now 16, but she ended up staying on the show for the whole season—and the following three. "It was my first time, but not my last time, causing drama. And it was also the first time I got to meet the other dancers, who have become like sisters."
Sisters Emily and Kate Kadow after performing together in The Nutcracker (courtesy the Kadows)
With the right mix of love, friendship and healthy competition, a sister act can be even better than a solo. How can you make the most of having a dancing sister? Here are some pointers from dancers who've been there.
Yes, the other dancers in your company or on your team often feel more like family than friends. But what if the girl next to you at the barre is actually your sister? These six sets of siblings gave Dance Spirit an inside look at what stage-ready sisterhood is all about.
OK, so going to the gynecologist isn't exactly fun. But the good thing about your annual visit is that it's a one-stop, totally confidential way to get your most sensitive questions answered. And it's essential that you ask them! After all, there's nothing more important than keeping your dancer body—every part of your dancer body—in tip-top shape. If you're feeling shy or embarrassed, just remember: Gynecologists have heard it all. Here are the answers to some of the questions they get asked the most.
Podiatrist Thomas Novella remembers one of his first interactions with dancer feet. Fresh out of podiatry school, he saw a patient from The Joffrey Ballet and assumed he knew the clear way to help her out. “I thought I was doing her a favor by trimming her calluses off, just like I'd been trained to do," Novella says. “She called me every day for the next two weeks screaming at me until the calluses started to come back. I immediately learned my lesson!" Now more than 30 years into his career, Novella works with dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and other dance companies at his practice in NYC, so he's not only learned the importance of calluses to protect delicate skin, but also things like the risks of an ill-fitted shoe, and the toll that Nutcracker season can put on a body. But not every dancer is lucky enough to have a doctor who knows the ins and outs of the dance world. Dance Spirit asked the experts to break down four common scenarios in which your doctor will be better able to help you if you can give a dance-specific description of your needs.