Kristin Schwab's blog

Last night, the Dance Magazine Awards at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City had more ballet candy than any DM Awards I can remember. The delightful Ashley Bouder opened with an excerpt from Balanchine's Square Dance, staged by awardee Patricia Wilde, once a New York City Ballet principal and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artistic director. Then we got a video dose of the dagger-footed Sylvie Guillem dancing Mats Ek's work.

Most of us have performance rituals that calm our nerves. (Mine includes lucky socks.) If you don't already do so, you might want to consider adding a playlist to your pre-show routine. A study published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences found that listening to music can actually change the chemistry in your brain, lowering the levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—that your body produces. In one experiment, participants listened to music before undergoing surgery.

On February 2, 2014, dancers everywhere will have something to celebrate: World Tutu Day. And though it won't happen for a couple months (on 2/2—get it?), you can start declaring your love for tulle now. The project, a fundraiser for The Australian Ballet School, challenges you to get a team together to raise money—through a tutu-making event, a studio party or a sponsored fitness challenge.

It's no secret that Thanksgiving is an easy way to load up on calories. But did you know there are actually nutrition benefits in that slice of pumpkin pie? It's loaded with potassium (for muscle recovery), vitamin A (to support bone growth) and iron (for fitness and energy). Plus, it usually has less sugar than it's counterpart, apple. So don't restrict yourself tomorrow—your health depends on it!

Now this is dedication to ballet: A video of a young dancer after getting her wisdom teeth pulled has been making its way around the internet. Through the Novocaine fog, she insists on going to ballet class that night—and then gives us a little grande battement combo to prove it.

When I got my teeth pulled, I'm pretty sure all I wanted to do was sleep and eat ice cream. I guess some of us can never take a break!

Winter is coming, whether you're ready for the frigid temperatures or not. And it seems like no matter how much your studio cranks up the heat, warming up takes twice as long after shuffling in from the snow. Pointe got physical therapist Katie Lemmon, who works with Joffrey Ballet dancers, to share her favorite ways to fire up the body fast.

More scandalous news from the Bolshoi Ballet: American dancer Joy Womack claims that one of the company's directors—whom she has not named but made clear was not artistic director Sergei Filin—demanded she pay $10,000 to secure a role. "Joy, you don’t have a sponsor," the official told Womack, as she recalled to Russian paper Isvestiya (according to TIME). "You need to have some kind of sponsor who can somehow sort of speak for you.

If you're having trouble getting through a tiring variation, give yourself a little mental coaching. A recent study shows that telling yourself you're not as tired as you think you are may have a positive effect on your performance. Scientists asked fit young men and women to ride a bike to the point of exhaustion, while monitoring their power and pace. Later, the participants were split into two groups.

The Clive Barnes Awards—given by the Clive Barnes Foundation in honor of the late New York Times, New York Post and Dance Magazine critic—have a history of recognizing talented dancers on the cusp of a career milestone. In 2010, New York City Ballet's Chase Finlay took home the prize; a year later, he was promoted to soloist.

When you reach for a pain reliever, it's usually whatever happens to be sitting in your dance bag. But depending on your aches and pains, using the right one can make a big difference. Doctors say acetaminophen (Tylenol) is best for headaches and joint pain, but also does the trick for cold symptoms, like a sore throat.