News

Did you catch "Dancing With The Stars" this week? Normally, I wouldn't say the ballroom extravaganza is a must-see for ballet dancers. But the show's latest episode featured Brilynn Rakes, a talented 17-year-old student who trains at the Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy in California—and also happens to be legally blind. Born with a birth defect known as cone dystrophy, her eyes aren't able to filter out light, causing everything to appear 20 times brighter.

Do you remember your first Nutcracker? For young ballet students, the chance to perform in the classic holiday ballet simply feels magical. A documentary filmmaker recently went behind the scenes to capture that glee and giddiness at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles. Getting to the Nutcracker follows the journeys of over 400 students from first audition to final performance—all led by Daukayev, a former Kirov star.

London ballet fans, get excited: It was just announced yesterday that Natalia Osipova will join The Royal Ballet. Her first role will be Juliet opposite Carlos Acosta this fall. The only problem? She's still on contract as a principal with both American Ballet Theatre and the Mikhailovsky Ballet. Although the Mikhailovsky director said she'd be warmly welcomed back to St.

The "bad boy" of ballet is at it again: Sergei Polunin seems to have walked out on rehearsals for Peter Schauffuss's highly-anticipated London production of Midnight Express. For those who have been following the 23-year-old dancer's career, his latest move isn't surprising. He abandoned The Royal Ballet last January just a week before he was supposed to star in The Dream. Polunin has since worked with the Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow and he guested with The Royal last month.

"Mad Men" returns this Sunday, and with it everyone's favorite female copy chief: Peggy Olson. One thing you probably didn't know: Before she was playing Peggy, actress Elisabeth Moss was an aspiring ballet dancer. She started taking lessons at age 5, and in her teens she attended the School of American Ballet in New York and spent summers at Suzanne Farrell's intensive in DC. “I trained for a long time and I was focused and good," Moss recently told Arrive magazine.

Miami City Ballet just signed a new dancer: former major league baseball catcher Mike Piazza. The  company has been loving sports stars recently. In February, they teamed up with the Miami Heat. Now, Piazza will take the stage with MCB on May 3 in Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The baseball legend—who played with the Dodgers, the Marlins, the Mets, the Padres and the A's—won't be doing any grand jetés, though.

I’ve always been ashamed to admit that I try harder in class when I know the teacher is looking at me. I also elevate my arabesque higher when I'm standing next to the girl with great extension. While I realize competition is part of our human nature, I wish I could push myself on my own. Now, there's a new (free!) app, Proof!, that helps you accomplish your goals by adding a little friendly virtual competition. Through the app, you set up personalized goals and share them with friends or family.

The monthly cycle of blues and bloating before your period can make dancing feel infinitely more difficult. But there's good news: A recent study from the University of Massachusetts shows that simply adjusting your diet can reduce PMS symptoms. The researchers followed 3,000 women over 10 years, assessing physical and emotional PMS symptoms as well as diet. The results showed that a high intake of iron decreased PMS symptoms. The type of iron that works best is found in plants and supplements, not in meat.

This blog could easily turn into a daily feed of fashion-meets-ballet news and nothing else. Don't worry, I won't let that happen. But indulge me just once more this week, because I can't help sharing this photo that David Hallberg just posted of his fashion spread in this month's Vogue.

Fruit can be a difficult snack to pack in a dance bag—one wrong squish and juice gets all over your pointe shoes.