Editor's Letter: Take a Chance on Yourself

Published in the February/March 2012 issue.

Misty Copeland on her morning subway ride to ABT. Photo by Jim Lafferty.

Don’t worry about the wrong things when you audition, like whether your technique is perfect or if you look fat. What should be on your mind is whether the company you’re trying out for is right for you.

A successful career comes down to finding a good fit, and making your passion for your job outlast the drain of the day-to-day. Our Auditions Issue has some frank advice about how to pick a company to pursue. The first step involves a little reflection and research: Does the company you want suit your training and goals? As Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet’s artistic director, points out in “Director’s Notes,” if you make it to the final round, the first question you could be asked is, “Why here?” Do your homework before you send your headshot.

Once you’ve chosen a promising company, enter the studio ready to dance your best. Don’t crash-diet to lose a few invisible ounces before the big day. Read “The Audition Day Diet” to find out what to eat so you’ll start those pirouettes with enough energy to finish them.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take a chance, even a big one. Our cover guy, New York City Ballet’s Chase Finlay, had a tough choice when American Ballet Theatre’s second company offered him a slot. He decided instead to enter the School of American Ballet, hoping to be picked as an NYCB apprentice. He felt the company’s repertoire and tradition of casting young dancers in featured roles would offer more opportunities. At 21, he’s now a soloist, and on his way to a starry career.

Taking a gamble when it comes to pursuing your dreams is rarely a bad idea. It can lead you down a path you never anticipated to rewards you couldn’t imagine. So when it’s your turn in the center, don’t hold back: Dance your heart out.

Big Apple Ballerina
Pointe spent a day with Misty Copeland
“I get up at 8 am so I have time for coffee, fruit and a muffin at home. I arrive at the studio about 15 minutes early to stretch and sew pointe shoes. I can’t say there’s anything I don’t like about being in New York. It’s been my home for 11 years and I love it. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” (More photos here.)