Editor's Letter: Give Yourself an Edge—and a Degree

Published in the October/November 2012 issue.

Beatriz Stix-Brunell. Photo by Nathan Sayers.

Many pre-professional students consider college a fallback, not a goal. But ballet has changed in the last decade; there’s no company today with an exclusively classical repertoire. A BFA or dance concentration will expose you to a range of techniques that can make the difference between “Thank you so much” and a contract. Pointe’s annual “Higher Ed Guide” offers a detailed list of schools to consider. Once you’ve found some that appeal to you, turn to Zachary Whittenburg’s “Leotard, Tights, Cap and Gown” for an insider’s take on the collegiate audition process—it’s not what you might expect.

Our cover ballerina, Beatriz Stix-Brunell (“A Touch Of Magic”) spent a year in the Paris Opéra Ballet School, which she credits for her strong technical foundation. When the Paris Opéra Ballet toured the U.S. a few months ago, audiences gaped over the dancers’ effortless purity and imposing elegance. Pointe peeked into a dress rehearsal as the company prepared its latest production of Giselle. Enjoy our behind-the-scenes photo essay, “Paris Opéra Up Close.”

Touring can seem like an exciting perk of professional life, but experienced dancers know that any trip requires a few portable coping devices and a lot of planning. Turn to “The (Sort Of) Glamorous Life” to find out how top stars survive on the road, plus their favorite souvenirs and sleeping aids. Finally, don’t miss advice from competition stars like Hannah Bettes and Brooklyn Mack in “Behind The Medals” on coping with performance pressure (Bettes thinks about puppies!). Whether you’re preparing to compete, audition for college or debut a new role, their insights will help you focus—and succeed. 



Also In This Issue

Growing Up In The Spotlight
Even before The Royal Ballet, 19-year-old Beatriz Stix-Brunell was no stranger to opportunity. At 14, she auditioned for a slot in Christopher Wheeldon’s Morphoses—and got it.

“It was incredible,” she says, “to be in the studio with these dancers, to travel to Vail, to London, to Sydney, to perform in New York. Best of all was having Christopher Wheeldon create a duet in Commedia on me. It was the first time I’d been one-on-one with him in the studio, and I danced with Leanne Benjamin. It was a bit surreal.”

A Degree In The Works
Boston Ballet principal Kathleen Breen Combes (this issue’s “Reverence”) is closing in on her college degree.

“I’m doing an arts administration program online through the University of Massachusetts. I take one class a semester during the year and two over the summer. I’d like to one day be involved in the administrative side of a nonprofit dance company.”