Recommended: 4 Editor's Picks

Ballerina Gets Ready

By Allegra Kent; illustrated by Catherine Stock

Holiday House; 32 pages; $16.95

In this new children's book by former New York City Ballet principal Allegra Kent, beautiful watercolor illustrations take readers step by step through the day of a professional ballerina—from her first stretch in the morning to the moment the lights go down and the curtain goes up.

Ballet Barre Etudes: 125 Lesson Plans to Inspire Dance Teachers

By Connie Bellinghausen

Mira Digital Publishing; 258 pages; $31.95

For ballet teachers stuck in a choreographic rut, Connie Bellinghausen has provided ample material to get your gears turning. Ballet Barre Etudes is a compilation of 125 barre sequences, including combinations for plié, tendu, dégagé, frappé, rond de jambe, grand battement, allégro and many more.

Beginning Musical Theatre Dance

By Diana Dart Harris

Human Kinetics;

128 pages; $39

In this introductory guide, students will learn about basic musical theater dance techniques, history, auditioning, classroom conduct and what they will encounter in the theater. The book comes with a web resource featuring video clips, a glossary of terms, prompts for journaling and links for additional study.

Girl Through Glass

By Sari Wilson

Harper Collins Publishers; 304 pages; $25.99

Author Sari Wilson draws from her dancing days at Harkness Ballet and Eliot Feld's New Ballet School (now Ballet Tech) in this new novel with two interwoven plotlines. An aspiring New York City Ballet dancer in the 1970s wins the approval of George Balanchine, while in the present day a dance professor is forced to confront her past.

Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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