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Peck in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of NYCB

At 11, while watching a performance of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, Tiler Peck leaned over to her father and said, "Dad, I'm going to dance on that stage one day." It was a surprising declaration for a competition kid from Bakersfield, California. But her prediction came true: Peck joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice four years later. "It was the challenge that drove me," she says. "I always had natural ability to dance, but when it came to the School of American Ballet, I felt like a jazz dancer trying to do ballet. But I was going to get this. I was going to be a ballerina." Her mastery of timing and crisp lines quickly took her from being a 15-year-old apprentice to a 20-year-old principal. Now, nine years later, she's dazzling audiences at Lincoln Center night after night.

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Just for fun
Gillian Murphy spent some time in Canada this summer. Image via Instagram @gillianemurphy

We'll admit it: As excited as we are for fall performance season to start, we are in deep, deep denial that the end of summer is in sight. And we're also experiencing some serious FOMO looking at the vacation photos flooding our Instagram feeds from some of our favorite dancers and choreographers. So where in the world do they go to unwind before gifting us with yet another season of incredible dance?

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Just for fun
Including Dance Academy: The Comeback, naturally. (ZDF Enterprises)

We're deep in the lazy, hazy days of summer—and there's no better time to kick back, relax, and watch one of the many dancetastic movies that've come out recently. Which should you add to your queue? Here are eight must-watches.

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Just for fun
Including Dance Academy: The Comeback, naturally. (ZDF Enterprises)

We're deep in the lazy, hazy days of summer—and there's no better time to kick back, relax, and watch one of the many dancetastic movies that've come out recently. Which should you add to your queue? Here are eight must-watches.

Keep reading... Show less
Peter Boal coaching PNB dancers in Opus 19/The Dreamer. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy of PNB

In a windowless subterranean studio under the New York State Theater, I pulled back an imaginary arrow and let it fly.

"Good!" said ballet master Tommy Abbott. "I think you're ready. Tomorrow you rehearse with Mr. Robbins."

I was slated to play Cupid in Jerome Robbins' compilation of fairy tales called Mother Goose. It was a role given to the tiniest boy who could follow directions at the School of American Ballet. In 1976, that was me.

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Isabella Boylston, partnered here by Zachary Catazaro, is Vail's artist in residence this year. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy of Vail International Dance Festival

When Damian Woetzel came to Vail a decade ago as artistic director, he brought the vision of creating an open artistic community.

"Dancers often go to festival gigs, arrive with their music and costumes, perform, get the check and go," says Woetzel. "It's very normal and efficient. But I was always more interested in collaborations, artistic development, working with new artists, so I tried from the beginning to create an atmosphere in which to experiment and try something new."

This month, the festival celebrates Woetzel's collaborative mission and its expansion during his time there.

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Last night at The Joyce Theater, the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted “Destiny Rising,” an evening of dance to benefit the organization’s college scholarship fund. Collegiate dancers, professional guest performers and future stars united onstage for two hours of fantastic dancing. Here are a few of the highlights.

Students from Inspire School of Dance in Naperville, Illinois, danced an impeccably rehearsed Love with Urgency to music by Mumford & Sons. The dancers, ranging in age from 13 to 18, blew me away with their full-bodied abandon, flawless technique and the unmatched cleanliness of their performance. If these dancers represent the future, things are looking extremely bright.

Ida Saki and Austin Goodwin in Alexandra Damiani's Animus

Former Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet artistic director Alexandra Damiani presented a hilariously quirky duet Animus, danced by Sleep No More cast members Ida Saki and Austin Goodwin. Filled with funny facial expressions, choppy gestures and serpentine partnering, the duet was a dose of nostalgia for Cedar Lake and an exciting glimpse into Damiani’s current choreographic undertakings.

Robert Fairchild performed a solo by Gene Kelly.

New York City Ballet superstars (and former NYCDA kids) Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck were set to perform a duet by Liam Scarlett. However due to injury, the duet was changed to a solo. Fairchild whipped out a Gene Kelly solo, complete with hat, “jazz fingers” and his signature An American in Paris showmanship.

The best moment of the evening came when Mattie Love, NYCDA scholarship recipient and soon-to-be Marymount Manhattan College graduate, came onstage and talked about her experience. Nearly bursting into tears, she talked about the opportunities the scholarships provided her and how she was embraced by director Joe Lanteri and the whole NYCDA family. It just goes to show that at NYCDA, dreams do come true.

Since 2010, the NYCDA Foundation has raised roughly $17 million in college scholarships. Dance Magazine is privileged to support NYCDAF as a Gold Sponsor (donations of $25,000–$49,999).

Photos (from top): by Eduardo Patino; by Nina Wurtzel Photography (2), all courtesy of NYCDA

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Lil Buck leads a children's class at the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival

The Vail International Dance Festival has released a tantalizing sample of its 2013 performance schedule.  The biggest surprise is ballet rebel of the moment Sergei Polunin. (He blew the dance world's collective mind with his departure from The Royal Ballet last year.) The Ukrainian-born dancer is slated to appear at one of the program's International Evenings celebrating talents from around the world.

Other highlights of the festival's 25th anniversary season (July 28–August 10) include appearances by Pacific Northwest Ballet, Argentinian tango icon Gabriel Misséand and New York City Ballet principals Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild as artists in residence. World premieres by Paul Taylor, Lil Buck, Larry Keigwin and Brian Brooks will also grace the Vail stages. There will even be a performance devoted to recognizing virtuosic footwork in different dance genres. We can't wait until the full schedule comes out next month!

Tickets for the VIDF go on sale March 13. More info here

Photo by Erin Baiano

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