Contests & Picks

September 13, 2009




A Winning Essay


Projection to the Universe


by Sarah Robison


In the February 2009 issue of
DS, we asked you to tell us about the best advice you ever received from a dance teacher. Congratulations to our winning writer, Sarah Robison!.


I’m sweating buckets. Inside, I’m dying. I squeeze my eyes shut so I don’t have to witness my ugly leg struggling to kick straight out in front of me. Every part of me is shaking and I feel like I’m about to fall over. Grand battements have never been so impossible before. What’s wrong with me?


I open my eyes and Ashley Carlton, my incredible ballet teacher, is standing in the middle of the studio. I can feel a speech coming just by the look on her face. “Projection to the universe,” she says. I know there’s an explanation coming, but I don’t realize yet that those four words would change my dancing forever. “You have to put it out there in words,” she told us. “Tell the world and yourself, ‘I’m going to knock my leaps out of the park today.’ It will create a positive image in your mind and help you achieve.”


It sounds crazy, but it works. Ashley continues, “If you’re thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get my leg up there,’ I bet you a million dollars you’re right. You won’t. But if you imagine your body stretching and pulling and squeezing, if you say to yourself, ‘This is possible, I can shoot my leg up there, I can reach for the stars, there is no limit’—if you tell yourself, ‘I can do this,’ you’ll be amazed by what can happen. It’s as simple as that. Projection to the universe.”




Congratulations July Editors’ Choice winners!

Video of the Month



Step Into the Bad Side



The Dallas Power House of Dance company of Texas performs a small group jazz routine choreographed by Michelle Stafford at Hall of Fame Dance Challenge.



Future Star Award





Ashley Nicole Menestrina, from Angela Floyd School for the Dancer in Knoxville, TN, performs a self-choreographed contemporary solo to “Why” by Annie Lennox.



Cover Model Search



Deidre Rogan — Solo Routine



Deidre Rogan, a dancer with Breakthru Dance Company and Gulfshore Ballet, performs a solo to “Field Below” by Regina Spektor.



Pick of the Month


A solid precompetition warm-up routine will help you perform your best, and a ballet barre is a good start to any competition day. Ballet Class Tunes is a great way to find and create your very own custom barre music mixes. Simply pick from their assortment of tracks for pliés, tendus, frappés and anything else you need. You can purchase individual songs for 99 cents each or choose from one of their complete class mixes. Download your mix to your iPod and let the music prepare you for the competition stage! Your new warm-up is just a click away at —Michael Anne Bailey



Photo courtesy Sarah Robison.