Dance News

Kalani Hilliker made "Dance Moms" fans sit up a little straighter when she first appeared on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" back in 2013. The then–12-year-old ballerina had charisma, she had sass—and, wow, did she have technique! Abby Lee Miller, the show's infamous host, saw Kalani's star potential from the start, saving her from elimination and ultimately inviting her to perform alongside Maddie Ziegler on Season 4 of "Dance Moms." "I was never supposed to be on 'Dance Moms' beyond that one performance," says Kalani, now 16, but she ended up staying on the show for the whole season—and the following three. "It was my first time, but not my last time, causing drama. And it was also the first time I got to meet the other dancers, who have become like sisters."

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Isaac Hernández in "Despertares" (via Vimeo)

Move over, Sergei Polunin*: There's a new ballet heartthrob in town.

Well, not "new," exactly: The fabulously talented Isaac Hernández has been a lead principal with the English National Ballet since 2015, and previously danced with Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. (He's also part of a distinguished dance family: You met his brother, SFB corps member Esteban, in our March issue roundup of up-and-coming danseurs.)

But a dreamy new video by filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz—"Despertares" [Wake Up], featuring Hernández dancing in studios and on rooftops all over NYC—makes a strong case for this beautiful dancer becoming your next ballet crush:

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Popular
Dance students performing in the graduation ceremony for the Boston Conservatory at Berklee's class of 2016 (Mila Thigpen, courtesy Alyssa Markowitz)

You probably already know the dance division at the Boston Conservatory as a top destination for contemporary dancers. But in June 2016, the Conservatory uncovered a new part of its identity when it merged with Berklee College of Music. It's a move that's opening up all kinds of new opportunities for students—especially dancers.

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Dancer to Dancer
Jade Chynoweth knows how to mesmerize an audience with some killer eye contact. (Joe Toreno)

In an audition or onstage, knowing how to use eye contact appropriately is a total game changer. Dancers who aren't afraid to meet the eyes of judges or audience members exude a special confidence that allows them to be seen as capable, talented performers. When dancers look at the floor or around the room, though, they telegraph insecurity. Don't send your critics looking for flaws! Avoid these three no-no's and become a true master of eye contact.

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Watch This
Demi Lovato and choreographer Jojo Gomez (via YouTube)

Pretty much every class at L.A.'s Millennium Dance Complex features a combo set to a serious banger of a song. But not every class brings in the ACTUAL POP STAR BEHIND THE SONG to watch dancers take on that combo.

A few days ago, Demi Lovato dropped by Jojo Gomez's class at Millennium to see what Gomez had made of her hit "Sorry Not Sorry." Gomez's 🔥 choreo—and the incredible performances by some of Hollywood's best dancers/most devoted Lovatics, including Kaycee Rice—didn't disappoint.

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Dancer to Dancer
Dance photographer Kenneth Edwards' shot of American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary (courtesy Edwards)

Is there anything better than a killer dance photoshoot? OF COURSE NOT! Whether you're taking headshots, model shots, or simply images that'll slay on Instagram, dance photography makes the world a prettier place.

To make sure your next dance photoshoot is as 🔥 as you are, we asked photographer Kenneth Edwards for his dos and don'ts. Follow his advice and your dance photography future will be as bright as your "golden hour" lighting.

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Dancer to Dancer
Ballet BC's Alexis Fletcher says experimenting with structured improv can make you more comfortable with risk. (Michael Slobodian, courtesy Ballet BC)

The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.

But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?

Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.

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Dance News
The Top 10 and All Stars in the opening number (Tyler Golden/FOX)

Last week, after much fanfare and anticipation, we finally met the Season 14 Top 10. Which meant that last night, the hard part began: We started eliminating people.

Here's how it all went down: At the end of last week's episode, you voted (right?). Last night, the whole Top 10 performed again—once with their All Stars plus a solo—and at the end of that episode, we found out who landed in the bottom three based on last week's votes. Then, the judges swooped in and decided who to save and who to send home.

It's a little savage making the dancers perform all over again, even though one will definitely be going home. But such is reality television. And though we had to bid adieu to one worthy member of the Top 10 (we'll get to that), last night's episode was good.

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