10 Quick Questions with Nia Sioux Frazier
In the earliest seasons of Lifetime's "Dance Moms," Nia Sioux Frazier was the underdog. She was constantly overlooked by a certain shall-not-be-named teacher, and had a seemingly permanent spot on the bottom of the show's infamous pyramid.
It wasn't until Nia and her mom Holly decided to pursue other creative outlets—singing! music videos! live performances!—that the 15-year-old dancer (she turns 16 next week) got the spotlight she wanted. Today, Nia's a fan favorite far beyond "Dance Moms": Last year, she made her off-Broadway debut in Trip of Love, and next month she'll take her famous death drop on the road with WilldaBeast and Janelle Ginestra as part of the team's #FOLLOWME tour. Catch Nia & co. when the tour kicks off July 28 in L.A.—and get more from her right here, right now. #slay
1. What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you do before bed every night?
As soon as I wake up, I automatically check my phone. So much can happen overnight, and I want to stay connected. At night, I make sure I put my phone on the charger because I need all the battery life I can get. I cannot start my day at less than 100 percent.
2. What are three things you eat every day?
Egg whites, chicken or fish, and fruit
3. What are three things you can't dance without?
Music, strength, and a hair tie
4. In your very expert opinion, what's the best dance movie of all time?
My all-time favorite movie is The Wiz. I love the choreography and music throughout the movie, especially the scene featuring the song "A Brand New Day." I also recently fell in love with La La Land and would love to do a movie like that one day, with such incredible dancing.
5. If you were given an hour to take class from ANY instructor—living or dead—who would you choose?
That's so hard. Probably Michael Jackson. But Misty Copeland and Debbie Allen are high on my list, too!
6. What's your favorite place you've ever performed?
Performing my first song, "Star In Your Own Life," in Federation Square, Australia, was incredible.
7. What songs are in heavy rotation on your playlist right now?
"Symphony" by Clean Bandit, "Nights With You" by MO, and "Slow Down Love" by Louis the Child
8. Other than dance, what's your favorite way to work out?
I enjoy working out and staying fit. I routinely walk on the treadmill, in addition to working out with my trainer several times a week.
9. What's your favorite way to spend a Sunday?
My perfect Sunday includes relaxing, enjoying a delicious brunch, and staying home with my family.
10. What has been the single greatest moment in your dance career so far?
There have been so many amazing moments, it's hard to pick one. Any situation where I'm learning more about dance will help me with my dance career. Learning from Laurieann Gibson, Cheryl Burke, and James Walski (Trip of Love director & choreographer) would be some of my greatest highlights. They were huge moments for me, and the lessons learned are helpful in life and dance.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.