The cast of Mystère (by Matt Beard)
Cirque du Soleil isn’t your grandmother’s circus. It’s sleek, sophisticated and sometimes a little scary. Every scene is a production in itself, complete with radiant costumes, intricate choreography and, our favorite part, technically extraordinary dancers. Since the early 1980s, Cirque du Soleil has grown from a tiny crew of street performers in Canada to a huge organization that now puts on 20 shows across the globe—each with its own plot and zany cast. This year marks milestone anniversaries for several Cirque du Soleil productions, so DS asked four dancers—from four different Cirque du Soleil shows—to share 10 secrets only an insider would know.
1| “The audience response is stronger than in the traditional dance world. The crowd reacts to everything with excitement, amazement and disbelief. It was shocking at first—it took a while to get used to spontaneous outbursts within the theater.” —Natalya Bashkatova, La Nouba
* La Nouba at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year!
2| “The costumes are legendary and so detailed. The cast is measured from head to toe to the millimeter, and no two artists have the same outfit. They even laser scanned my head to get my wig size!” —Jarrett Kelly, The Beatles LOVE
* The Cirque du Soleil show with the most recognizable soundtrack, The Beatles LOVE, has been performed to Beatles classics at The Mirage in Las Vegas since 2006.
3| “Mystère’s stage is almost a full circle, so I have to be aware that I’m always being watched at many angles.” —Israel Lazo Gutierrez, Mystère
*It’s a big year for Mystère: 2013 marks the show’s 20th year at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.
4| “Unlike the ballet world I’m from, diversity and uniqueness are praised in Cirque du Soleil. Having an unusual body type or uncommon proportions is actually a huge plus. The dancers here never have to try to blend in.” —Agnès Roux, Zumanity
*Zumanity: The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil, at New York–New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas turns 10 years old this year.
5| “Our schedule is unlike any other. We work five days a week, two performances per night, and we often have to come in early for training, rehearsals or meetings.” —JK
6| “Doing 478 shows a year is hard on a dancer’s body. We have to be prepared physically and mentally, and we challenge ourselves to make every show passionate.” —NB
7| “We have great physical therapists, massage therapists and Pilates teachers. And they’re all on site!” —AR
8| “I always wondered what gymnasts do after they compete in the Olympics. Now I know—they join Cirque! Our cast has so many world-champion athletes.” —JK
9| “Each performer came to work for the company in a different way. I auditioned in Paris, but some friends have been spotted at competitions, on TV programs or during performances with other companies.” —AR
10| “The cast members have incredibly diverse backgrounds. You’d be surprised at how many disciplines each performer has studied—beyond what you see onstage.” —IG
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.
Fashion looks better in motion—that's why runways exist. But when does fashion look REALLY amazing? In dancey motion. And exhibit #69372 in the case for the inescapable connection between dance and fashion is this new video from Harper's Bazaar, featuring our favorite dancer/model/rock star, Larsen Thompson.