From Competitions to Campus: How 4 Comp Stars Made the Leap
Considering a dance degree to build on your competition experiences? DS caught up with comp-circuit stars who chose higher ed to learn the advantages of transitioning from comp kid to college kid.
Ability to Pick Up New Genres
"Because I'd been exposed to so many different genres—hip hop, theater, contemporary, and ballet—I was able to pick up new styles quickly in college, and movement came more naturally to me." —Mattie Love, 2010 NYCDA National Teen Female Outstanding Dancer and Marymount Manhattan College class of 2016
"All of us from studio backgrounds have broad stylistic experiences, and versatility is important in college because it opens doors. You don't want to have a door closed because you never dabbled in one particular style." —Jake Tribus, 24 Seven Dance Convention's 2013 National Teen Male Non-Stop Dancer and University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance class of 2020
Jake Tribus (photo by Jennifer Robertson, courtesy USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance)
Being Prepared for Auditions and Accepting Their Outcomes
"When you're a competition dancer, you're auditioning all the time. I always felt comfortable auditioning in college: I pick up detailed choreography quickly because I grew up doing that on the competition and convention circuit." —ML
Managing a Packed Schedule and Networking Effectively
"College is like a convention weekend all the time! You have to take care of your body and pace yourself so you're getting the most out of classes but not killing yourself. I was prepared to go into each college class with a new perspective because of conventions, where I changed my mindset really quickly from one class to the next." —Sarah Pippin, 2015 NYCDA National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer and Juilliard class of 2020"
Sarah Pippin performing in "Juiliard New Dances: Edition 2016" (photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Sarah Pippin)
Conventions prepared me for contact With a variety of people. I was able to immerse myself in different communities across the nation. It's very similar to a college schedule: long days, working hard in every single class. You're meeting people every day and making connections that'll last a lifetime." —Alyssa Allen, 2014 Senior Female Best Dancer at The Dance Awards and USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance class of 2019
Alyssa Allen (photo by Rose Eichenbaum, courtesy USC Kaufman)
Learning New Material Fast and Showcasing Your Work Ethic
"I'm used to 45-minute classes where the teacher teaches a crazy-long combo. The convention setting taught me to pick things up fast, which then helped me in college because I could move on quickly from learning the combination to focusing on technical elements." —SP
"At my studio, we knew everyone's parts: In case something happened, someone could substitute during a performance. I've found in college, people want to work with me because I know how to dance in an ensemble—I know how to be clean and how
to blend because of those competition experiences."—ML
A version of this story appeared in the October 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "From Comps to Campus."
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
American Ballet Theatre principal Sarah Lane charms audiences with her bright energy and crisp technique. The San Francisco, CA, native first started dancing at age 4 at a local community center, and at age 7 started training in Memphis, TN, at the Classical Ballet Memphis. Her family later moved to Rochester, NY, where she continued studying at the Draper Center for Dance Education. In 2002, she was a YoungArts Foundation winner in dance, allowing her to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2003, was made a soloist in 2007, and was promoted to principal last fall. Recently, she originated the role of Princess Praline in Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. Catch her later this spring during ABT's Metropolitan Opera season. —Courtney Bowers
You and I both know that dancing is the best thing since chocolate chip cookies! But its always nice when dance gets the recognition it deserves from non–dance-world peeps. That's why we did our own happy dance when we saw Shape magazine's article on how dancing can actually make you a better athlete.
When Ruby Castro became a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, she was a fresh, feisty new face to most at-home viewers. But in the dance world—particularly on the ballroom circuit—Ruby was already a household name. Miami-based Ruby grew up as a belle of the ballroom: Her parents, Manny and Lory Castro, are veritable superstars of the scene. They're the owners of Dance Town, an ultra-competitive studio in Doral, FL, and raised Ruby to follow in their furiously fast footsteps. Before she graced the "SYT" stage, Ruby had already been named a U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom, and competed on "America's Got Talent"—twice!
So, we know she's talented, we know she's versatile, we know she's stunning, and we know she can dance. But here's what you may not know about Ruby.
You know that thing when you're onstage at a competition and you catch your teacher unconsciously marking through every step of the choreography in the wings, just willing you and the rest of the group to dance perfectly?
Yeah—that happens in ice dancing, too. Case in point: the scene at the Olympic rink yesterday, as Canadian ice-dancing legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated their way to their third Olympic gold.
Obviously, their performance was all kinds of epic. But the off-ice "performance" given by their coach, Marie-France Dubreuil, was EVERYTHING.
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I want to dance in a ballet company, but I'm insecure about my body. I'm not skinny, and I don't think I ever will be, because that's just not the way I'm built. Please be honest with me: If I don't have the traditional ballet body, do I have a future in professional ballet?