Dance News

5 of the Hottest Albums Choreographers Are Using

A still from Kyle Hanagami's video set to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" (via YouTube)

You know how it goes: a fantastic new song drops, and next thing you know, you can't go to a dance competition or scroll through Instagram without seeing a routine choreographed to it. Certain music has the power to speak to a lot of choreographers—often in completely different ways. Below are six recently released albums that have made a big impact on the dance community. Will they inspire your next piece of choreo?


1. "Grateful" - DJ Khaled

You've probably seen at least 10 different class videos choreographed to "Wild Thoughts," but this one is our personal favorite. The song is definitely having a moment, so much so that we wonder if it's the song of the summer—and it's just a matter of time before more songs off of the album become popular.

2. "American Teen" - Khalid

Khalid's lyrics are genuine and relatable, and his music has a unique vibe. Jake Kodish and Bryan Tanaka tapped into that with their smooth, storytelling choreography.

3. "Divide" - Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill" have been on everyone's playlists for a bit now, and the rest of his album does not disappoint. His diverse talents have inspired a lot of choreographers, including Matt Steffanina, Blake McGrath, Hamilton Evans, and our personal fave, Kyle Hanagami.

5. "24K Magic" - Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars' newest singles, "24K Magic" and "That's What I Like," became very popular super quickly. His music was clearly perfect for the stylings of Ian Eastwood & The Young Lions. (Refer back to their first "World of Dance" performance if you need additional proof.) But they're not the only ones inspired by Bruno Mars' musical artistry: Janelle Ginestra and Wildabeast, Kyle Hanagami, and Jake Kodish have all choreographed class combos to songs from "24K Magic."

5. "More Life" - Drake

Drake's chill, island vibe has never been more irresistible than it is on this album. And it's not just two great singles plus a bunch of filler: Many of the album's tracks have had widespread success. Candace Brown's choreography to "Madiba Riddim" shows that even its lesser-known songs have serious dance potential.

Dancer to Dancer

Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.

But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.

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Win It
Courtesy CAA

You read that right, people—Dance Spirit's giving away two tickets to the "SYTYCD" tour in the city of your choice, complete with an exclusive meet & greet with select cast members! Read on for the complete prize listing and official rules.

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Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.

If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.

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Via Facebook

Almost a month out, Puerto Rico continues to suffer the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. Many of the island's residents still lack power, clean water, and safe housing. Ballet classes? For Puerto Rican dance students, they must feel like an impossible luxury.

But a dance studio in Florida is working to allow a group of young Puerto Ricans to continue their training. And it needs your help.

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Gianluca Russo (via Instagram)

Yes, I am a dancer, and yes, I am fat.

There's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the reactions I've received when I've told people I dance. They can range from disbelief to confusion to shock. To many people, it's somehow incomprehensible that a plus-size person like myself could grace a stage. While the body-positive movement has been trucking along at full force over the past few years, it hasn't made much progress in the dance community yet. In fact, the words "body positivity" and "dance" are almost never used together in the same sentence.

Despite that fact, dance is what helped me learn to love my larger frame. In honor of National Body Confidence Day, I wanted to talk about my first time in a studio, and about the tremendous progress I've made since.

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Okay, so it's also Friday the 13th. (Eek! Be sure not to let any black cats cross your path on the way to the studio!)

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If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.

All photos by Joe Toreno.

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Dancer to Dancer

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?

Megan

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