Dance News

7 Reasons To Love Mandy Moore

This just in: Choreographer and should-be comedian Mandy Moore is awesome.

OK, you knew that already. And so did we.

At this weekend's Dance Teacher Summit, Mandy charmed her captivated audiences not just during her jazz and contemporary classes, but also during her always-anticipated "What the Judges See" panel.

This panel is always a crowd favorite, and for good reason: Mandy is honest, holds nothing back and isn't afraid to tell it like it is. She had plenty of quote-worthy gems during her hour-long session, and it seems only fair to share them with you in case you couldn't be there.

  1. On her less-than-stellar comp kid past: "I was not a successful competition kid. I never won...ever. Back then it was all gold, silver or bronze, and I got bronze every single time."
  2. On what she wants to see at competitions: "Please don't do 700 contemporary numbers. Bring back the jazz!"
  3. On whatever that word means: "I don't even know what contemporary is. It's like, well, they're not wearing shoes and the music's kinda weird, so...contemporary!"
  4. On the challenges of choreographing for "So You Think You Can Dance" contestants: "Nigel, you get in there and do that! I've got a clogger and a ballroom kid, and we're doing contemporary! And the song I wanted to use didn't clear, and you just told me last night!"
  5. On stepping outside your competition comfort zone—in tap shoes: "This isn't really about the tap routine. This is about learning how to lose."
  6. On giving your routines a little TLC: "I'd rather see a clean, easy routine than a bunch of crap onstage."
  7. On that move we all hate but everyone keeps doing: "Can we not do all the developpé seconds 100 times? It's the new fouetté. I don't want to see your crotch. Can't you turn another direction?"

I told you she was honest—and I totally dig it.

In addition to choreographing for "SYTYCD," Mandy is also on faculty with JUMP dance convention.

Want to know what inspires Mandy? Check out her Choreographer's Collage!

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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When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.

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(From left) Nia Sioux, Kendall Vertes, Chloe Lukasiak, and Kalani Hilliker (via @chloelukasiak)

Hey, "Dance Moms" die-hards: Are you obsessed with The Irreplaceables? Well, four members of the elite team—Kalani Hilliker, Chloe Lukasiak, Nia Sioux, and Kendall Vertes—are coming soon to a city near you.

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Tiler Peck and Chase Finlay in Swan Lake (photo by Paul Kolnik)

For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.

Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.

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The Look

Low on dancewear inspiration? Return to the classics in bold black and elegant white.

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Dancer to Dancer

Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!

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Dance News

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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