Today's guest post comes from Francesca Harvey, a student who came to NYC recently with Live! Starring...You!—a pop-culture media organization that trains teen reporters to cover people in the spotlight—for National Entrepreneurship Week.
Tony Dovolani and brothers Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy have been famous in the ballroom world for a long time. It’s only in recent years that the trio—and several other ballroom champions—have become Hollywood celebrities.
That's what appearing on "Dancing with the Stars" will do for you.
For Tony, Maks and Val, their "DWTS" fame has also drawn attention to their business. With three other business partners, they own four Dance With Me studios: one in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, and others in Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Now, they want to expand the studio across the country.
After all, there seems to be a need.
“One of the things we run into as we travel across the country is everybody is asking us for lessons,” Tony told me during a recent interview at the SoHo studio.
Francesca with Tony, Maks and Val. Not a bad place to be! (Photo by Tim O'Shei)
The guys have developed a teaching system that blends their individual approaches and styles. They instruct their own teachers in that system so all their students are learning the same way.
“Now, all of our teachers believe in the same system,” Tony said. “They’re taught by us. If you walk into our studio, you’re getting a combination of Tony, Maks and Val.”
Our interview also included a dance lesson with Val! We thought it was pretty cool that we got to dance with him one week before he was paired with "Shake It Up" star Zendaya Coleman for the next season of "DWTS." (Tony is paired with Wynonna Judd, while Maks isn't participating in the next season.)
Learning how to groove with Val! (Photo by Tim O'Shei)
If you want to find out how we fared, click here to read our story and watch the video on the Live! Starring … You! site.
But ask Tony, and he’ll tell you they can turn anyone into a dancer!
“We’ve developed a system where there's not one person we can’t teach,” he said. “If you can walk, we can teach you how to dance.”
Francesca Harvey is the student editor of LiveStarringYou.com and a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo, NY.
Welcome to the new dancespirit.com—a completely addictive way to enjoy our top-notch dance content.
It's got all the stuff you've always loved: gorgeous images of your favorite dancers, internet-breaking viral videos, thoughtful technical advice for dancers of all styles, effective health and wellness tips, crazy-good giveaways. And now there's a lot more of it—right at your fingertips.
We've invested in the latest technology to produce a brilliant digital experience, using the powerful tools for social discovery and engagement developed by our partner, RebelMouse. They know what they're doing, guys.
Produced by the editors and writers you trust. Powered by RebelMouse. BOOM.
If you're a dancer with a bust, you know the struggle all too well. Wear a sports bra, and ruin the elegant lines of your leotard? Or go without support, and risk tons of pain and discomfort? The sad truth is, even when dancewear has a built-in shelf bra, that's often not enough support for the full range of ladies who dance.
Former dancer Caterina Mercante has created a bra that promises to fix all of those issues. She calls it the ONE Bra, and it's designed specifically for dancers, with all kinds of features that could prove to be life-changing:
1. Underwire to lift and separate
2. Compression mesh in multiple shades to match skin color
3. Side attachments, so no bulging hooks in the back
4. Convertible straps
5. Removable pads
6. Available in B-D cups
But don't take our word for it. Watch this video to see the ONE Bra in action.
It's an amazing feeling when everything in class just clicks—everyone's dancing full-out, the energy's high and the choreo just flows. It's even more amazing when a camera captures it all, and your favorite #BoySquad's slaying the choreo, AND the class is Tricia Miranda's.
That's exactly what happened the other day at Millennium Dance Complex, where Sean Lew, Gabe De Guzman, Will Simmons, Josh Price and TreVontae Leggins shut. it. down. Lucky for us, Gabe and Will shared the insanely ridiculous results on Instagram. You can't fake this kind of energy—it was some kind of #lit over at MDC. #BoySquad, we bow down to you.
if u did not show up to @1triciamiranda class that night, u missed out on one of the most mind blowing classes ever 💯🙌🏼 the energy in class blew the roof off the place 🔥🔥 love dancing with these insane aliens 👏🏼 @bigwillsimmons @seanlew @officialjoshprice @treydakiddbomb20 #OGBobbyJohnson 😈
A post shared by Gabe De Guzman (@gabedofficial) on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:56pm PDT
So this is what you missed in @1triciamiranda amazing class the other day!!!!!!!🙌🏾😭 The energy in the room was so insane and free!!!!💥🔥 We do this cause we love it!!!❤️ Dancing with my brothers @gabedofficial @seanlew @officialjoshprice 🤙🏾😜#ogbobbyjonhson #bigwillsimmons #dance #freestyle #triciamiranda
A post shared by Will Simmons (@bigwillsimmons) on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:16pm PDT
We're the dance dads. And we're here to help you in your pursuit of greatness.
We're happy to do it, for we—like so many other dance parents, and teachers, and choreographers, and extended family members—have found our purpose in helping you reach your dreams. We drive you to lessons until you can drive yourself. We teach you the steps until you can learn them on your own. We create your dances until you find your voice hidden in the lines. We buy you shoes. A lot of shoes.
We see you give your all at dance school and rehearsals and master classes and conventions and choreo camps. And sometimes you giggle with friends or do cartwheels in the back or don't pay attention. We remind ourselves that you are children while we guide you back on path. Because we are here to get you to the next place you were always going.
We watch you dance at competitions, your hearts as much on your sleeves as the four hundred sequins that needed to be hot glued last night. We help you with quick changes, we guard dream duffels, we pretend potato chips have nutritional value when the venue is sold out of everything else. We listen as every song we've ever loved gets remixed, remastered, and turned into a contemporary routine featuring, we think, eagles that have flown into an oil spill.
We watch you dance.
Oh, how we watch. As much as those brief minutes on stage are what you train for all season, it is what we live for. You may never understand that until you become a dance dad (or mom) yourself.
We see you sit on the stage waiting for awards, singing out loud to Moana and Beyoncé. We see you gather pins and plaques, ribbons and signs. We share your elation at placing, we share the surprise when a routine does worse than expected or the even bigger surprise when it does better than we imagined. We celebrate after competitions, or we console.
Through it all, we admire you more than you know. Dancers do not push through conventions to become rich. You do not give up sleepovers with friends and birthday parties and countless other social functions to become famous. Our celebrities have brief public moments on TV competitions or talk shows. The most successful dancers do not typically become household names like the best singers or actors. Dance is not about fame (although it's a bit about Fame, but that's different). Dance is art, and you are passionate artists becoming your true selves. We, the dance dads, are proud to help lift you up. (Not literally, though. Dance dads have bad backs.)
We don't tell you this to make you thank us. We tell you this so when you feel like the journey of your dance life is a difficult burden to bear, you know that you aren't alone. There are so many people helping you, teaching you, showing you where to go. Dance dads are here to help you separate dance from the rest of your world, or bring it together, whatever is needed.
You dance, we watch. Good deal. Keep going.
What does dance mean to you? That's the question Boston Ballet principal John Lam asks his fellow company members in a moving new short film. The dancers' responses, which we hear as we see them performing fluid choreography by Lam, are lovely: "Joy." "Change." "Truth." "Love." "Freedom."
It'd be a meaningful watch even if it were released in a vacuum. But its message hits with special force because Lam created the video to show support for the embattled National Endowment for the Arts, which faces elimination under President Trump's proposed budget.
Watch and share. Because, as Lam says, life is dance. #SavetheNEA #ArtMatters
When it comes to winning combos, it's hard to beat ballet and black and white. Need proof? Watch this absolutely mesmerizing video for Justin Peck's new ballet, The Decalogue.
The latest from NYCB's always busy, undoubtedly superhuman resident choreographer seems to have all of the "Peck-isms" we've come to love, from super unique formations that appear as quickly as they disappear, to visually delicious shapes carved out by the über-talented NYCB dancers. The trailer's also shot on grainy film, giving the whole thing a nostalgic, romantic vibe that we're absolutely loving. But the best part? The Decalogue marks Sufjan Stevens' second original score for Peck and NYCB (Stevens composed the music for 2014's Everywhere We Go). We won't spoil the rest, so do yourself a favor and check it out below.
Would you like to absolutely drown in beauty today? Yes? Of course you would. And we've got just the video for you: "Now More Than Ever," created by Ezra Hurwitz for the Ballet Across America festival, which is currently underway in D.C. The four-minute fantasia features American Ballet Theatre stars Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera, James Whiteside, Marcelo Gomes and Calvin Royall III performing ravishing bits of choreography in, on and around the historic Kennedy Center.
There are gauzy, gorgeous ballgowns. There are beautifully unexpected uses of the KenCen's opulent spaces. There are worshipful shots of these extraordinary dancers doing extraordinary things.
It's irresistible. Just luxuriate in it. And D.C.-area friends, be sure not to miss the Ballet Across America programs, which are curated by two complete unknowns named Misty Copeland and Justin Peck.
As far as musical theater news is concerned, this week has been liiiiiiiiit. On Tuesday, we reported that Carousel is coming back to Broadway next year in a production featuring several New York City Ballet favorites. Now there's word that two more of our ballet/Broadway baes are at the helm of a new City Center Encores! production of the classic Brigadoon.
Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph this concert staging of Lerner & Loewe's romantic fantasy, opening November 15 and running just 5 days in total. So snag those tickets now!
Still not convinced? The swoon-worthy Robert Fairchild will play Harry Beaton, a handsome rebel living in the magical Scottish town called Brigadoon. We can't wait to have our very own modern-day Gene Kelly doing his triple-threat thing again.
To tide you over until November, here's Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in the 1954 movie version of Brigadoon. Because Cyd Charisse.
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