Alex Wong's Post-Newsies Life
Alex Wong has just about done it all: He was a principal soloist with Miami City Ballet, he rocked "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 7, he appeared on the TV show "Smash" and, most recently, he made his Broadway debut in the cast of Newsies. Now, after 154 performances on the Great White Way, Alex is moving on. He'll perform next in the Dance TV showcase, celebrating dance on the small screen, at the Vail International Dance Festival--and you can expect to see him back on the commercial scene soon. We recently chatted with Alex about his crazy (and enviable!) dance life.
Dance Spirit: You had a great run with Newsies. What was the best part of dancing in your first Broadway show?
Alex Wong: The camaraderie among all the cast members--they are amazing and we got along so well. I thought I would get sick of doing the same show over and over, but every night I'd get butterflies as I entered the stage for "Seize the Day." The acting, Christopher Gattelli's choreography, the wonderful audience--it all just felt so good and real.
DS: Why did you decide to leave Broadway?
AW: I booked a job in L.A--which I can't talk about for two more weeks, sorry!--before I joined the cast of Newsies, so I was obligated to leave. But I'm missing the show so much! It's a good thing I've been so busy teaching and performing since I left--I haven't had time to sit down and cry about missing my castmates.
DS: What will you be performing at Dance TV in Vail?
AW: I'll be doing a solo, a routine with Allison Holker and a number with tWitch. I'm really excited to perform with them--they're so great together. [Editor's note: Look for Allison and tWitch on the September cover of DS!]
DS: What do you love most about dancing on TV?
AW: I love that it's "one and done"--which I guess can actually be good and bad. But even more, I love that you have such a huge audience. You're not just sharing your performance with the people who can afford a $100 ticket to a Broadway show. You can reach millions of people.
DS: What's your dance dream job?
AW:Something on TV that involves dancing, singing and acting--similar to "Smash" or "Glee." I really want to show my craft and all I can do.
Keep up with Alex by following him on Twitter and Instagram: @AlexdWong.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.