Alice Klock’s long limbs slice through the air with a jeweler’s precision. The Hubbard Street 2 company member is onstage at the Art Institute of Chicago, improvising to poems read by actors from the Goodman Theatre. She has a dramatic movement quality that’s made even more compelling by her subtle facial expressions. Her energy can shift in a heartbeat, but you’ll never see it coming.
Alice’s cool stage persona reflects a laid-back attitude, which has served her well. A relative latecomer to dance, she first started taking ballet at 11 at Randazzo Dance in Ypsilanti, MI, near her rural home. “For a while, I was both the oldest and worst person in class,” Alice says. “But once I was into it, there was no question that this was what I wanted to do.” After graduating from high school at Michigan’s Interlochen Center for the Arts, the now-21-year-old entered the professional dance world at a time when jobs were sparse. Taking the situation in stride, she enrolled in the LINES Ballet BFA program offered at Dominican University of California. Two years later, in search of more diverse dance training, she sent out resumés and letters of interest to see if the job market had changed. Glenn Edgerton, artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, replied, suggesting Alice attend the HSDC 2009 summer intensive. She did and relished the program’s spectrum of styles. When she was offered a spot in HS2, Alice happily accepted and started that September.
HS2 has given Alice opportunities to work with a variety of choreographers, such as Gallim Dance’s Andrea Miller and Morphoses company member Gabrielle Lamb. HS2 has also changed the way Alice thinks about dance—especially when things go awry. “It used to be, ‘straighten your legs, pull up,’ ” Alice says. “Here, if you’re falling out of something, you make it bigger to save it. That’s been a huge shift for me.” She uses this philosophy while rehearsing Lamb’s new piece for the company: In a duet with Ethan Kirschbaum, Alice walks around her partner, who’s curled into a ball, taking steps so huge she nearly topples over.
But no matter how difficult the choreography, Alice’s face remains relaxed and open. “She seems so quiet and mild,” HS2 director Taryn Kaschock Russell says, “but her dancing can be huge, and onstage, she’s fearless.”
Fave Food: “If I don’t have an apple in the morning I’m just not happy. Gala, preferably, Fuji if I have to.”
Fave Dance Flick: Billy Elliot
Fave TV Show: “My roommates at Interlochen were Korean and they got me obsessed with this Korean soap opera called ‘I’m Sorry I Love You.’”
Dance Hero: “My mom. She’ll dance to the Talking Heads while she’s doing the dishes. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Perfect Day Off: “Lots of sleep and a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.”
Zachary Whittenburg is the dance editor at Time Out Chicago.
Photo of Alice Klock and Ethan Kirschbaum in I Can See Myself in Your Pupil, choreographed by Andrea Miller, by Todd Rosenberg.
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.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
I started dance classes at a young age. By the time I was 3, I was training at The Dance Club, and I grew up there. I started with the basics—ballet and jazz—and eventually added tap, tumbling, contemporary, and hip hop.
Early on, I did compete. I remember my first time: I did a trio at a small local competition, and it got first place. The trophy was as tall as I was, and I loved it. I attended conventions as a mini, and had the opportunity to take classes from Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Andy Pellick, and Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh. There was so much variety—I was in awe.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
My mom was a dancer growing up, and she went on to become a dance teacher, so I've really grown up in the studio. I started classes when I was 2, and by the time I was 9, I was training at The Dance Club and knew I wanted to dedicate all my time to dance.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
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.
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.