LINES Ballet's Madeline DeVries Talks Hidden Talents and Bad Dance Habits
Alonzo King LINES Ballet's Madeline DeVries can move with both liquid grace and razor-sharp precision. A Southern California native, DeVries grew up training at the Santa Clarita Ballet Academy in Canyon Country, CA. She later studied at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School's professional division on full scholarship, and spent summers training with Houston Ballet, The Rock School, and The National Ballet of Canada. In 2012, DeVries moved to Germany to become an apprentice with Dresden Semperoper Ballett. She returned to the States in 2013, and danced with Whim W'Him and Coriolis in Seattle before joining LINES Ballet in 2014. Catch her performing during the company's home season this month in San Francisco, CA—and read on for The Dirt!
Where do you feel the happiest?
The beach by my house is my happy place (especially when accompanied by my boyfriend).
What's your go-to stress reliever?
A good night's sleep or a great coffee date with a friend.
What's your biggest fear?
Letting someone down or spiders
What are you most nervous about?
Showing up at the airport for a tour without my passport. (It's never happened!)
Who's your dance role model?
Louise Nadeau, now retired from Pacific Northwest Ballet. She had so much artistry and is such a genuine and kind person.
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
"Hey Mami," by Sylvan Esso
What's your most-watched TV show?
Definitely "New Girl." Schmidt is hysterical.
What's your favorite dance movie?
Save the Last Dance
Who can always make you laugh?
Shuaib Elhassan. He's my clowning-around buddy—never fails to make me laugh, even sometimes onstage!
What foods can't you live without?
Popcorn and avocados
Do you have any nicknames?
Butter, Koala Bear, Maddie Mad, Mads
Who would play you in a movie?
For sure Kristen Wiig
What's your biggest piece of advice for young performers?
There's always more to learn. Criticism is only an opportunity for growth! And never let anyone put out your light. You're uniquely and wonderfully made.
What are you most proud of?
Performing on the Mariinsky stage in St. Petersburg, Russia
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I've been so blessed to travel all over the world. I would love to go to Rome, or back to anywhere in the south of France.
What's the strangest thing in your dance bag?
Six ChapSticks. Don't ask…ha! I guess I just always want to be prepared.
Do you have any pre-performance habits?
I usually spend some time in meditation/prayer. Also, Beyoncé.
Do you have any pets?
My golden retriever, Olive Joy <3
What non-dance thing would you consider yourself an expert at?
Making popcorn. Also, I'm an aspiring candlemaker.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A secretary. I remember pretending in my mom's closet with an old dial phone and pens and paper.
Do you have any bad dance habits?
My arms get too high sometimes. Awareness is the first step!
What's your dream role?
Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain pas de deux
What dancer would you drop everything to go see?
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
Teleportation. 13-hour plane rides are killer.
What's your favorite book?
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
Who's your dance crush?
What would you be if you weren't a dancer?
Probably a barista, or a shop owner selling crafts and items from around the world.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Eating food with chopsticks. Knitting (especially on winter tour). I love puzzles!
If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?
What are your pet peeves?
I'm pretty easygoing—but loud chewing can really get to me.
What's your favorite ballet?
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
Bunheads, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and we fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what?
You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
Let's face it—spare time is pretty tough to come by when you're a dancer. You're either rushing to get ready for rehearsal, rushing to rehearsal, a combo of the two, or in rehearsal (or performing, or in class, or at an audition...you get the picture). Well here at DS, we understand the struggle is REAL, which is why we've rounded up our favorite foolproof makeup hacks, approved by resident #LazyGirl when it comes to makeup (spoiler alert: it's me). On to the hacks!
Kalea (pronounced kah-LAY-uh) Hidalgo knows how to move. Her decisive, dynamic dancing commands the stage: She gobbles up space so confidently it's hard to believe you're watching a mere tween. Unsurprisingly, that presence and power have started turning heads in a serious way. Not only did Talia Favia choreograph one of her solos in 2017, but Kalea also recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency in L.A. and, last summer, placed first overall in the junior contemporary solo category at Radix Nationals.
"When you're out on the dance floor, don't ask for permission—ask for forgiveness."—Kalea Hidalgo
Taylor Swift is #blessed in many ways: She's got a great voice, insane song writing skills, and, to quote her new hit single, she's "Gorgeous." She is not, however, blessed in the dance department. But that doesn't stop her from busting out the occasional dance move. In fact, Swift likes to playfully show off her less-than-stellar dancing, be it in her music videos (hello, "Shake It Off") or at music award shows. So we weren't surprised when during the latest episode of her "Making of a Song" series for AT&T, she unveiled a new endearingly awkward maneuver, which she's dubbed the "dolphin body roll"—and it practically had friend and producer Jack Antonoff rolling on the floor!🤣
You rehearse your group routine to perfection, but when the big performance rolls around, everyone turns into speed demons. It's the runaway-train effect—and it only takes one loud tapper, or zippy turner, to throw the whole group off the music.
While nerves and excitement are partly to blame, the ability to keep to tempo begins in the studio. A well-developed sense of musicality is your best defense against the dreaded speed trap. "When you understand how the steps fit with the music, going too fast won't just feel like rushing," says Jeremy Arnold, lecturer of tap at the University of Texas at Austin. "It'll feel wrong." How can dancers develop that musicality? It all starts with learning to listen.