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?
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.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
The 2018 Oscar noms are here. Which is fun and all; we'll never not get excited about a night of glitz and glamor and, when we're lucky, pretty great dancing. But we'd be a heck of a lot more excited if the Academy Awards included a Best Choreography category. And really—why don't they?
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
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Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.