Dance News

Alvin Ailey + Spring Dresses = OMG I Can't

The secret's out: Dancers are the ultimate in GLAM. (Obviously!) The world of high fashion realized this a while ago, and recent press is confirming what us dancers already knew. (See Teen Vogue's "Strictly Ballet" and Free People's ballet collection—which, with the help of Ballet Zaida's Oliver Endahl, eventually produced some beautiful dance photography.)

This week, Elle magazine followed suit with "Alvin Ailey Dancers Take on Spring's Best Dresses." Yes, guys, this is just as glorious as it sounds. The exquisite women of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II are the perfect models to show off the fun, flirty dresses of the season. Warning: Desire to shop will increase ten-fold after viewing these photos. Check out some of our favorites, below.

All photos Kathryn Wirsing/Elle

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Catch Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Lincoln Center, now until June 22.

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Cover Story
(From left) Mean Girls dancers Riza Takahashi, Ben Cook, Kamille Upshaw, Jonalyn Saxer, DeMarius R. Copes, and Stephanie Lynn Bissonnette (photos by Erin Baiano)

Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.

OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.

Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.

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Maddie Ziegler (via @tiffanyandco on Instagram)

Take a look at Tiffany & Co.'s new ad campaign and you might recognize a familiar face. The one and only Maddie Ziegler has partnered with the luxury jewelry brand and the resulting video is pure brilliance. The glamorous collaboration reveals Maddie's candid thoughts about life as a dancer and the work ethic that's gotten her to where she is today.

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Health & Body
Photo by Erin Baiano

We've all seen the videos on Instagram: a professional ballerina, casually perched atop a BOSU ball, développé-ing like it's no big deal. When done properly, BOSU ball exercises are both insanely impressive and incredibly effective for strengthening your core, ankles, and overall stability. Dance Spirit turned to Joel Prouty, a NYC-based personal trainer and injury prevention/exercise-conditioning specialist, for his top three BOSU ball moves, ranging from easy to hard.

Photos by Erin Baiano. Modeled by Lauren Post, dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

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How To
Illustration by Lealand Eve

A few years ago, 16-year-old Kayla Gonzalez found herself dancing alongside a mean-spirited girl. “She could be so rude," says Gonzalez, who trains at The Dance Zone in Henderson, NV. “It got worse at competitions. She'd make up lies, saying my teammates and I were doing things we weren't. She was always trying to get ahead." Sound familiar? A competitive environment can bring out the very worst in some dancers' personalities. When put in a stressful situation, students can become bossy, overdramatic or downright mean. Here, DS breaks down four toxic types you might encounter, and offers tips on how to respond.

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The Lethal Ladies performing in STEP (courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

"A dancer's body is her instrument"—we've all heard the saying. But for steppers, who use their bodies to emulate rhythmic drumming, that saying is everything.

Step swept the U.S. last summer with the release of the documentary STEP, which followed three members of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women step team. The team also made it onto the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 14 stage, after member Blessin Giraldo's audition ended in an invite from Nigel Lythgoe himself.

For dance fans, it may have seemed like the summer of step. But this art form has been around for well over a century. What is it, where did it come from, and why is the wider dance world taking notice?

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Evans as Captain America, saluting tap-dancers everywhere. Giphy

So WHY isn't there more video evidence of this hidden talent?

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Dancer to Dancer
Brian Friedman (photo by Louise Flores, courtesy Friedman)

Brian Friedman is not only a legend in his own right—he's also worked beside the biggest legends in the business. Growing up a Scottsdale, AZ, comp kid, Friedman was soon dancing behind Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Paula Abdul, and as an OG Newsie in the 1992 film. Now he calls the shots: He's choreographed and been creative director for icons like Britney, Cher, Beyoncé, and Mariah. Nominated for five MTV VMAs, two Music Video Production Association Awards, and four American Choreography Awards, Friedman's won an Industry Voice Award for best choreography, and a World of Dance award. Dance Spirit talked to Friedman to find out what inspires him. —Helen Rolfe

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Dance Videos
Caissie Levy as Elsa in Frozen (Deen van Meer, courtesy Disney)

Let it gooooo! The much-anticipated musical version of Frozen, with choreography by the fabulous Rob Ashford, opens on Broadway tonight. And to get you even more excited about this latest dancy Disney venture, the show's team just released a brand-new trailer—a sneak peek at how they've translated the film's special magic into perhaps-even-more-impressive stage magic.

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Dancer to Dancer
#1: Remembering all the choreography for your approximately 37 different routines. (Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance)

Dance competitions are where great memories are made. But—between the traveling, the challenging routines, and the bazillion costume changes—they're also the source of many, many #struggles. If you're a comp kid, you'll 100 percent be able to relate to these 10 problems.

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Dancer to Dancer

Veteran Brooklynettes dancer Asha Singh knows what it takes to get a crowd pumped: This NBA season marks her fifth year on the squad. And as team captain, she's also well-versed in the art of keeping a team looking picture-perfect. An Overland Park, KS, native, she trained in ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and tap as a child, and later majored in dance at the University of Missouri. Since then, she's danced with music legends, including Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, and performed in commercials for big brands like ESPN and T-Mobile. Catch her courtside cheering on the Brooklyn Nets—and read on for The Dirt.

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