Dancing with the (Ballet) Stars
Did you catch former American Ballet Theatre principal Jose Manuel Carreño on "Dancing with the Stars" last night? The last time Carreño appeared on the show, he performed a (kind of strange) take on Swan Lake with Lorna and Lorena Feijoo. This time, though, he took on ballroom, slinking through a steamy Argentine tango with "DWTS" pro Karina Smirnoff.
I'm far from a ballroom expert, but Carreno's tango moves looked pretty great to me. I've always thought that ballet and ballroom shared many similarities—both emphasize form, structure, fluidity that's also precise. (And we've already discussed Billy Elliot star Kiril Kulish's success in competitive ballroom dance, which is awesome.)
But Smirnoff wrote a blog about working with Carreño that upends all my uninformed assumptions: She says she and Carreño have "very different" dance backgrounds. "Ballroom is fluid and soft and ballet is all about the frame," she says. "It's like having an opera singer and a rapper come together."
Interesting! I thought it was the other way around—that ballet dancers, used to being swans and princes, had trouble adjusting to the strong, forceful ballroom frame. (And I definitely never thought about putting ballet and rap in the same category.) But I'm a bunhead, so it's cool to hear about the crossover from a ballroom expert's perspective. Smirnoff's description is also, I think, an argument for cross-training: Ballet dancers have so much to learn from ballroom dancers, and vice versa.
More on that, by the way, in our September issue. Stay tuned!
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽