Beauty and the Beast's Hip-Hop Sequel
A poster for a previous episode of "Avengers of Xtreme Illusions," also featuring Chachi Gonzales (via wfaxi.com)
Allow me to introduce you to the greatest thing ever.
The web series "Avengers of Extreme Illusions" (AXI) is the brainchild of Shawn Welling—dancer, choreographer, instructor, filmmaker, writer, photographer and actor extraordinaire. Welling is also the founder of Planet Funk Academy, a mecca for urban dance training in Houston, TX, and home to Season 6 winners of "America's Best Dance Crew" I.aM.mE. Phew.
But I digress. Back to the web series: Welling unleashed the first episode of "AXI" back in 2011. The series, which is now in its third season, is sort of "Once Upon a Time" meets "The Twilight Zone" meets insanely good hip hop—with a Tim Burton-esque quality that's just creepy enough. The series features the uber-talented members of I.aM.Me crew—including Phillip "Pacman" Chbeeb, Olivia "Chachi" Gonzales and Emilio "Millie" Dosal—plus other DS faves. (Les Twins, anyone?)
Welling recently dropped the latest episode of Season 3. "Gift" stars Chachi as the innocent but curious Zoe Croft. Zoe finds a mysterious camera that transports her back in time to a Paris ruin, where she meets a phantom piano player, whose face and hands have been disfigured by fire. The story plays out like a hip-hop version of Beauty and the Beast that replaces true love's kiss with sick dancing—and we're totally OK with that. Enjoy!
Hooked? Check out the rest of the episodes on "AXI"'s YouTube channel.
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
Being a dancer comes with the task of having to entertain the same questions over and over again from those outside the dance world. Of course, we love having our friends and family take an interest in our passion—but if someone asks ONE MORE TIME whether or not we've met Travis Wall, we might just go crazy.
Here are 10 questions that dancers hate getting asked.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.