"Bright Lights Shining Stars" Gala's Brightest Moments
Not only do our friends at New York City Dance Alliance know how to have competitions and conventions, but they know how to have a top-notch celebration, too. Last night's 2015 "Bright Lights Shining Stars" gala was the perfect example of everything we love about NYCDA.
Debbie Allen making us feel all the feels. What a career and what a performer (photo Eduardo Patino, courtesy NYCDA)
Debbie Allen was the recipient of this year's NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts Award, and NYCDA's scholarship recipients (as well as a whole slew of insanely awesome guest performers) paid tribute to Allen's incredible career through song, dance and the sweetest speeches. It was a night filled with love, dance and so much goodness. Watching all the deserving young dancers receive their scholarships is heart-warming, to say the least, and really shows what NYCDA is all about. Below are some of DS's highlights:
Chloe Arnold's Syncopated Ladies wowed us with their high-energy opening number set to some of our fav Beyoncé tracks.
Kolton Krouse performed a solo that was both technically stunning and artistically captivating. He was then presented with the Adele Astaire College Scholarship, by New York City Ballet principal and An American in Paris star, Robert Fairchild. Pretty much the definition of a win-win, we'd say.
Kolton Krouse's stellar solo (photo Eduardo Patino, courtesy NYCDA)
A super special moment was when Allen's daughter, Vivian Nixon, surprised her mom by appearing onstage as Anita from West Side Story, a role Allen was known for absolutely rocking back in the day. You could practically feel the mother-daughter pride and love.
Allen's daughter, Vivian Nixon, channeling her mom and being all kinds of fabulous (photo Eduardo Patino, courtesy NYCDA)
And to close the show, the always-impressive girls from Westchester Dance Academy (a couple of whom you'll see modeling in our upcoming November issue—hey girls!) owned the stage for a beautifully choreographed (and danced) routine to Avicii's "Long Road Home."
WDA girls absolutely #owning it (photo Eduardo Patino, courtesy NYCDA)
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."
"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.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
American Ballet Theatre principal Sarah Lane charms audiences with her bright energy and crisp technique. The San Francisco, CA, native first started dancing at age 4 at a local community center, and at age 7 started training in Memphis, TN, at the Classical Ballet Memphis. Her family later moved to Rochester, NY, where she continued studying at the Draper Center for Dance Education. In 2002, she was a YoungArts Foundation winner in dance, allowing her to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2003, was made a soloist in 2007, and was promoted to principal last fall. Recently, she originated the role of Princess Praline in Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. Catch her later this spring during ABT's Metropolitan Opera season. —Courtney Bowers
You and I both know that dancing is the best thing since chocolate chip cookies! But its always nice when dance gets the recognition it deserves from non–dance-world peeps. That's why we did our own happy dance when we saw Shape magazine's article on how dancing can actually make you a better athlete.
When Ruby Castro became a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, she was a fresh, feisty new face to most at-home viewers. But in the dance world—particularly on the ballroom circuit—Ruby was already a household name. Miami-based Ruby grew up as a belle of the ballroom: Her parents, Manny and Lory Castro, are veritable superstars of the scene. They're the owners of Dance Town, an ultra-competitive studio in Doral, FL, and raised Ruby to follow in their furiously fast footsteps. Before she graced the "SYT" stage, Ruby had already been named a U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom, and competed on "America's Got Talent"—twice!
So, we know she's talented, we know she's versatile, we know she's stunning, and we know she can dance. But here's what you may not know about Ruby.
You know that thing when you're onstage at a competition and you catch your teacher unconsciously marking through every step of the choreography in the wings, just willing you and the rest of the group to dance perfectly?
Yeah—that happens in ice dancing, too. Case in point: the scene at the Olympic rink yesterday, as Canadian ice-dancing legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated their way to their third Olympic gold.
Obviously, their performance was all kinds of epic. But the off-ice "performance" given by their coach, Marie-France Dubreuil, was EVERYTHING.
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
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 for a chance to be featured!
I want to dance in a ballet company, but I'm insecure about my body. I'm not skinny, and I don't think I ever will be, because that's just not the way I'm built. Please be honest with me: If I don't have the traditional ballet body, do I have a future in professional ballet?