Dance News

Catapult Entertainment Lives in the Shadows

Here's the thing about competition shows: It seems like runners-up often go on to do just as well, if not better, than the winners. Take "So You Think You Can Dance" for example: tWitch, Travis Wall, Kathryn McCormick, Mark Kanemura...none of them were crowned "America's Favorite Dancer." But let's be real—America's obsessed with them, and they've been hugely successful.

Catapult and YMCA teamed up to teach kids valuable life lessons

Turns out, "America's Got Talent" is no different. After competing on the show last season, Connecticut-based dance troupe Catapult Entertainment has experienced a huge surge in popularity and demand, both in the U.S. and internationally. (In other words, "AGT" really catapulted their careers...amiright??)

Founded in 2008 by dancer-choreographer Adam Battelstein, Catapult specializes in shadow dancing, which is exactly what it sounds like: a super, mega, deluxe version of shadow theater. One of the coolest things about the company is that it's made up of freelance dancers from all different backgrounds (which, as Battelstein points out, makes scheduling rehearsals tricky!). Regardless of their backgrounds, what these dancers can do with their bodies is pretty incredible.

Another unique thing about this company? Notice how it's called Catapult Entertainment? That's because it started out as a corporate entertainment company. Various companies—such as Girl Scouts USA, IBM and Project Hope—have hired Catapult to perform custom presentations. They use their bodies to communicate their clients' messages. This spring, for example, they worked with YMCA to teach kids valuable lessons, like supporting your neighbor and leading a healthy lifestyle.

But now that they've got the national recognition (and a growing international fan base—the troupe just finished a tour in Germany), they should able to branch out from the corporate sphere and communicate some messages of their own. It'll be interesting to see! Look out for announcements on Catapult's U.S. tour, then check out this video, where Battelstein shares some of the secrets and thought processes behind their work:

Amanda LaCount showing off her skills (screenshot via YouTube)

There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.

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Leap! National Dance Competition offers dancers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their talents in an event where the focus is on fun and competing is just a bonus!

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Dancer to Dancer

Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!

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The School at Jacob's Pillow's contemporary program auditions (photo by Karli Cadel, courtesy Jacob's Pillow)

Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.

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Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB

Mark your calendars, bunheads! On Monday, January 29th, at 2:45 PM (EST)/11:45 AM (PST), Pacific Northwest Ballet will be streaming a live rehearsal of Act II of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake.

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Tavaris Jones dancing with the Cleveland Cavaliers' Scream Team hip-hop crew

We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)

So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Joe Toreno

The coolest place she's ever performed:

I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!


Something she's constantly working on:

My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'


Signature look:

My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.


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Dancer to Dancer
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 dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!

Serafina

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Screenshot via YouTube

*suddenly feels the overpowering urge to purchase a million bottles of Pocari Sweat*

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Dance News
Mandy Moore (photo by Lee Cherry, courtesy Bloc Agency)

In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.

Read more at dancemagzine.com!

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