Clifton Brown. Photo by Andrew Eccles.
For 12 years, Clifton Brown has been one of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s leading men and a fan favorite. Quietly authoritative onstage, he balances explosive power with serene, noble poise. Raised in Goodyear, AZ, Brown first encountered dance at age 4, when his grandmother put him in acrobatics, jazz and tap classes at a local studio to improve his coordination. By high school he was serious about modern and ballet, and after graduation he enrolled in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in NYC. (He was a member of the program’s first class!) A year later he was invited to join AAADT, and in the decade-plus since then he’s charmed audiences and critics all over the world. Catch Brown performing as a guest artist with AAADT this month at New York City Center. —Margaret Fuhrer
Your love of dance is a beautiful thing. Don’t ever lose it. You’ll have great experiences traveling the world and touching many people’s lives—seriously! Please don’t take it for granted.
Trust yourself when you dance. Every endeavor will give you valuable information for the future, whether the outcome is better or worse than you anticipated. The only way to truly fail is to not try. Don’t overthink it.
You will receive a lot of information. Listen intently to it all, even if it seems confusing or overwhelming. Hold on to what you know is meaningful in dance. Keep appreciating the beauty, the grit, the subtle gestures, the leaps across the entire stage, the stillness...and everything in between. It will ultimately keep you sane.
Remember that performing is a balancing act: You must reach to convey ideas that may be outside of your life experience, and also dig to express the feelings inside you. Being an artist means pushing your boundaries, but you don’t need to be all things to all people. You are enough, exactly as you are. Don’t try to be anyone or anything else.
Embrace your whole experience, from the standing ovations to the worst reviews. Know that as long as you sincerely share yourself and your gift, it’s all worth it.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.
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!
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!
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.