"Dance Moms: How Do You Like Them Apples?" Recap
Let me be the first to say that going two weeks without any new Abby Lee Dance Company footage was rough! I missed these little girls; Their moms, not so much. And this episode brought us back to all the things we love—the moms enjoyed some cocktails, the Candy Apples returned and Maddie got to the top of the pyramid (twice!). Here are my top 5 moments from last night's show:
5. Kendall is so precious, and such a hard worker. And I loved seeing her smiling face after a less-than-excellent award ceremony. But that girl was just taking abuse from all sides last night: Abby Lee's one goal was to beat her, her teacher Cathy had pretty much given up on her, her music was skipping all over the place, and then even her mom seemed angry with her performance! Keep your head up, Kendall—I'm rooting for you!
4. Paige's solo smack down. Ok, while I really can't stand her mom, I love Paige and was so happy to see that she finally got the chance to shine with a solo (as long as she perfected it on her own time with no help from any teachers). Let the mayhem ensue. Her mom went ahead and re-choreographed the whole thing to make it more challenging, and, surprisingly, it worked! Paige placed 7th (only one spot below Chloe), blowing competition Kendall out of the water, and she proved to Abby Lee that she's outgrown her safe, boring choreography. Time to step it up, Abby Lee.
3. Vivi as human prop. Even professional choreographers don't know what to do with this child; the dancers awkwardly carrying her (the "Asian Princess") around the stage was hard to watch. We get that you're using her to bring the age of your piece down, Cathy. Problem is, when she's 15, and still hasn't learned to pick up choreography, poor girl is going to run into some serious problems.
2. Abby Lee brings in some ringers. There's nothing that usually distracts me more than when 18-year-olds dance with 6-year-olds (see number 3), but Abby Lee really pulled it off with class. The choreography was beautiful, and all of the girls really held their own in this week's group number. And, since she hasn't been mentioned yet, let me take a moment to praise little Mackenzie for killing that tricky choreography alongside senior dancers! Take that, Vivi.
1. I was definitely expecting some serious yelling (and perhaps some chair-throwing) when Abby Lee came back to the dressing room after awards. Instead, she gave us the most awesome victory dance ever! Though it was only about 4 seconds long, I may have re-watched it a couple of times.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
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.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
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.
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.