Dance Spirit Presents: Isabella Torres' First NYCDA Nationals
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
June 28, 2017
Today was the last day at my studio, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA), in Baltimore, MD, before leaving for NYCDA. I took a ballet class and rehearsed a little. It's the beginning of a great experience!
June 29, 2017
I made it to NYC! After I arrived, all the Junior Outstanding Dancers picked numbers. I got #5 out of 140, and I was hoping for a higher number but I'll make it work. After that, we had an orientation meeting—we start dancing at 7:30 AM tomorrow, so it'll be an early wakeup!
In the ballroom!
Hitting the classic NYCDA pose
June 30, 2017
Today's Junior Outstanding Dancer day! I had a 4:30 AM wakeup call, and a 7:30 AM stage time. I tried my best to not let my exhaustion show, even after make-up, hair, warming up, and even more warming up!
5 more minutes!
July 1-2, 2017
Today we had our Outstanding Dancer ballet class audition and solo presentations. I danced the Kitri variation, and was super happy to be awarded 6th out of over 150 entries. After, I had time to fit in a trip to Starbucks and shopping at Capezio—an essential stop for dancers.
Prepping my look for Kitri!
Always have to stretch!
Hanging out in the Capezio store
July 3, 2017
We had our group competition today. After, I had a lot of fun at M&M World in Times Square with my MCPA family.
July 4, 2017
Class today was amazing—The Radio City Rockettes taught a class, and I took hip hop from Dana Wilson. (Catch me rocking my newly discovered skills during Dana's class, near the front!) Later in the day, we explored NYC more, and then ate some delicious pizza as we waited for the junior awards to be announced.
July 6, 2017
Today was the junior gala, which was an unforgettable experience—I even made a great new friend, Abby Trammel. Meeting and connecting with new people is a great part of Nationals. We were lucky enough to have Andy Pellick choreograph our gala routine, and it was great to have him pushing us in rehearsals all week.
As the gala performance came to a close, it was time to announce the Junior Outstanding Dancer awards. I made it into the top 12, out of 154 dancers. I was so happy, since it was my first NYCDA Nationals and I had no idea what to expect. I loved the whole experience, from spending time with my MCPA family, making and learning from mistakes, to making new friends, and learning from incredible teachers.
Abby and me before the gala!
July 7, 2017
The Teen and Senior Outstanding Dancer gala was tonight, and the talent was amazing. The cast of the Broadway hit,
Bandstand, performed, and it only got more incredible from there. We were all tired from the week, but we didn't want the adventure to end. I'm so thankful to NYCDA for supporting my love for dance. Even though a lot is about to change, with friends going to summer camp and fellow studio members heading off to college, I can't wait to see what new dance adventures next season will bring.
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."
The Olympics are always full of inspiring Cinderella stories, where athletes no one had heard of mere months ago end up blowing all expectations out of the water, and maybe even nabbing a medal in the bargain. But we've recently caught wind of a different kind of Cinderella story—and it's one we really, really hope shows up in the Closing Ceremonies of the PyeongChang Olympics, airing tonight on NBC starting at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific time.
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.
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.
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.