Dance Spirit's Best Onstage Bloopers
One year while I was at Nationals with my competition team, we were thrilled that our large group tap routine received a high enough score to gain us entry into Headliners' coveted Platinum Circle Championship. Awesome, right? So we're all excited, ready to go onstage a second time in hopes of taking home the event's top prize. But maybe I was a bit too excited, because while I was front and center, I propelled myself into a toe-stand turn—one I had done a million times both in rehearsal and onstage—and BOOM! Totally bit it. I mean, I wiped out. I lost my footing, face planted, shook it off and stood back up and kept going. Yikes!
Now, I know I'm not the only one with an embarrassing onstage blooper story to share. To feel a bit better about myself, I got the rest of the DS staff to sound off on their most awful onstage moments. And I'm nice, so I'm not telling you the names behind the stories—you'll have to just take your best guess!
And remember, whether you face-plant or lose your top, everyone has these moments. Sure they're awkward, but eventually you'll learn to love sharing your story and getting a laugh. Plus, little setbacks will only make you a stronger performer. So stay confident and read on...
"When I was 14, I was cast as one of the Merlitons (aka Marzipan or Marzipan Shepherdesses) in The Nutcracker for the first time. It was one of my first "grown-up" soloist parts, and I couldn't have been more excited. One of the best perks? The gorgeous tutu, with clear straps that made the bodice appear to be elegantly strapless. On opening night, I threw myself into the divertissement's first arabesque—and heard a loud "pop" as one of those straps snapped right off, leaving the left side of my (non-existent) chest totally exposed. I was in such a state of shock that, rather than exit the stage gracefully, I continued to dance the variation with my elbow pinned to my side, trying desperately to keep myself covered. What a nightmare!"
"When I was 14 I spent a few weeks studying at a Joffrey workshop in Michigan. I was cast in a modern piece for the workshop's final performance and was really excited to be dancing at the front of the ensemble. We rehearsed on stage and one day, when the choreographer was working with the soloists, I was goofing around in the wings: I was holding on to my left foot (and legwarmer) with my right hand, and jumping through with my right foot. I completed this trick successfully a couple of times and then, disaster struck. My right foot got caught on my legwarmer and, without my hands out to catch me (still holding my foot), fell flat on my face and right knee. There was a loud thump and as I popped up, the choreographer looked at me and said, "Did you just fall over?" "No," I said and then ran to the bathroom, where I saw my lip puffing up and my knee ballooning. I had to tell the choreographer I was injured and was moved to the back of the pack because I couldn't perform the moves full out. To this day, I still have a numb spot on my right knee. Serves me right for messing around!"
"During our Spring concert my sophomore year of college, I had quite the mishap. The third number in the show was a high energy pom routine, and admittedly, I am that dancer—the one who is always over-the-top and full-out. So by the time we got to the end of the routine—'step five, giant battement six, down seven, pose eight'—I was killing it. Unfortunately, I gave that count six battement a little too much force and the next thing I knew...CRACK! went my nose—and it was definitely broken. BUT, I still had nine more numbers to perform and was heading to Nationals in two weeks. Surgery, they told me? That would have to wait! So, after we returned from Daytona Beach (with a massive championship trophy), I had my first (and hopefully last!) septorhinoplasty."
"Janet Jackson may have coined the phrase "wardrobe malfunction," but she certainly wasn't the first to experience one. When I was 16, my boob popped out on stage. It has been nearly 10 years since this happened, but I can still feel my face growing red whenever the incident comes to mind. I can't recall which song we danced to, but I have a vivid memory of the skimpy white dress with the thin halter straps that we wore. I was a C cup in high school, so going braless like most of my fellow dancers would have been obscene. Instead, I pinned a strapless bra into my costume, pulling it down in places to accommodate the low back. I was nervous as I stepped on stage for our dress rehearsal, but I figured that I was just being dramatic. I wasn't. About halfway through the dance, I launched into a right tilt and as soon as I extended my arms to the side, my entire left boob slipped out the side of my costume! Horrified, I quickly yanked my costume back into place and kept dancing. We were one of the last few groups onstage that night, and the auditorium was mostly empty, so I was hoping that I had covered up quickly enough that nobody noticed. However, years later, at a barbecue, I ran into a boy who used to dance at my studio. We were catching up on old times, when he suddenly brought up "the incident." It turns out that he was sitting in the front row on that fateful evening, and he had noticed. So embarrassing!"
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night: