In the earliest seasons of Lifetime's "Dance Moms," Nia Sioux Frazier was the underdog. She was constantly overlooked by a certain shall-not-be-named teacher, and had a seemingly permanent spot on the bottom of the show's infamous pyramid.
It wasn't until Nia and her mom Holly decided to pursue other creative outlets—singing! music videos! live performances!—that the 15-year-old dancer (she turns 16 next week) got the spotlight she wanted. Today, Nia's a fan favorite far beyond "Dance Moms": Last year, she made her off-Broadway debut in Trip of Love, and next month she'll take her famous death drop on the road with WilldaBeast and Janelle Ginestra as part of the team's #FOLLOWME tour. Catch Nia & co. when the tour kicks off July 28 in L.A.—and get more from her right here, right now. #slay
One of the benefits of social media is that it gives everyone a platform to showcase their work—and that's especially valuable for gifted dancers. Here are five SERIOUSLY talented dance artists, all on the cusp of superstardom, who inspire us on the daily on Instagram. If you want more positive messages, choreographic inspirations, and gorgeous photos in your Insta feed, give them a a follow.
Broadway baby Eloise Kropp is living the dream. After making her Great White Way debut in the ensemble of On the Town in 2014 and landing a leading role in 2015's Dames at Sea, she's now in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved CATS. As Jennyanydots, the cat who lounges in sunbeams all day but comes alive at night, 25-year-old Kropp brings an irrepressibly bubbly spirit to the production's only tap number. Watching her in action, there's no question that she was born to wear tap shoes. "I never imagined being a tapper on Broadway," she says, "but the timing has been so serendipitous. Tap has really made a comeback in musical theater. It makes me so happy to see other people loving it as much as I do."
Kropp's journey from student to rising star wasn't always easy. After leaving college early for an opportunity that didn't pan out, she spent a year and a half auditioning, doing regional gigs and taking on odd jobs before booking On the Town. She's learned firsthand that in the Broadway world, perseverance pays off.
A year and a half ago, then-13-year-old comp star Jaycee Wilkins was doing what she loved most: dancing nonstop. She was training full-time at her mother's studio, Club Dance, in Mesa, AZ; traveling to conventions and learning from master teachers; scoring commercial gigs, like dancing on Disney's "Shake it Up"; and winning titles, including Junior Female Best Dancer at The Dance Awards in 2015. But when pain in her hip became unbearable, she received an unsettling diagnosis that would dramatically alter her dance path.
When Robert Roldan burst onto the "So You Think You Can Dance" scene during Season 7, the world fell in love. (That "Fix You" duet with Allison Holker still gives us chills.) And we fell in love all over again when he appeared as an All-Star last season alongside mini-me JT Church. Now, 26-year-old Roldan is gracing the "SYT" stage yet again as an All-Star on Season 14, premiering Monday, June 12. "I'm so excited to be back this year, and to have another season to explore and find new memories, lessons, and emotions through dance," Roldan told DS. "And I'm excited to have another person to work with who will get to share these memories, lessons, and emotions." Here's what Roldan had to say about his go-to foods, his favorite choreographer, and his career highlights.
The Washington Post just ran a rather epic story about ballerinas' intense, inherently abusive relationships with their feet. And while a lot of it is stuff that serious dancers already know—getting up on pointe requires dancers to be as strong as football players, every dancer has her own pointe shoe break-in method, etc—the piece also includes anecdotal gems from the likes of Lauren Lovette and Julie Kent. (And some pretty photos of Washington Ballet dancers Sona Kharatian and Ashley Murphy.)
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)