Dancer Bios

Sarah by Jennifer Robertson Photography

Sarah Pippin is a 16-year-old high school junior who has attended CC & Co. Dance Complex for the last nine years. She trains in all forms of dance, but especially enjoys modern, contemporary and acro. In 2009 Sarah was recognized as the New York City Dance Alliance National Mini Outstanding Dancer; two years later she was named both NYCDA National Junior Outstanding Dancer and Teen Best Dancer at the Dance Awards. In addition, she was a national runner-up at JUMP Nationals in 2008, 24 Seven Nationals in 2013 and NYCDA Nationals in 2014. Sarah performed as a soloist in Come Together, the premiere performance of Shaping Sound Dance Company, in 2011, and later earned a weeklong apprenticeship with the company. In 2012, Sarah was featured in Dance Spirit’s "You Should Know" column, and in 2014 she was named one of DS’s Cover Model Search finalists. She has worked as a model for Dancewear Solutions and Weissman Dance since 2012.

Jake by Jennifer Robertson Photography

Jake Tribus, currently an apprentice with the Next Generation Ballet program at the Patel Conservatory, is a 16-year-old high school junior who danced at CC and Co. Dance Complex from 2010­­–2014. In 2010, he won a scholarship to The Broadway Bound Experience in New York City, where he trained with dancers and choreographers from Billy Elliot, The Rockettes and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2013, Jake was named New York City Dance Alliance National Teen Male Outstanding Dancer and 24 Seven National Teen Male Non-Stop Dancer. He completed the Complexions Winter Dance Intensive in 2013 and the Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive in 2014. Jake is the co-founder of Artists Giving Hope, a non-profit organization whose goal is to inspire compassion, respect, and acceptance for all, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or beliefs, through performance, education, and the support of like-minded charities.

Tori by Brooke Roberson Photography

Tori Kent is a 15-year-old high school sophomore who works every day to fulfill the highest expression of herself as a human being and an artist. Tori has studied and competed in all genres of dance for 11 years at CC & Co. Dance Complex. She loves the adrenaline rush of jazz funk, hip hop and acro, but feels prettiest in ballet class. She is known for having the "eye of the tiger" thanks to her Mom, who encourages her to stay hungry and humble. Tori has performed at venues ranging from Radio City Music Hall to Raleigh's local auditoriums, and has earned many regional titles. However, the highlight of her life was when friend and mentor Martha Nichols took her behind the scenes on Rihanna's Diamonds World Tour in Washington, D.C. Tori's goal is to attend college in Los Angeles, be a professional dancer, and forever pay it forward.

Alexa by Jennifer Robertson Photography

Alexa Blair Robertson is a 14-year-old high school freshman and a student at CC & Co. Dance Complex. She is a singer, dancer and actress, but her number-one passion is dance. In the last year alone, she has been named Pulse Protégé, JUMP VIP, 24 Seven Non-Stop Dancer, Hollywood Vibe Teen Dancer, Velocity Maximum Artist Runner Up, West Coast Dance Explosion Elite Dancer, New York City Dance Alliance Hip Hop Scholarship and Outstanding Dancer Runner Up, and NUVO Breakout Artist Runner Up. Outside of dance, Alexa has acted in the Lifetime TV movie The Anna Nicole Smith Story, in which she played the teen Anna Nicole. She has also guest starred on the TV series “Chuck,” filmed a national commercial for Sketchers Bella Ballerina shoes, and played the lead role, Tina Denmark, in the musical Ruthless! in NYC. Alexa is a cancer survivor and aspires to be a pediatric surgeon one day.

MSG Entertainment

Turkey is great and all, but the best part of Thanksgiving? It's watching some truly fantastic dancing on television, courtesy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Thursday, when your arms are sore from mashing potatoes and/or you need to escape crazy Aunt Linda, head to the living room to catch these super-dancey parade highlights:

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Taja Riley

Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers

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Watch This
via ew.com

P!nk, known for her high-flying, acrobatic awards show sets, has literally raised the bar for pop stars everywhere. For her performance at last night's American Music Awards, P!nk decided to break out some flips and tricks ON THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. WHILE FLAWLESSLY SINGING HER FACE OFF. You know, just casually, like you do when you're a full-on goddess.

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Dance News
Double leg amputee, Eric Graise dancing (via Youtube)

When you think of a dancer, a double leg amputee may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But Eric Graise, who's one of the stars of the upcoming "Step Up: High Water" YouTube Red series, hopes to change that. Graise, whose legs were amputated as a child due to missing fibula bones, will play a character named King in the new dance series, set to debut early next year.

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Dance News

Oh hey there, Hallmark Channel! The producer of all those sweet, homey movies best watched in your PJs with your mom has a super dance-y film on its holiday lineup this season: A Nutcracker Christmas. And the casting is—to use a very Hallmark-y pun—perfectly on pointe.

A Nutcracker Christmas tells the story of a talented professional dancer, Lilly, whose supportive sister dies just as Lilly is about to perform the role of Clara in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet. (Nit-picky fact-checking: In New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she's known as Marie and danced by a child, but OK.) Lilly's boyfriend and dance partner, Mark, keeps her from performing in the show, which makes Lilly declare she'll never dance again. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Lilly's niece, Sadie, is about to dance Clara in a different company's Nutcracker—a company run by, of all people, Mark. And tons of drama ensues.

Yes, it's a whole lot of plot to wrap your head around. But the real story here is that Sadie is played by none other than the phenomenal Sophia Lucia, and the ever-dashing Sascha Radetsky is also involved in the project. (Radetsky's exact role is unclear from the press material, but he seems like a pretty natural fit for Mark, no?) The odds seem good that we'll get the gift of some very high-quality dancing. Merry Christmas to us!

Sophia Lucia showing off those banana feet (via @sophialucia5678)

You can catch A Nutcracker Christmas on December 10 at 8 pm. Get your slippers and hot cocoa ready.

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Dance News
Photo by Joe Toreno

After 13 seasons, "So You Think You Can Dance" viewers probably thought they'd seen it all. From "Ramalama (Bang Bang)" to Bollywood, Travis Wall to tWitch, it seemed like there couldn't possibly be any room left on Mary Murphy's Hot Tamale Train.

Then came 19-year-old Lex Ishimoto. When Lex showed up at the show's Season 14 NYC auditions with an improv solo in lieu of a choreographed routine, the judges were shocked—and then brought to their feet by his show-stopping creativity. From there, the jaw-dropping moments kept coming. In week one of the live shows, Lex busted out a super-crisp tap (!) routine. In his Episode 12 solo, he pulled off a triple (!) tour en l'air. And in Episode 14, he and fellow finalist Taylor Sieve revealed that they'd been dating on the down-low (!!!).

To dance insiders, Lex's name isn't new: It first popped up in playbills when he joined the national tour of the musical Billy Elliot at age 11. Last year, he was featured in Sia's "The Greatest" music video, and he's toured with Travis Wall's critically acclaimed contemporary company Shaping Sound. But now, Lex is officially a household name as America's Favorite Dancer—and has a first-class ticket on that Hot Tamale Train.

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Dance News
New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (via @nycballet on Twitter)

We all suffer from Nutcracker fatigue sometimes. After a zillion performances, it's hard not to. But there's nothing to restore your little-kid sense of Nutcracker wonder like a look at the sheer scale of a world-class Nut.

New York City Ballet's iconic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens on Friday, and for the past week, the company has been Tweeting out some seriously eye-popping #NutcrackerNumbers. The stats cover everything from the number of jingle bells used on each Candy Cane costume (that'd be 144) to the watts of light used in the show's grand finale (ONE. MILLION. WATTS.).

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Dancer to Dancer

One of the most beautiful things social media has brought us is the ability to feel like we're up close and personal behind-the-scenes with all our favorite dancers. And one of our favorite stars to Insta-stalk are actually two casts of 36 scintillatingly synchronized precision dancers. I'm talking, of course, about my mild obsession with the legendary Radio City Rockettes.

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Watch This
(via @tran247fitness on Instagram)

Have we mentioned lately how much we love dance dads? Especially ones who show up to their daughter's ballet class sporting a tutu, like Thanh Tran.

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Thinkstock

You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.

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