Dance News

Destiny Rising, or Why College Is Awesome

Here at DS, there's nothing we like better than a good gala. Actually, scratch that: There's nothing we like better than a good gala for an especially great cause.

The New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted its fourth annual Destiny Rising show last night to benefit the organization's pretty incredible college scholarship program. We would've watched paint dry if we knew it'd help NYCDA's super-talented kids achieve their college dreams. But we were treated to a world-class show instead—hosted by Complexions co-founder and fabulous dancer-about-town Desmond Richardson, no less.

Here's the great thing about the Destiny Rising gala: Every year, it features performances not only by professional companies filled with college graduates, but also by college dance groups. Over the course of the evening, the show offers dance students different visions of their futures—and all of them involve higher ed.

Last night was no exception. Are you dreaming of joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? Southern Methodist University graduate Jamal White, now a member of  Ailey II, blazed through a powerful solo choreographed by Ailey II director Troy Powell. Hoping to keep performing innovative contemporary works in college? The Dean College Dancers showed that's definitely possible in Strange Invisible Perfume, a tribal-style showcase for its versatile performers. Obsessed with the ingenious dance-gymnastics blend of groups like Pilobolus Dance Theater? Alison Chase/Performance—led by Chase, a former Pilobolus director, and made up of very well-educated dancers—displayed superhuman feats of strength in Chase's Tsu-Ku-Tsu. Hoping to keep up your serious ballet training while you get a degree? The women of Mercyhurst University Ballet Theatre, who are doing just that, showed off strong pointe work in Terra Firma.

Long story short? Thanks to organizations like NYCDA Foundation, more and more talented dancers are choosing to go to college. And last night proved that that decision pretty much always pays off.

Tavaris Jones dancing with the Cleveland Cavaliers' Scream Team hip-hop crew

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.

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Leap! National Dance Competition offers dancers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their talents in an event where the focus is on fun and competing is just a bonus!

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Dancer to Dancer

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!

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Dancer to Dancer
The School at Jacob's Pillow's contemporary program auditions (photo by Karli Cadel, courtesy Jacob's Pillow)

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.

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Photo by Joe Toreno

The coolest place she's ever performed:

I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!


Something she's constantly working on:

My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'


Signature look:

My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.


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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!

Serafina

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*suddenly feels the overpowering urge to purchase a million bottles of Pocari Sweat*

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Dance News
Mandy Moore (photo by Lee Cherry, courtesy Bloc Agency)

In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.

Read more at dancemagzine.com!

Dancer to Dancer
Martha Graham Dance Company member, Marzia Memoli (photo by Sean Martin, courtesy Martin)

Marzia Memoli may be the Martha Graham Dance Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Memoli started studying at age 16 at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Later, she attended the Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, Switzerland, before heading to NYC in 2016 to join MGDC. This month, she'll perform The Rite of Spring in the Martha Graham Studio Series in NYC, and tour with the company in Florida. Read on for the dirt.

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#TeamTatum really knows how to build the suspense.

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