Dishing with Elf the Musical's Callie Carter
If you've been dying to answer the phone with, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" all year, we've got a show for you! Elf, the Broadway musical, has returned to the Great White Way just in time for the holidays. Based on the hilarious Will Ferrell flick, Elf promises lots of laughs, holiday cheer and great dancing. We caught up with associate choreographer, dance captain and swing Callie Carter to learn a little more about being in Broadway's most joyful show of the year.
Dance Spirit: What's the dancing like in the show?
Callie Carter: There's quite a bit of dancing in Elf. "Sparkle Jolly" is a full-impact dance number that make me feels like I'm being shot out of a cannon! But my favorite piece in the show is "Just Like Him." It's a jazzy number where I get to let my hair down and have a lot of fun.
DS: Tell us about your role as associate choreographer.
CC: I got to help director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw put the show together. I would take the choreography Casey created and put it on the cast—cleaning it and making it flow. It was a lot of work, but it was really fulfilling to be part of the creative process.
DS: How do you keep your stamina up when performing multiple shows a week?
CC: I try to take yoga and Pilates classes every week. I'm very injury-prone, so I have to be conscious about staying strong and keeping myself fit. When I was on tour I would go to the gym a lot, but now that I'm in the city, there are more classes to choose from. I also frequent Body By Simone for killer cardio classes.
DS: Talk about being a swing in the show.
CC: Being a swing means I have to know all the tracks in the female ensemble and be ready to go on at any given moment for any one of them. It's a lot of work, and it's really scary going on for the first time in a new "track." But the great thing about it is that once you're finished with a show, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment because you got through it!
DS: What's your advice for DS readers who want to be on Broadway?
CC: Take voice lessons! So many dancers forget that when they come to NYC they're going to have to sing. If you can sing and dance, you're already way ahead of the pack. There's so much competition here and having an edge is really helpful. Sing all the time, and get used to singing in front of people.
Catch Carter in Elf through January 6 at the Hirschfeld Theater. Click here for tickets.
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?
Instagram star Kylie Shea has built a following of nearly 170,000 with her playful workout videos, which combine traditional fitness activities, like jumping rope or running on the treadmill, with pointe shoes and sassy choreography. Shea's effortless cool-girl-next-door vibe and solid ballet technique make her vids totally irresistible.
Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.
Physical discomfort is inevitable when you're spending tons of hours in the studio every day, but some pain shouldn't be suffered through. "Dancing through pain can make an injury worse and lead to more time away from dance," says Dr. Joel Brenner, medical director of dance medicine at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA. "Failing to rest and recover when you're in serious pain could even lead to the point where you're unable to dance in the future."
That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.
Think about it: How often do you see a ballet pas de deux for two women? Almost never, right? Sometimes, choreographers will forgo the traditional danseur-ballerina pas to make a duet for two guys, since they can lift and partner each other easily. But a dance for two ballerinas is a rare thing.
That's part of what makes "Duet," a new video by director Andrew Margetson featuring Royal Ballet beauties Yasmin Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so compelling.