"DWTS" Week 5 Recap: A Little Disney Magic
Yo current "Dancing with the Stars" competitors, we're really happy for you, and we're gonna let you finish, but last night Alfonso Ribeiro and J.T. Church had one of the best "DWTS" opening numbers of ALL TIME.
Seriously: If those two had a spinoff show in which they did nothing but dance their way through magical Disney fairylands, we would totally watch that. (And shoutout to J.T.'s equally adorable partner in crime, Gracyn French.) Thank you, Mandy Moore, for conjuring up this glitter-dusted Disney Night goodness:
On to the actual competition! In a surprise to pretty much nobody, rising favorite Normani Kordei continued her leaderboard domination, thanks to her ferociously fierce paso doblé with Val Chmerkovskiy to Mulan's "I'll Make a Man Out of You." For good measure, the duo was accompanied by Donny Osmond in his very sparkliest blazer, because why not.
Also unsurprising: The consistently excellent Simone Biles earned the second-highest score of the night for her contemporary number to "How Far I'll Go" from Moana. Strong and energetic as her performance was, though, we have to admit that we spent about 30 percent of it dying over singer Auli'i Cravalho, who's straight-up incredible.
While many of the other competitors gave fair-to-decent performances (we were especially into Heather Morris and Alan Bersten's sweet Frozen number), we'd like to use this space to discuss one of the stranger things we've ever seen on television: Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd as Not Sexy Pinocchio and Very Sexy Jiminy Cricket, respectively. Somehow it almost...worked? Never underestimate the power of a good pair of lederhosen, friends.
After the parade of Disney delights, Real Housewife Erika Jayne and partner Gleb Savchenko were sent packing—about right, but also a bit of a bummer after their strong Finding Dory-themed waltz. (Any Finding Dory performance that does NOT involve giant fish costumes is a win.) We cheered up quickly, though, when we heard that next week's theme will be Boy Band vs. Girl Group. 'Til then!
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
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!
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.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.