#FlashbackFriday with Britney, JT, Simrin Player & More
Sometimes, you have every intention of participating in #throwbackthursday, but then things get busy, deadlines pile up and the next thing you know, you're online shopping for a second pair of zebra-print workout pants...and the online holiday has passed.
Fortunately, there's always #flashbackfriday to fall back on. And just like "fetch," this is something I hope actually catches on.
So in the spirit of throwing back, flashing back and remembering all the good times, here are a few of my favorite dance videos that just never get old...
Britney Spears, "(You Drive Me) Crazy"
Baby, I was sooooo into this. It's got that somethin'...what can I do? See what I did there? Watching this brings me so much joy. The choreography was way fun and I definitely spent hours trying to learn it in my living room and in the dance studio with my friends. All I needed was that shiny green crop top and a cameo by Melissa Joan Hart. (I had the crimped hair going for me, so don't worry about that.)
'NSYNC, Live at the 2000 MTV VMAs
Before JT was JT, he was a member of the best boy band ever. And these dudes could move. The best part of this performance, in my ever-so-humble opinion, was when they danced behind the giant TV screens. Classic. Also the massive dance party at the end. I wanted to go to that dance party.
In the Heights at the 2008 Tony Awards
In the Heights is my favorite musical of all time. The show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is my idol. I saw this show on Broadway four times, and each time I cried the entire time, both out of sheer joy and out of sadness, because the second act was sad before it got happy again. Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography for this show was perfect, the cast was off-the-charts amazing and the music makes for a perfect running soundtrack. This show was perfect. (Bring it back, Broadway. Bring it back.)
Simrin Player, "My New Philosophy"
Four years ago, little Simi did a sweet musical theater solo at competition. Now, she's on the cover of our November issue. (Click here to read about Simrin and the six other rising stars we've dubbed "Hip Hop's Next Generation.")
And for something that's not-so-throwback, here's the latest from the Forever Queen of Pop, Ms. Britney Spears. She released a new music video this week, and while I personally don't think it's her best-ever work (She seems a little late on some of the choreography, right? And the baggy pants look just isn't my favorite, sorry, Brit.), I'm a big fan of dancing in the desert. Aren't we all?
Now get to work!
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.