Flying High at the Oscars
Dance Spirit: What was it like to perform in front of so many celebrities?
Bruce Weber: We actually knew beforehand who was going to be sitting where, because there were pictures of all the actors and actresses on the chairs. During the show we weren’t thinking about them because everything goes so fast, but afterwards we looked out and there were all of these talented and famous people standing and clapping for us. It was completely overwhelming and amazing.
DS: Wow! Did you get to meet any of them?
BW: Billy Crystal gave us a hello and a wave, and at one point I was really close to Gwyneth Paltrow! It was hard to talk to them because of the tight security, but everyone backstage was really nice.
DS: You usually perform Iris at the Kodak Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held. How was this different from any other show?
BW: The Kodak Theatre is our home, and usually we have dressing rooms. For the Oscars we were kicked out of them. The only place we had was the dance studio.
DS: In the show, are there separate dancers and acrobats, or does each person do a little bit of both?
BW: For both Iris and the Oscar performance, there is a group for each specialty--dancers and acrobats. Occasionally, there is a crossover if a performer is able to do both. For instance, two of the dancers in the Oscar performance are "hand to hand" acrobats in Iris. As the dance captain I primarily deal with the dancers, but I'm responsible for some of the choreography in the acrobatics sections, too.
BW: Being a dance captain means that I manage all of the dancers, try to keep the integrity of the choreographers' movement, work closely with the creators and keep everyone in check!
DS: As a dancer, what was your favorite part of the Oscar routine?
BW: I love the long finale--it’s high-energy and full of acrobatic tricks. Plus, I love fast, crazy choreography! But the most memorable part was sitting in the chairs onstage and looking out at the audience.
DS: Do you have any advice for readers that are interested in joining Cirque du Soleil?
BW: Make yourself known. There are so many dancers that want to be a part of this company, so you need to keep in touch with casting, update your file periodically and persistently let the Cirque agents know that you're available and interested. Also, you need to be as well-rounded as possible. Take as many different classes as you can. The more styles you're proficient in, the more valuable you are.
Click here to watch the cast of Iris perform at the Academy Awards.
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.