With her closely cropped hair and lanky body, Ghrai DeVore bears traces of adolescence. But when she takes the stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to perform Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, she instantly matures. Her dancing is economical but elegant. In the final movement of the piece, the women wag their fingers at their male partners; Ghrai’s hand is less frantic, but forceful. She catches your eye without undermining the impact of a unison ensemble.
Ghrai’s performance at BAM in June marked her debut as a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “I was backstage freaking out,” she says. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m a part of this tradition, and I’m about to walk out on stage and give it my all.’ ” At just 20 years old, Ghrai has already achieved major success.
Born in Washington D.C., Ghrai (pronounced “gray”) moved to NYC a couple years later with her mother, a modern dancer. There, Ghrai started dancing recreationally. At 6, she and her mother settled in Chicago, where Ghrai began her formal dance training, first studying ballet, then modern, jazz and tap at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. At 10, Ghrai attended a summer program at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in D.C., and soon after committed to pursuing a dance career. She took class every day and attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre in NYC and LINES Ballet in San Francisco.
At 15, Ghrai performed with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, where her mother was a company member, at the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference in Toronto. Sylvia Waters, artistic director of Ailey II, spotted her. “I was impressed with this young lady who performed with such confidence and style,” Waters says. She spoke with Ghrai about joining the Ailey fellowship program, but Ghrai wasn’t ready to leave Chicago.
After skipping two grades, Ghrai graduated from high school at 16 and began dancing professionally. She joined Hubbard Street 2 (the second company at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) and continued dancing with Deeply Rooted.
By 18, Ghrai felt the pull of NYC. She moved to the city and became an Ailey fellowship student. Just a few months later, when Ailey II dancer Aisha Mitchell took an open position in the main company, Ghrai slipped into her spot in the second company. During her two years with Ailey II, Ghrai lived up to Waters’ expectations. “She has an instinct for nuance, both dramatically and physically,” Waters says.
In the spring of 2010, Ghrai joined the main company. Her experiences with Ailey II prepared her for the hardships of life with a troupe that tours extensively. “I learned how to listen to my muscles,” she says, “to know when I could continue or when I needed to rest.” Though Ghrai’s already shown that she’s a savvy and refined performer, Waters believes she will continue to grow: “She has qualities yet to be discovered.”
Fave Food: “Soul food: fried chicken, collard greens, yams and macaroni and cheese.”
Dream Dance Role: Vespers, choreographed by Ulysses Dove
Secret Superhero Power: “I can read four to five books a week! I like the authors Tananarive Due and Christopher Paolini.”
Fave Day Off: “Any day off!”
Fave Dance Movie: The Turning Point
Photo of Ghrai DeVore in Judith Jamison's Divining by Eduardo Patino.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.