Glee Live with The LXD at Radio City!
What's the best way to spend Memorial Day weekend? At Radio City Musical Hall, of course! This Sunday, DS editor in chief Kate Lydon and I were super lucky because we got tickets to the Glee Live! tour here in NYC. A huge shout out (and giant THANK YOU) to Heather Morris, our May/June cover girl, who hooked us up with incredible seats (and backstage passes!).
The day got off to a great start when I was waiting outside Radio City and bumped into Jon Chu, creator of The LXD (The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) and the director of Step Up 3D. He was rocking an LXD T-shirt and hat (Note to self: Purchase immediately) and I let him know that we're all so excited about The LXD's success. The group's web series premieres soon, so stayed tuned to thelxd.com for more info, and click here to read all about The LXD in Dance Spirit.
Once we got inside the theater, the energy was electric (no surprise there—the show sold out in a matter of minutes and everyone was crazy excited to be there). We took our seats—about 12 rows back from the stage, not bad!—and soon thereafter The LXD took the stage. Everything about the performance was phenomenal. I loved that they utilized the giant video screens on both sides of the stage by showing pre-taped dance footage that complemented what was happening onstage.
Crowd favorites Madd Chadd and Harry Shum Jr. (who plays Mike Chang, AKA "Other Asian" on "Glee") were equally impressive in their solos. Madd Chadd with his incredible popping and locking (Seriously, HOW does he do that?) and Harry with his quirky routine to a mashup of songs including Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." He's got stellar stage presence, to say the least. The audience ate him right up. The LXD wrapped up the opening act with the beautiful piece previously seen on "So You Think You Can Dance." Dancing to Vitamin String Quartet's rendition of "Yellow," the dancers perform a medley of tricks, flips and hip-hop based moves fluidly and smoothly. It truly is dancing at its best. I was sad to see the opening act end (I gave them a standing ovation, naturally) but SO excited to get my Glee on!
After a painfully long intermission, it was time for New Directions to take the stage. Adorable Cheerios mingled in the audience before the show began. We spotted Courtney Galiano and Janette Manrara of "SYTYCD" fame decked out in the cheerleader uniforms and posing for pictures with adoring fans.
The show opened with "Don't Stop Believin'" and included all the best tunes from Season 1 of "Glee," from the crowd-pleasing uppity jams ("Somebody to Love" and "My Life Would Suck Without You") to the emotional medleys ("Defying Gravity") to the outrageous ("Bad Romance"). But amidst all of the amazing singing from the ridiculously talented cast, there was one star: Heather Morris. Seriously, the girl WORKED IT from start to finish. She danced in nearly every number (Also of note: the show included the most rapid-fire quick changes I've ever witnessed) and was front and center the entire time. During "Bust Your Windows" I was dying to put on my own dance shoes and get up there with her! She's the total package and we're so excited to have her on the cover of DS this month. And did I mention that, in addition to being funny, pretty, smart and talented, she's also really really nice?
Heather hooked us up with backstage passes for after the show. As a self-proclaimed Gleek, I was psyched to get to see Heather again and to meet the rest of the cast. I told Harry Shum that he's my favorite character on the show, touched Mark Salling's mohawk and stood all the way up on my tippy toes to pose for a picture with Cory Monteith. The show starts filming Season 2 in July, so get excited for even more "Glee!"
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.
Happy #WorldEmojiDay, dance friends! 🎉 👯 🎉 👯
Because it's just the cutest, we thought we'd share the emoji challenge the Royal Opera House is currently hosting on Twitter. They've retold a series of ballets (and operas, for that crowd) in emoji form. If you correctly guess the name of a ballet, you'll be entered for a chance to win two tickets to a ROH production.