Dance News

Hang Out With Mikhail Baryshnikov & Liza Minnelli!

Every now and then, one of my non-dance friends will see a picture (or, better yet here in NYC: a real-life sighting) of Mikhail Baryshnikov, and she'll say, "It's the guy from Sex and the City!"

I mean yeah, OK. But also, it's Mikhail Baryshnikov! Only one of the greatest dancers of all-time. He did play a coolly seductive Aleksandr Petrovsky, though.

Whether people recognize him as Carrie Bradshaw's Paris-bound love on TV or they realize he's one of the dance world's major heavy-hitters, Baryshnikov is a legend worth knowing. I'll never forget the first time I saw him in person at a New York City Ballet gala. It was the first time I was ever starstruck and I just stood there staring at him, secretly hoping he'd burst into spontaneous choreography in the middle of the David Koch Theater lobby.

Now, you can get your own glimpse at stardom on Wednesday, September 5: I know exactly where Mikhail Baryshnikov will be that night—and where you should be, too.

Next Wednesday, the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation will feature two dance dynamos at its annual "Bright Lights Shining Stars" gala. Mikhail Baryshnikov is the night's guest of honor, and he'll be presented with the NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts Award. Handing over the trophy? Baryshnikov's longtime friend Liza Minnelli!

The lineup for the rest of the night is star-studded and spectacular, including guest performances by American Ballet Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, New York City Ballet and more.

Like I said, I'll be there. Mikhail Baryshnikov will be there. Liza will be there. And you should make your way there, too.

Click here to snag a 25% off discount on your ticket. The show starts at 7:30 pm at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in NYC.

Hope to see you there!

Dancer to Dancer

Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.

But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.

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Win It
Courtesy CAA

You read that right, people—Dance Spirit's giving away two tickets to the "SYTYCD" tour in the city of your choice, complete with an exclusive meet & greet with select cast members! Read on for the complete prize listing and official rules.

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When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.

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(From left) Nia Sioux, Kendall Vertes, Chloe Lukasiak, and Kalani Hilliker (via @chloelukasiak)

Hey, "Dance Moms" die-hards: Are you obsessed with The Irreplaceables? Well, four members of the elite team—Kalani Hilliker, Chloe Lukasiak, Nia Sioux, and Kendall Vertes—are coming soon to a city near you.

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Tiler Peck and Chase Finlay in Swan Lake (photo by Paul Kolnik)

For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.

Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.

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The Look

Low on dancewear inspiration? Return to the classics in bold black and elegant white.

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Dancer to Dancer

Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!

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Dance News

Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.

If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.

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