I am thankful for these puppies. So thankful for these puppies...
Between the turkey, the gravy, the stuffing, the desserts and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, there's a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.
But take a moment today to think about things in the bigger picture you're thankful for, like finally nailing your triple pirouette—on pointe!—or landing your dream role in your company's production of The Nutcracker.
We have a tradition here at the Dance Spirit office: I force everyone to tell me what they're most thankful for, and it has to be dance-related. In the [dance] spirit of sharing, giving and being grateful, here's what each DS editor had to say...
"I'm thankful I get to live in NYC. Yes, it sometimes smells like garbage and there are way too many people on the sidewalks at any given time. But it's also the city of Broadway, which is my favorite thing in the whole wide world. While we're on the topic, I'm thankful I get to chat with Broadway performers every day for my job!" —Rachel Zar, managing editor
"I'm thankful for Nutcracker season—and those are words I never thought I'd say. It took me more than a decade to go from 'I never want to hear that music again' to 'Maybe I'll just play a little Waltz of the Flowers to get me through my workout.' But here I am, rooting for Team Nut. It's a magical ballet with a magical score, and I'm seeing three different productions of it this year. Thanks for bringing me—not to mention countless trinas-to-be—endless joy, Nutcracker." —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor
"I'm thankful for a job that combines my two passions: writing and dance. And I'm thankful for ballet class. Any time I get homesick, I just reach for the barre and I'm home." —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor
"I'm thankful I've been able to experience so many difference facets of the dance world—dancer, teacher, administrator and now Dance Spirit fashion editor!" —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor
My beloved Matilda kids. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Me? I'm thankful for the Newsies boys, the Annie orphans and the Matilda revolting children on Broadway. I'm thankful for my dream job and the fabulous DS team that makes each issue so great and each day so fun. I'm thankful for the In the Heights soundtrack, which powered me through mile 15 of the New York City Marathon earlier this month, and I'm thankful for all those Sunday afternoons when I discover Center Stage on TV. And, of course, I'm thankful for each of you for reading Dance Spirit and sharing your wonderful stories with me.
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.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.