The Dance We're Grateful for This Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving, dance friends! Are you about to be stuffing yourself with turkey, or in the process of stuffing yourself with turkey, or already stuffed with turkey? We hope so. Because that's what Thanksgiving is all about. (Also, Pilgrims.)
But seriously: The world needs a little cheering up right now, and that's why we're glad to have this minute to think about all that dancers have to be thankful for this year. Because there's a LOT. Let's not forget that 2016 gave us the #MannequinChallenge, and Laurie Hernandez's floor routine, and the NYC Dance Project book, and the #PantsuitPower flashmob, and Jenna Dewan Tatum for Danskin, and the Cats revival, and Ashley Bouder's "fouetté-ing while pregnant" videos, and Center Stage: On Pointe, and SO MUCH MISTY COPELAND.
Feeling better already? Me too.
Let's keep the happy feels going: Here at Dance Spirit, we have a Turkey Day tradition in which I force the other editors to tell me what dance-y things they're thankful for. And because they are the best, their responses make me all 😊😊😊. Without further ado:
Courtney Bowers, managing editor: "I'm thankful that I got to watch all those littles kill it all season on 'SYTYCD.' And for the heartwarming feels the relationships they had with their All-Star mentors gave me. And for the awesome pieces that I'll continue to obsess about through next year."
Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, assistant editor: "I'm grateful for all the choreography that goes unseen and unrecorded, but exists nonetheless; for ReQuest Crew in the 'Sorry' music video, which makes me feel giddy with excitement every time I watch it; for Beyoncé's dancers, who should be worshiped like demi-goddesses; for Crystal Pite's The Statement, which is literally breathtaking; and for the dancers who, in a sometimes scary world, keep showing up and trying to make a difference."
Olivia Manno, assistant editor: "Last year, I was thankful for James Whiteside's calves, and that still stands. In fact, I think I'm more thankful for them this year. But I'm also thankful for Crystal Pite for being a boss-lady and making some incredible work, like The Statement and The Season's Canon; for all the sequined dresses on 'DWTS'; and for Amar Ramasar (no reason—just for existing)."
Helen Rolfe, fashion editor: "This year, I'm dancing with gratitude because: there's so much amazing dance on Broadway right now (oh hey, On Your Feet! and Cats); Cloud & Victory's HILARIOUS Instagram gives me life; and—last but definitely not least—I get to play with the prettiest dancewear and costumes all day. In other words, I'm super grateful to be DS's new fashion editor!"
Enjoy your Thanksgiving feasts! And also this gif, which I am thankful for every minute of every T-day every year:
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.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
There are zillions of things to think about when choosing a summer program, but here's one you might not have considered: using an intensive as an opportunity to focus on a new style. Maybe you're a tap dancer who's ready to see where else your rhythm and quick feet can serve you, or a contemporary dancer curious about the more traditional roots of your genre. A summer program can be the perfect place to broaden your horizons, giving you the opportunity to make technical and artistic changes that stick throughout the year.
Happy birthday, George Balanchine! The great choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet would have been 114 years old today. Balanchine revolutionized ballet, especially American ballet—and he also had quite a way with words. To celebrate Mr. B's birthday, we rounded up some of our favorite iconic Balanchine quotes.
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.