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:
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
Bunheads, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and we fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what?
You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
Let's face it—spare time is pretty tough to come by when you're a dancer. You're either rushing to get ready for rehearsal, rushing to rehearsal, a combo of the two, or in rehearsal (or performing, or in class, or at an audition...you get the picture). Well here at DS, we understand the struggle is REAL, which is why we've rounded up our favorite foolproof makeup hacks, approved by resident #LazyGirl when it comes to makeup (spoiler alert: it's me). On to the hacks!
Kalea (pronounced kah-LAY-uh) Hidalgo knows how to move. Her decisive, dynamic dancing commands the stage: She gobbles up space so confidently it's hard to believe you're watching a mere tween. Unsurprisingly, that presence and power have started turning heads in a serious way. Not only did Talia Favia choreograph one of her solos in 2017, but Kalea also recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency in L.A. and, last summer, placed first overall in the junior contemporary solo category at Radix Nationals.
"When you're out on the dance floor, don't ask for permission—ask for forgiveness."—Kalea Hidalgo
Taylor Swift is #blessed in many ways: She's got a great voice, insane song writing skills, and, to quote her new hit single, she's "Gorgeous." She is not, however, blessed in the dance department. But that doesn't stop her from busting out the occasional dance move. In fact, Swift likes to playfully show off her less-than-stellar dancing, be it in her music videos (hello, "Shake It Off") or at music award shows. So we weren't surprised when during the latest episode of her "Making of a Song" series for AT&T, she unveiled a new endearingly awkward maneuver, which she's dubbed the "dolphin body roll"—and it practically had friend and producer Jack Antonoff rolling on the floor!🤣
You rehearse your group routine to perfection, but when the big performance rolls around, everyone turns into speed demons. It's the runaway-train effect—and it only takes one loud tapper, or zippy turner, to throw the whole group off the music.
While nerves and excitement are partly to blame, the ability to keep to tempo begins in the studio. A well-developed sense of musicality is your best defense against the dreaded speed trap. "When you understand how the steps fit with the music, going too fast won't just feel like rushing," says Jeremy Arnold, lecturer of tap at the University of Texas at Austin. "It'll feel wrong." How can dancers develop that musicality? It all starts with learning to listen.