Head of the Class
Photo by Paolo Galli. November 2010: KAB participates in an outreach program that shares dance with public school students in the area.
Megan Amanda Ehrlich spent much of her childhood bouncing from city to city because of her father’s job with the military. But one thing remained consistent: her commitment to ballet. By age 6, she had decided to pursue a professional career. At the time, she was training in the Vaganova method with Boris Chepelev and Janna Kirova in Florida. A year later, when her family moved to Washington, D.C., Megan Amanda auditioned for the Kirov Academy of Ballet, but was told to come back in a few years. She returned the following year—and was accepted on full scholarship. She spent two years at the prestigious academy before being uprooted again, and then returned to KAB as a high school sophomore. An airy dancer with to-die-for feet and easy technique, Megan Amanda graduated this past spring. Here, she shares moments from her senior year, documented by photographer Paolo Galli. —Katie Rolnick
Photo by Paolo Galli. Here, Megan Amanda and her friend Isaac Aoki, also at KAB, rehearse for the performance.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and other KAB students rehearse a demonstration for public school students.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and Isaac sneak in a game of cards before class.
Photo By Paolo Galli. December 2010: At KAB’s winter performance, Megan Amanda danced the pas de deux from La Sylphide. Here, her mom helps her into her costume.
Photo by Paolo Galli, Courtesy The Balanchine Trust. She also danced the Waltz Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade.
Photo by Isaac Aoki. January 2011: Megan Amanda did an impromptu photo shoot with her friend Isaac Aoki, who’s also a fledgling photographer.
Photo by Paulo Galli. March 2011: Megan Amanda found time to read, one of her favorite hobbies.
Photo by Paulo Galli. April 2011: Megan Amanda and fellow student Alex Babayev were asked to perform at a special awards ceremony. Martin Fredmann, deputy artistic director of the KAB, joined them—and they were all picked up in a limo!
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda in class with teacher Ludmila Morkovina
Photo by Paolo Galli. April 2011: For the KAB spring performance, Megan Amanda was cast as Odette in the second act of Swan Lake. Here, she rehearses with Chase O’Connell, a former KAB student.
Photo by Paolo Galli. Megan Amanda and Chu-En Chiu as Odette and Siegfried in KAB’s production of Swan Lake
Photo by Paolo Galli. As they approach graduation, seniors at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. get professional audition photos taken.
Photo by Paolo Galli. On May 28, 2011, Megan Amanda graduated from high school at KAB.
EDITOR'S NOTE: After graduating, Megan Amanda moved to California to apprentice with San Francisco Ballet.
Birthday: July 20, 1995 (she graduated at 15!)
Favorite dance movie: Center Stage
Favorite book: “I really like murder mystery novels and books by James Patterson.”
Favorite TV shows: “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory”
Most played on her iPod: The album Dusk and Summer by Dashboard Confessional
Dance idol: “I really like Polina Semionova. I also look up to a lot of my friends. Dancing next to them in class pushes me to make myself better.”
So you Think You Can Dance' Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.
Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.
You're obsessed with class videos. We're obsessed with class videos. The passion, energy, and talent showcased in these clips, which give us an insider-y peek at the commercial dance world's hottest classes, are totally irresistible.
But at what point does the phenomenon go from being a good thing to a bad thing for dancers and the dance world? Is the focus on filming distracting from the work dancers are supposed to be doing in class? Are overproduced videos presenting a dangerously misleading picture of the dance world? Is the pressure to be a class video star becoming too much for dancers to handle? These are some of the questions A-list dancer and choreographer Ian Eastwood—no stranger to the class video himself—has been asking on Twitter. And they've sparked a lively, important debate.
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!
Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.
Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise:
Dance Spirit is beyond excited to announce the first round of 2017 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability. The second round of winners will be featured in our January issue, so stay tuned!
Our favorite drama-filled, dance reality show may have ended this past fall, but "Dance Moms" stars Chloe, Kalani, and Kendall aren't about to let that end their dance careers. In fact, these dancing kweens are taking their moves to a city near you with their Irreplaceables Tour! The girls are going all out for the three-week dance production, which is taking them across the country. And these dazzling dancers aren't just content with showing off their dance skillz—they want to pass along their tips and tricks in a dance workshop where they'll lead fans in stretches and dance routines from the show.
Dance Spirit caught up with Chloe, Kalani, and Kendall to find out what they love about tour life and where they see themselves five years from now.
When most of us think of The Nutcracker, we imagine a growing Christmas tree, dancing mice, and a little girl named Clara (or Marie) traveling to the Land of Sweets. But companies around the world have been reinventing the holiday classic, changing the storyline or adding their own spectacular sets and characters. To get in the Nutcracker spirit this season, check out these out-of-the-box productions.