Hey, NBC: Where's the Dance?
I hate to say this, but: Called it.
Last night's Olympic closing ceremony featured a huge dance number choreographed by the fantastic Christopher Wheeldon and featuring 300 dancers, led by Royal Ballet legend Darcey Bussell. But as I mentioned on Friday, I had a sneaking suspicion that American audiences wouldn't get to see that part of the ceremony—just as we were denied Akram Khan's gorgeous piece during the opening ceremonies. And I was right. NBC cut the performance from its broadcast, leaving me, and many other ballet fans, hopping mad.
Look: The rest of the closing ceremony was a rockin' good time. And I understand that ballet isn't high on a national network's list of priorities. (Even performances by big-name bands Muse and The Kinks were edited out.) But how unfair to the artists involved—and to everyone in the US audience, dance fans and dance novices alike—to show nary a glimpse of what was, apparently, an extravagant, dramatic number, to pretend that it just didn't happen. It's not even available on NBC's website. What could have been a wonderful opportunity to introduce millions of people to the glories of world-class artists like Wheeldon and Bussell was totally squandered.
Here are a few photos of what all of us across the pond missed. If anyone finds video of the performance that's accessible in the US, let us know!
*UPDATE: US audiences can watch the performance (along with many other snippets cut from the broadcast) here. It's pretty spectacular. [Update to the update: Link is actually working now. Sorry about that!]*
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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.
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.
Almost a month out, Puerto Rico continues to suffer the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. Many of the island's residents still lack power, clean water, and safe housing. Ballet classes? For Puerto Rican dance students, they must feel like an impossible luxury.
But a dance studio in Florida is working to allow a group of young Puerto Ricans to continue their training. And it needs your help.
Yes, I am a dancer, and yes, I am fat.
There's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the reactions I've received when I've told people I dance. They can range from disbelief to confusion to shock. To many people, it's somehow incomprehensible that a plus-size person like myself could grace a stage. While the body-positive movement has been trucking along at full force over the past few years, it hasn't made much progress in the dance community yet. In fact, the words "body positivity" and "dance" are almost never used together in the same sentence.
Despite that fact, dance is what helped me learn to love my larger frame. In honor of National Body Confidence Day, I wanted to talk about my first time in a studio, and about the tremendous progress I've made since.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?