Dancer to Dancer

Hollywood's Favorite Tap Duo, Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr, Talk Dance Role Models and Embarrassing Moments Onstage

(From left) Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr in Postmodern Jukebox's "Sunday Morning" video (via Youtube)

Tap duo Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr have been blowing up Hollywood with their classic, sophisticated tap moves. McCowan recorded the tap sounds for the film La La Land, choreographed all of Derek Hough's recent tap performances (one of which was nominated for an Emmy), and privately coached Bette Midler for her Tony Award–winning performance in Hello, Dolly! Recently, they've both been coaching actor Jeremy Piven of Entourage fame. McCowan and Carr first met on a dance gig. Six months later, they were officially dating; now, four years later, they're about to get married—on the very stage they first performed on together. Read on for The Dirt!

What's your favorite dance movie?

Kelsey: Singin' in the Rain

Caley: Billy Elliot

What's the most-played song on your playlist?

Kelsey: Right now, it's "On The Sunny Side of the Street," by Steve Tyrell.

Caley: "Tighten Up," by Archie Bell & the Drells

Who's your dance role model, and why?

Kelsey: Keone and Mari. I think they are two of the most gifted dancers/choreographers of our generation.

Caley: Bob Carroll. He always knew how to make people smile, on- and offstage.

What makes you nervous?

Kelsey: I'm a complete hypochondriac and always get nervous about activities I can get injured doing.

Caley: Kelsey getting injured doing activities.

What's your advice for young performers?

Kelsey: Don't "Dance like nobody is watching." I say, "Dance like it's your last time and EVERYONE is watching!"

Caley: Always have fun when you're dancing. It's my escape and my favorite way to explain how I'm feeling.

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?

Kelsey: During our Halloween show "Tapworx" at Universal Studios, I was supposed to transform into a vampire midway through. I had 15 seconds to put my two molded vampire teeth in. I couldn't get one of the teeth to stick, so when I was unveiled, I had one tooth that fell out on the floor right in front of the audience.

Caley: Dancing in the 4th of July parade in Huntington Beach in a sailor suit. I was flipping off of this WW II–era Jeep and my pants ripped right in the crotch. I had to use a little American flag to cover myself.

What are your pet peeves?

Kelsey: When I hear people say "Tap dance is a dying art form."

Caley: People showing me the couple tap steps they remember from when they were kids; all the while I'm performing.

If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?

Kelsey: Gene Kelly, Hermes Pan, or Gregory Hines.

Caley: [arrow up to Kelsey's answer]

What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Caley: Kiss Kelsey!

Kelsey: [arrow up to Caley's answer] He thinks he's cute.

What's the strangest thing in your dance bag?

Kelsey: A screwdriver

Caley: Chopsticks

What's one food you can't live without?

Kelsey: My veggie pot pie.

Caley: [arrow up to Kelsey's answer] Her veggie pot pie. So good!

What's something no one knows about you?

Kelsey: I've been a vegetarian my entire life and have never eaten meat before.

Caley: My first name is John. So, my name is John Caley-Ryan Carr. I know, crazy town.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Kelsey: A dancer

Caley: An astronaut. Just like Tom Hanks.

What non-dance thing would you consider yourself an expert at?

Kelsey: I don't know about "expert," but I would say either makeup or doing vintage hairstyles.

Caley: Shaving…with my straight razor. Old-school barber style.

What dance item can you not live without?

Kelsey: Our mini tripod to film on our Iphones.

Caley: My foam roller. An every-night must!

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Kelsey: Pastries, chocolate, and anything breakfast-related.

Caley: Pastries, bowls of cereal, night surfing off Huntington Beach pier, PB&J's, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

Who's your dance crush?

Kelsey: Hands down Gene Kelly.

Caley: Jason Janas…don't tell Kelsey.

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

Kelsey: To be able to read minds or go back in time.

Caley: Able to fly and able to breath underwater.

What performer would you drop everything to go see?

Kelsey: Anthony Morigerato.

Caley: Jared Grimes, Sam Weber, and every tapper who inspires me.

What's your biggest fear?

Kelsey: Deep, murky water.

Caley: Spiders, people with sweaty hands, friends showing you videos they think are funny but aren't.

What's your go-to stress reliever?

Kelsey: Watching Bob Ross videos.

Caley: Getting in the ocean or jumping on my fixie (a track bike with no brakes).

Where do you feel happiest?

Kelsey: At home with my cats…and Caley.

Caley: In the studio/in the ocean.

What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Kelsey: I actually watch YouTube makeup tutorials. They're very soothing and put me to sleep.

Caley: Kiss Kelsey!

What's your most-watched TV show?

Kelsey: "Breaking Bad" or "House of Cards."

Caley: I love my cartoons. "Family Guy," "Simpsons," "Futurama"—anything like that. I also have been loving "Game of Thrones."

Who would play you in a movie?

Kelsey: Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones."

Caley: Jeremy Piven…will need to get him a mustache.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Kelsey: I love cooking and secretly wish I owned a vegetarian restaurant.

Caley: I can knock down some cool flips/break-dance a bit.

Do you have any pets?

We have four pets—three cats named "Mommy," "Alfie," and "Little Miss." We also have a betta fish named Finn. P.S. They're all rescues! Even the betta!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Kelsey: Venice

Caley: Nicaragua—I hear the surf has been super-good the last couple of days. After surf time, Sweeden.

Do you have any nicknames?

Kelsey: Kelser, Toots, Green Eyes

Caley: The name Caley for a guy doesn't need a nickname.

What would you be if you weren't a dancer?

Kelsey: A professional makeup artist.

Caley: Sad or a barber.

A version of this story appeared in the December 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Kelsey McCowan & Caley Carr."

via YouTube

Beyoncé's choreographer + Beyoncé's dance captain + the greatest duets of our generation = dance video greatness. Yes, it may seem too good to be true, but the dance gods have gifted us with this very sequence—and it's the best thing we've seen in a long time.

Keep reading... Show less
Future Star winner Kaitlyn Chapa (photo by Rainbow Dance Media Center, courtesy Jennifer Chapa)

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!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Photo by Erin Baiano

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.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

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!

Keep reading... Show less

It's time for a tutu test! So many iconic ballets, so many beautiful tutus. Can you figure out which ballet each of these costumes comes from?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Kalani, Kendall, and Chloe (courtesy Anne Watkins)

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.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch This
Matthew Bourne's "Nutcracker" (photo by Simon Annand, courtesy Raw PR)

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.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch This
Screenshot via YouTube

Shut up and take my money!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Katarina leading an assisted-living class (photo by Mary Y. Jakimier, courtesy Jakimier)

Aspiring ballerina Katarina Jakimier, a Dallas, TX, native, was just 12 when Dance Spirit first featured her, highlighting the innovative pointe shoe recycling program she created in her community. Now 16, Jakimier is still studying ballet intensively—this past fall she started training at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany—and is still on a mission to make the world a better place. Recently, she founded the Silver Swans Ballet Program, which allows senior citizens in retirement homes to experience the magic of ballet, and to reap all of its health benefits. Here, she tells us how the initiative came to be. —Courtney Bowers

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
courtesy Red Is Dancing

Distance, schmistance.

Keep reading... Show less


Want to Be on Our Cover?





Get Dance Spirit in your inbox