I [Heart] College
College is the best. I think everyone should go to college.
Yes, dancers, that means you, too!
I know it's a tough decision: Do I start my dance career straight out of high school or enroll at a conservatory or university to continue studying for a while?
I can't make that decision for you, but I can tell you that the four years I spent dancing in college were four of the best years of my life. There's nothing like waking up (at the "early" hour of 9 am), going to a few classes, eating lunch on the picture-perfect campus quad and spending the night in the studio with my best dancing friends.
So, clearly, I support any cause that encourages dancers to embark on the college experience—causes like the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation.
Zoey Anderson was awarded a handful of scholarships after competing at New York City Dance Alliance—and now she's thriving at Marymount Manhattan! (Photo by ProPix/New York City Dance Alliance)
Over the past few years, the NYCDA Foundation has provided millions of dollars in scholarships to dancers so they can attend top schools like University of the Arts, Marymount Manhattan College and Pace University.
On April 22, the foundation is holding a performance in NYC called Destiny Rising to raise money for more scholarships (reminder: those scholarships could be yours, comp kids), and the lineup of performers and choreographers is top-notch.
Choreographers include Jon Bond, Adrienne Canterna, Jessica Lang, Andy Pellick, Cindy Salgado and more. Plus, there will be guest performances by members of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and the Bad Boys of Dance, to name just a few.
The Dance Spirit editors will be there (our sister mag, Dance Magazine, is one of the sponsors), taking in the talent and supporting dancers in search of a college degree.
Click here to get your tickets. (They're only $25!) See you then!
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.
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!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
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.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.