Dance Spirit Presents: JT Church's First Dance Awards Nationals
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. Next up: JT Church from Club Dance in Mesa, AZ, who competed at The Dance Awards in Las Vegas for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Leslie Church.)
June 30, 2017: On the Road!
We're traveling from Arizona all the way to Las Vegas!
July 2, 2017: Time for Class!
Today marked the start of a full week of dancing. Catch me below in lots of classes, including Travis Wall's awesome contemporary class!
(Editors' note: Yasssss JT 👏 👏 👏 )
🔥 🔥 🔥
❤️ One of the best parts about competing? Seeing all my friends from across the country! ❤️
July 3-7, 2017: Lots of Dancing, Lots of Familiar Faces, and Lots of Celebrating
So many of my favorite people are here at The Dance Awards. It's so much fun running into everyone, taking class with them, and watching them compete! I got to hang out and dance with everyone from Tate McRae, to Allison Hoker, to Teddy Forance.
I competed my solo, which was choreographed by the one and only Al Blackstone! I made it into the top 4, which meant I performed again, this time for the title of Mini Male Best Dancer...and I won! I couldn't be more excited for the next year assisting The Dance Awards!
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 email@example.com 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?