Photo by Little Shao/Urban Dance Showcase
Watching Keone Madrid on the dance floor, it’s no surprise the 24-year-old’s first love was basketball: He exudes athleticism. But look closer and you’ll see hints of Michael Jackson and even Gene Kelly. This juxtaposition is true of his choreography, too. He uses music ranging from hardcore hip hop to Adele, and alternates between syncopated hits and smooth control, with the occasional Fosse-esque isolation.
Keone grew up a self-proclaimed jock in San Diego, CA. He was always a fan of dance, reenacting Michael Jackson and *NSYNC videos with friends. But he didn’t train formally until age 15, when he followed a friend to a hip-hop class taught by KJ Gonzales. “I started taking that one class every week, but it wasn’t enough,” he says. “I would go home and choreograph on my own so I could dance more.”
A natural mover, Keone found that performance opportunities came quickly. Soon after his first class, he joined Future Shock San Diego (the apprentice crew of Culture Shock San Diego) and eventually became its director. There, he trained with Jabbawockeez member Rynan Paguio and began to expand his skill set from “’90s party dancing” to include jazz, contemporary and even salsa and tango. After Keone graduated from high school, his FSSD students started encouraging him to get his choreography out into the world. At first, he resisted posting videos online, but one of his students started uploading clips from class that garnered Keone fans around the world—and earned him his first international gig, teaching workshop classes in Norway.
Soon, the offers began flooding in. Keone traveled the world, including much of Europe and Asia—eventually meeting his dance partner, collaborator and wife, Mariel, at Urban Legends in Temecula, CA, where she was also teaching. He joined the San Diego–based dance crew Choreo Cookies, which he now co-directs, and choreographed for musical artists in the U.S. and Asia.
Today, Keone and Mari (who were married in June) have signed with Go 2 Talent Agency as a choreographic team and are well on their way to becoming the next Nappytabs. Their collaborations are not only packed with smooth, intricately woven moves, but the narratives behind them are heartfelt and relatable, often leaving you feeling as though you’ve just watched a romantic comedy rather than a dance number. The duo have also put humanitarian plans in motion, founding Kingdom Made, an arts charity that sells clothing and accessories to fund its international missions, during which they plan to build homes and offer dance and art workshops for the locals. “I’ve been given so much through dance,” Keone says. “It’s time to give back.”
Birthday: June 30, 1988
Favorite food: Korean barbecue
Most-played on his iPod: “At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Frank Ocean. And I’m pretty sure MJ is the top-played artist on my iTunes.”
Artists he’d love to work with: “Justin Timberlake Chris Brown, Usher—all those guys who can really get down.”
His style in three words: “Athletic, smooth, experimental”
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.
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.
The coolest place she's ever performed:
I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!
Something she's constantly working on:
My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.
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!
For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!
In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.
Marzia Memoli may be the Martha Graham Dance Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Memoli started studying at age 16 at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Later, she attended the Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, Switzerland, before heading to NYC in 2016 to join MGDC. This month, she'll perform The Rite of Spring in the Martha Graham Studio Series in NYC, and tour with the company in Florida. Read on for the dirt.