She's dominating contemporary routines and hip-hop combos. She's booking jobs in L.A. and NYC. She's slaying onstage at conventions (she's a lifetime assistant with Artists Simply Human) and on set with the Suga N Spice crew. Basically, 17-year-old Kerrynton Jones is everywhere, doing everything, all the time. If you've seen her nail heels choreo by Yanis Marshall or breeze through an intricate routine by Janelle Ginestra, it can be hard to imagine that Kerrynton didn't always love hip hop. “I actually started out taking contemporary, and thought I would never need hip hop," she says. “But when I was 11, I attended The PULSE—and once I saw the kids assisting onstage, I wanted to be up there too." Kerrynton added street jazz and hip-hop classes to her schedule, and eventually achieved her goal: She was named a PULSE Elite Protégé for the 2013–14 season. “Now, I use the muscle control I learned from hip hop in my contemporary classes," she says. “Each style makes me stronger in the other."
Kerrynton is currently a trainee in the Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Program in NYC. The Maryland native has become a bona fide New Yorker: She lives in a dorm on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is homeschooled to accommodate her hectic schedule. When she has time, she squeezes in extra classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center.
For the moment, Kerrynton is focused on her Joffrey School traineeship, and dreams of booking a gig with Disney and eventually moving to L.A. “I think I'm leaning toward a more commercial life," she says. “But I also think I could work well in a company. I can't say where I'll end up yet." It seems possible that Kerrynton really can, and will, do it all.
“As a PULSE Elite Protégé, Kerrynton set the bar for how assistants should work for their teachers: full-out, with exquisite technique and ferocious passion. She's the ultimate role model for young female dancers, and girls in general. She grows with each passing year—she's unstoppable!" —Brian Friedman, choreographer
Birthday: March 12, 1999
Dream gig: “Dancing for Beyoncé!"
Favorite food: Cookie butter
Dance idol: China Taylor
If she weren't a dancer, she'd be: “A personal trainer"
Biggest fear: Spiders
Her dancing in two words: “Powerful and emotional"
Go-to stress reliever: Foam-rolling
Advice for DS readers: “If anybody tells you that you can't do something, do it and prove them wrong."
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.