Dance News

Kym Johnson's Take on DWTS Season 14 (and The Urkel)

It’s "Dancing with the Stars" day! Season 14 premieres tonight, and—with some studly stars and our favorite ballroom ladies and gents fighting for that Mirror Ball Trophy—it’s definitely going to be a good one. To start off the season right, DS got the inside scoop from "DWTS" pro Kym Johnson about her expectations for partner Jaleel White and who she thinks is her biggest competition:

Dance Spirit: How has Jaleel’s dancing been in rehearsals? Is it different than you expected?

Kym Johnson: I really didn’t know what to expect from him, but it’s going really well. There are things that we still have to work on, like his frame, but he’s definitely got rhythm. Now we’re at the point where we’re just ready to dance for an audience.

DS: Were you a fan of Jaleel’s character, Steve Urkel, on "Family Matters"?

KJ: "Family Matters" was very popular in Australia, but I actually didn’t watch it.  I felt a bit bad about that when I met him. Obviously, I knew the character of Steve Urkel, since he made that very famous. But he’ll play more of a smooth character when he’s on the dance floor.

DS: We won’t see any of Urkel’s signature moves?

KJ: I don't think so. Jaleel says he doesn’t think the judges are ready for The Urkel.

DS: So what’s your strategy for this season?

KJ: I think the best way to approach this competition is to enjoy it as much as possible, and just take it week by week. The first show is always really fun. That’s when we’ll see what the other couples are bringing to the dance floor, and we’ll figure out where we stand in the competition and what we can work on. Hopefully we’ll connect with people.

DS: Who do you think will be your biggest competition?

KJ: I have to say it’s going to be a really strong dance season. I think William [Levy] and Cheryl [Burke], plus Donald Driver and Peta [Murgatroyd], are really good. Plus, I saw Katherine Jenkins rehearse the other day, and she’s beautiful, so she’s going to be a tough one. It seems like everyone is big competition right now. There are going to be some amazing performances.

We can't wait! And if you’re like Kym, and "Family Matters" wasn’t a part of your regular TGIF lineup, here’s a little insight to why this team will most likely kill it on the dance floor. I give you The Urkel:

Lex and Taylor in Mia Michaels' "You Matter To Me" (photo by Adam Rose, courtesy Fox)

So you Think You Can Dance' Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.

Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.

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Melina and Regina Willoughby (photo by Ashley Concannon)

There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.

Read more at dancemagzine.com!

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.

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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!

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National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina being amazing (via Instagram)

Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.

Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise:

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Watch This
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.

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Dancer to Dancer
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!

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Quiz

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?

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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.

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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.

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