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:
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
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All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
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 know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?
Instagram star Kylie Shea has built a following of nearly 170,000 with her playful workout videos, which combine traditional fitness activities, like jumping rope or running on the treadmill, with pointe shoes and sassy choreography. Shea's effortless cool-girl-next-door vibe and solid ballet technique make her vids totally irresistible.
Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.
Physical discomfort is inevitable when you're spending tons of hours in the studio every day, but some pain shouldn't be suffered through. "Dancing through pain can make an injury worse and lead to more time away from dance," says Dr. Joel Brenner, medical director of dance medicine at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA. "Failing to rest and recover when you're in serious pain could even lead to the point where you're unable to dance in the future."
That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.
Think about it: How often do you see a ballet pas de deux for two women? Almost never, right? Sometimes, choreographers will forgo the traditional danseur-ballerina pas to make a duet for two guys, since they can lift and partner each other easily. But a dance for two ballerinas is a rare thing.
That's part of what makes "Duet," a new video by director Andrew Margetson featuring Royal Ballet beauties Yasmin Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so compelling.