Letter to My Teenage Self: Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo
The dance gods must have been smiling when Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo first met at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Who would have guessed that an army veteran from California (Napoleon) and a cheerleader from New Jersey (Tabitha) would join forces and eventually take over the commercial hip-hop world?
(Photo by Jennifer Johnson, courtesy the D'Umos)
Since the two started performing with the dance crew Culture Shock in the 1990s, they’ve been inseparable, working with artists including Madonna, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. They’ve also choreographed for “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “Dancing with the Stars,” though they’re most known for their work on “So You Think You Can Dance,” which has earned them two Emmy Awards. When they’re not designing new pieces for their dancewear line Nappytabs, you can catch the couple (and parents of two-and-a-half-year-old son London) on tour with Monsters of Hip Hop and Velocity Dance Convention and Competition. —Jenny Dalzell
Dear Teenage Tabitha & Napoleon,
Slow down. We know that the future seems like an eternity from now. But from where we’re sitting, the last 20 years feel like only a moment. So don’t waste an hour—make every second count. You’re busy, and it can be challenging to make enough time for anything or anyone. But make time for family.
Remember that life is pretty simple—it’s we who insist on making it complicated. Stay focused on the positive things and the rest will fall into place. Make decisions with your heart; it knows more than you do.
If you fall out of love with what you’re doing, don’t be afraid to move on. And failing once doesn’t mean you’ll fail every time. You will fail, however, if you don’t learn from your mistakes.
Fight for what’s important to you, but be conscious of your approach when speaking up. If you speak out of anger, odds are, your message won’t be heard as clearly. And never let the envy you might feel for another turn into jealousy or hatred. Instead, use that energy as motivation to work harder.
Get ready for a wonderful adventure. In college, you’ll meet your best friend and the love of your life.
P.S. Adults are always telling you that hard work pays off. They’re 100 percent right.
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.
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.
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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.