Letter to My Teenage Self: Tony Testa
(Photo by Mike Quain, courtesy Tony Testa)
A former comp kid who grew up in Fort Collins, CO, Tony Testa has had what many would call a dream career. By the time he turned 21, Testa had choreographed for Janet Jackson and Britney Spears and performed in the film Dreamgirls. In 2009, he worked closely with Kenny Ortega on Michael Jackson’s This Is It tour. Since then, he’s choreographed for TV shows, K-pop groups and concert performances, including One Direction’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”
Testa is now using his dance-world celebrity for a good cause: In 2013, his work “Get Wet” premiered at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the organization Heal the Bay, to help raise awareness about overfishing. He’s also returning to his roots on the circuit—he’s on faculty at Monsters Dance Convention and New York City Dance Alliance, reaching hundreds of aspiring dancers and choreographers nationwide. —Jenny Dalzell
Choose courage over comfort. When you feel yourself coming up with reasons to play small, or to not participate, run head-on into whatever you’re fearing. The more you push yourself, the stronger and faster you will grow. And as you grow, hang on to your love for experimentation. Treat your biggest projects with the same playful curiosity you have in a studio by yourself, creating just for fun.
Speak your own truth. It’s OK to admit you don’t have all the answers. Don’t feel like you need to tell everyone how busy you are in order to stay relevant. I know you’re in a hurry to live this incredible life, but be proud of exactly where you are each step of the way.
At age 17 (photo courtesy Nancee Testa)
When you reach your goals, recognize and celebrate them! It’s tempting to just move on to the next project, but don’t skip this very important step. After all, you are living your dreams!
The world is yours,
P.S. If you’re wondering if your creative process will get any easier, the answer is (drumroll, please): Nope! Sorry, bud. But by putting more trust in your final product, you’ll learn to embrace the discomfort.
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.
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.
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.
The union of dance royalty isn't something we take lightly—especially when it's between legendary hip hopper WilldaBeast Adams and dance phenom Janelle Ginestra. (#RelationshipGoals much?) So when we heard we were invited to their Big Day we sort of lost it. (I mean, what does one wear to the wedding of two dance icons? Better yet, what kind of dance moves does one practice for the reception?) Ok, so we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves, because we'll all be able to watch the wedding from the comfort of our own wifi. In true immaBEAST fashion the dance moguls decided to share their special day with devoted fans by streaming it online.