If you haven't heard of Lil' Buck, you are a) behind on your DS reading! Check him out in our "Most Influential People of 2011" feature; and b) MISSING OUT. The talented dancer is spreading the gospel of "jookin'," a hip hop style that originated in his hometown of Memphis, TN. Jookin' is awesome—and almost impossible to describe. Here's the best I can do: It's a combination of fluid arm isolations, glides and slides, and pointework. You read that correctly: pointework.
Lil' Buck basically blew up the internet last summer, when none other than Spike Jonze posted a video of his mesmerizing take on "The Dying Swan" (with none other than Yo-Yo Ma on the cello). Last night, he grabbed the spotlight again: He performed in Madonna's supersized Superbowl halftime show. And by "performed," I don't mean "step-touched in the back row with 50 other dancers." I mean straight-up stole the show from the Material Girl herself.
There isn't much halftime footage up online (copyright issues, boo). You can, however, catch bits of Lil' Buck's performance—he's the one wearing wings (!)—in this clip (sorry, not embeddable) from his local Memphis TV station. You'll also hear from his adorable ballet teacher, and from the man himself. (I do have a serious bone to pick with News Channel 3, though—local "rapper" shines with Madonna??? Good grief.)
And since, after that appetizer, you're probably hungry for more Lil' Buck, I'll leave you with his amazing "Swan" video from last year:
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.