Madi Rae DiPietro
Madi Rae as July, one of Annie’s orphans (Joan Marcus)
It’s no secret the new Broadway revival of Annie is loaded with super-talented kids. But among Annie’s pack of friends, there’s one tiny orphan stealing the spotlight in almost every scene: Madi Rae DiPietro. At just 13 years old, she’s making her Broadway debut, handling Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography with the finesse of a seasoned star. And she’s doing it all with a megawatt smile that makes it easy to believe she’s having the time of her life, eight shows a week.
Growing up in San Diego, CA, Madi Rae started dancing at the Royal Dance Academy when she was 18 months old. “I was always jumping and running around, so when my friend’s mom opened a studio, I went to the Mommy and Me class,” Madi Rae says. Soon after, she added ballet, jazz, lyrical and tap to her schedule as well. While she excels in ballet, jazz has always been her favorite: “I like that you can incorporate different styles—whether it’s lyrical or hip hop—into jazz. And I love that I get to use my facial expressions a lot.”
The ambitious Madi Rae made her television debut on “Days of our Lives” when she was five and has also done commercial work for Disney and Hasbro. “I started to love acting as much as I loved dancing, but I didn’t know how I could commit to both,” Madi Rae says. “Then I discovered musical theater, which brought everything together.” She soon realized that if she were going to succeed, she would need to sing, too. “I wanted to be a superstar, and I knew I couldn’t be the next Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus if I couldn’t sing.” She began taking lessons—and they paid off big time. Madi Rae booked the role of the Pageant Girl in Little Miss Sunshine at the La Jolla Playhouse in California with director James Lapine, who would go on to direct Annie.
During the audition process for Annie, Madi Rae pulled out all the stops. “I was obsessed—I watched the movie, sang the songs and took extra dance classes,” she says. Then she got the call that she’d been cast as the orphan July. “I was shocked and excited and scared!” Madi Rae says. She couldn’t wait to move to NYC.
(by Holly Ireland)
Performing on Broadway has been a dream come true for Madi Rae. She says it’s inspiring to work with such talented and successful people, especially Blankenbuehler: “I’m an aspiring choreographer, and Andy taught me a different way of approaching movement. He told me to listen to the music instead of the words—it’s made a big difference.” Whether she’s choreographing or performing, we expect to see Madi Rae making her mark on the Great White Way for years to come. Her dream role? “I’d love to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid or Belle in Beauty and the Beast, or star in Wicked.”
Birthday: January 28, 2000
Most-played on her iPod: The Annie soundtrack and Bring It On: The Musical’s cast album
Must-see TV shows: “Dance Moms” and “Cupcake Wars”
Performer she’d die to work with: Sutton Foster. “I worked with her brother, Hunter Foster, on Little Miss Sunshine, and he was really nice!”
Three words that describe her: “Pink, sparkly, silly”
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.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.
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.
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.