Make Over Your Audition Chances
When 20-year-old NY–based dance teaching assistant Erika Einhorn explained to us that her sweet, innocent look was keeping her from booking her dream job—making an NBA dance team—we knew we had to help her! So we contacted Danielle Mimnaugh, coach of the New York Knicks City Dancers, for expert tips and passed them along to hairstylist Tressa Degiorgi and makeup artist Angela Huff. The team worked their magic on Erika, and we watched this pretty duckling transform into a sophisticated swan. Here’s how!
Danielle: Get a trendy, feminine haircut. Side bangs add dimension and layers give hair movement.
Tressa: I textured her hair by cutting short and long pieces. These seamless layers blend well with the rest of her mane.
Danielle: Use a gloss, not dye, to make hair look healthy and shiny.
Tressa: This clear gloss reflects light and seals the cuticles, like a conditioner.
Danielle: Wear fake eyelashes to make eyes look bigger—the judges could be up to 50 feet away.
Angela: Curl real lashes. Draw a thin line of eyeliner. Trim fake lash line if needed. Apply fake lashes and coat them with mascara to connect everything.
Danielle: Create a smoky eye while keeping the inner corner bright. This will make eyes appear bigger.
Angela: Try colors like deep purple (used on Erika to complement her hazel/brown eyes), forest green or navy.
Danielle: Use a neutral lipstick with luster for pop.
Angela: Go one shade stronger than natural lip color. Worried about hair getting caught in lipstick? Blot it off and add balm to create a lip stain.
Danielle: Avoid face lotion because it makes everything slippery and could smudge makeup when sweating.
Angela: Go light on the blush—it will intensify when your face gets flushed.
Danielle: Apply self-tanner or get a spray tan a few days before tryouts to give skin a nice glow.
Angela: Since Erika uses an SPF moisturizer (good job!), her face is a bit lighter than her body. To fix this, apply a water-resistant or long-wearing liquid foundation.
Editor's Note: The day after the shoot, Erika put her new look to use. She auditioned for the New York Titans dance team and got a call back!
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
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!
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.