Meet Ailey II's Daphne Lee
(Photo by Eduardo Patino)
Ailey II, the prestigious second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has spent the last two months touring the world with four new works by Adam Barruch, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Jennifer Archibald and AAADT artistic director Robert Battle. This Tuesday, April 2, Ailey II returns home to the Ailey Citygroup Theater for a two-week NYC season, where they'll alternate the new works with old favorites. We caught up with Daphne Lee, a second-year company member and recent graduate of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. program, who is facing an interesting crossroads as her time in Ailey II comes to a close following the NYC performances.
Dance Spirit: What was the most important thing you learned while dancing with Ailey II?
Daphne Lee: Don't lose who you are as a dancer. Sometimes, I have moments of doubt, when I think, "Wait, why was I hired?" I'm learning to remember that even on my "off" days, I'm still a member of a team responsible for bringing the work to life.
DS: How did you juggle both Ailey II and the B.F.A. program?
DL: As soon as I got asked to apprentice my sophomore year, I signed up for a bunch of summer courses. By the time I got to senior year, I had finished all my course work, so I could focus exclusively on Ailey II. School-wise, all I did senior year was graduate!
Daphne Lee and Riccardo Battaglia in Adam Barruch's Alchemies (photo by Eduardo Patino)
DS: Overall, what has been your favorite work to perform?
DL: You mean besides Revelations? Obviously that's my favorite piece! I loved dancing the roles of the umbrella girl and the gossip sister at the end of the yellow section. These parts let me play a character and really go over the top with it—to be something bigger than life.
DS: What about this season—do you have a favorite piece?
DL: Adam Barruch's Alchemies—it's such a different way of moving for me, especially since I come from a more classical background. He takes us to a completely different world that's dark and creepy and wonderful.
DS: What will you miss most about the company?
DL: The people. We're such a close knit family. But also the traveling. I've gotten to go to so many places I never imagined, even within the U.S. It was a dream: I'd wake up in a new place, perform and then the next day, go out and sight-see. I'd try to get to know the people and the culture, and then bring that back to my dancing.
DS: What's next for you?
DL: That's the question of the day! I pray that I'll get to dance with AAADT someday, but I'm open to any repertoire company. I'm also open to commercial work—I did a show with Beyoncé last year. Oh...and Broadway! I'd love to dance in The Lion King. I want to be a name that everyone knows, like Baryshnikov. It's going to be hard and take time, but it's my goal.
DS: Do you have any advice for DS readers on becoming a professional dancer?
DL: Keep that fire going. Ignore the rejection and the setbacks, and continue on your journey. With a little faith, a little goal and a little direction, you can make it.
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
J.Crew's putting a whole new spin on its brand —literally. The popular clothing line's inspired ad campaign has a group of cute male models showing off their best moves in a series of playful dance battles. When we saw one of those models throw down the gauntlet with a rather impressive series of chaîné turns, we knew he had to be a trained dancer, and we were right: He's former New York City Ballet corps member Joshua Thew. Dancer and model Smith Reesie also shows off in a seriously impressive freestyle.
It's fall! The leaves are changing, everything everywhere is pumpkin-spice flavored—and "Dancing with the Stars" is back on the air. For the 25th time. Season TWENTY-FIVE, y'all: Here we go.
Koine. Kiki. Lex. Taylor. Welcome to the fight to the finale!
On last night's show—the last one before the last one—the Top 4 performed roughly one million times, including an opening number, a group routine, a solo, an All Star duet (a favorite from earlier in the season), and a routine paired with a fellow contestant. And best of all: No one went home! (Yet.) Here's a rundown of all the good stuff.
Fourteen-year-old Kennadi Boese is a teenage dance superhero. For one thing, she's successfully living a double life. One day, she's studying dance and going to school in Colorado like a normal teenager; the next, she's booking major L.A. gigs like the Kids' Choice Sports Awards. It's not just Kennadi's schedule that's super-powered: Her turns are effortless and endless, and she's crazy-versatile (flamenco, anyone?).