Meet Jakob and Kamille!
Jakob Karr (by Joe Toreno)
Our July/August issue is here! We're so excited to present our NYC Issue featuring musical-theater newbies Jakob Karr and Kamille Upshaw. We met up with them in Tempe, AZ, on the route of the Flashdance: The Musical tour, where they posed for photographer Joe Toreno, rocking huge smiles despite the 100 degree heat. Plus, they shared their anecdotes about transitioning from comp kids to musical-theater buffs. (Read advice from Jakob, Kamille and others in "Your Name in Lights.") Want to learn more about these two triple-threat dancers? Read on for some Fast Facts:
Birthday: June 21, 1990
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Childhood studio: Shooting Stars School of Performing Arts in Clermont, FL
Most-played on his iPod: “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
Who would play him in a movie? "A hybrid of Jennifer Lawrence and Ryan Reynolds"
Favorite teacher/class: “I’m a huge fan of Joe Lanteri’s class at Steps on Broadway. If I’m in town, I’m there, and I’m in the front row.”
Favorite dancer of all time: Gene Kelly. “He’s talented, captivating, subtle, cool, crisp and sexy.”
Favorite food: Mexican
Hidden talent: “It’s more of a birth defect. I can breathe air in and out of my eyeball, like I can blow bubbles out of my eye underwater. It’s kind of disgusting, but it’s a pretty cool party trick.”
If he could be a superhero, his power would be: “Obviously I’d want to fly, but I like to believe that in my superhero land all superheroes fly no matter what. So I’d love to be able to live underwater and become the cooler, modern Aquaman.”
The first thing he does in the morning: Listen to music. “I have to start the day with some jams.”
The last thing he does before going to bed: Check Instagram
Dance crushes: Ryan Steele and Grace Buckley. “They’re my roommates, and they’re so talented. I’m in love with both of them and I can’t get enough of them.”
Favorite dance movie: Dirty Dancing
Must-see TV shows: “Game of Thrones.” “I would never recommend it to anyone under 17, but I’m addicted.”
Dance BFFs: “Again, my roommates. We’re all obsessed with each other. We just really, really like each other.”
Three words that describe his personality: Bright, silly, determined
Three words that describe his dancing: Big, bendy, explosive
Kamille Upshaw (by Joe Toreno)
Birthday: September 9, 1989
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
Childhood dance studio: Spotlight Studio of Dance in Millersville, MD
Most played song on her iPod? “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars
Who would play her in a movie? Amandla Stenberg from The Hunger Games. “She’s a complete lookalike of me when I was younger. As she gets older, she could just continuously play me.”
Favorite dancer of all time: “I can’t narrow it down to one dancer, so I’ll say a company. Nederlands Dans Theater will always be my ultimate favorite. They have the most beautifully artistic dancers.”
Favorite teacher/class: “My home studio teacher, Wyndee McGovern. Every time I go home to take her class it’s like I’ve started dance all over again.”
Favorite food: “Anything with goat cheese on it.”
Something people don’t know about her: “I aspire to be a photographer. It’s something I’d like to delve into as I get older.”
If she could be a superhero, her power would be: “The ability to make everyone happy. I’m such a people pleaser.”
The first thing she does in the morning: “Check my phone to see if I have any emails, texts or Instagram comments. Then I roll my ankles.”
The last thing she does before going to bed? “It’s never the same. But I’m a big journal person. Writing is very relaxing."
Dance crush: “My boyfriend, James Boyd, is amazing. But other than that, my dance crushes change quite a bit. It’s whoever catches my eye in the moment. If I chose one, I feel like I’d be cheating on everyone else.”
Favorite dance movie: West Side Story. “I have two VHS tapes and a DVD, and I have it on iTunes.”
Must-see TV shows: “I am a ‘Dance Moms’ fan always and forever. Since I grew up in that world, it fascinates me, no matter how crazy it seems. I also love ‘Revenge.’ ”
Guilty pleasure: “ ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ or anything that has to do with the Kardashians.”
Three words that describe her personality: Caring, confident, corny
Three words that describe her dancing: Passionate, strong, fluid
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?
What do you get when you combine a Beyoncé anthem, fierce girls from all over the world, and choreography by legends like Ellenore Scott and Lamar Lee? You get the epic music video below. The viral video features little girls who live everywhere from Tanzania to Washington D.C. dancing and lip-syncing to Queen Bey's song "Freedom," and the result is electrifying. These littles can dance—and they bring a determination and enthusiasm to their movement that's truly inspiring.