Meet Three "Young Marvels"
One of the best parts of this job is discovering super-young dancers who are super-duper gifted. And these days, the Ovation network, which devotes a lot of airtime to next-generation talent, is a pretty great place to do that kind of scouting.
Next week, Ovation will debut a new series following eight accomplished artists under the age of 15. "Young Marvels" premieres Wednesday, the 16th, at 10 pm EST/7 pm PST. The show includes three dancers: Sophia (13), who trains at Millenium Dance Complex in L.A.; Duncan (14), a student at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School; and Lev (8!), a national ballroom champ.
While you're waiting for Wednesday to roll around, we thought you might like to get to know all three a little better. Take a look at their "fast facts" below—then click here to watch the series trailer.
Birthday: December 15th, 1999
Most-played song of the moment: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
Dance idols: Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Polina Seminiova, David Hallberg
Favorite foods: pasta, artichokes, "all kinds of berries and cherries"
Hidden talents: piano playing (a little bit), gymnastics
Who would play you in a movie? "Hopefully me!"
If you were a superhero, what would your power be? "Transportation, so I could get everywhere I need to be, on time."
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed? "20 push-ups."
What's the strangest thing in your dance bag? Japanese dictionary
Three words that describe you: energetic, positive, fun
Three words that describe your dancing: "work in progress"
Birthday: October 1, 2000
Most-played songs of the moment: "Come with me now" by KONGOS, "Automatic" by Iration, "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus
Dance idols: Will "Willdabeast" Adams and Brian Friedman
Hidden talent: "I'm really good at doing manicures and makeup."
Who would play you in a movie? "Halle Berry would play the future me."
If you were a superhero, what would your power be? "I would be able to disapparate, like Harry Potter."
What is the first thing you do in the morning? "Make chocolate chip pancakes."
What is the last thing you do before you go to bed? "I listen to 8-tracks as I go to sleep."
Non-dance hobbies: "I really like reading dystopian and mystery books."
Strangest thing in your dance bag: "A silver troll with light blue hair that my dance teacher, Jess Warfield, gave me."
The best advice you’ve ever received: "Jess Warfield told me to 'get out of my head' when I dance, which means I shouldn't overthink everything—I should just dance freely."
Birthday: October 11, 2005
Nicknames: Levushka, Dancing Machine Lev
Most-played songs of the moment: "American boy" by Estelle, ''Skyfall" by Adele
Dance idols: "My coaches—Samantha Safir, Leonid Proskurov, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough."
Favorite dance movie: Pulp Fiction
Must-see TV shows: "Scooby-Doo" shows, "Dancing with the Stars"
Who would play you in a movie? "Derek Hough or Brad Pitt."
If you would be a superhero, what would your power be? "Controlling time."
What's the first thing you do in the morning? "Kiss and hug my mommy."
What's the last thing you do before going to bed? "Read a book with my mommy."
Non-dance hobbies: ice skating, Pokémon, magic
Strangest thing in your dance bag: "My favorite Pokémon card—it's a good luck charm."
Three words that describe you: emotional, happy, "open to the world"
Three words that describe your dancing: well-acted, emotional, focused
Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.
OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.
Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.
Principal Lloyd Knight has become a true standout in the Martha Graham Dance Company thanks to his compelling presence and dynamic technique. Knight, who performs leading roles in iconic pieces like Appalachian Spring and Embattled Garden, was born in England and raised in Miami, where he trained at the Miami Conservatory and later graduated from New World School of the Arts. He received scholarships to The Ailey School and The Dance Theatre of Harlem School in NYC and joined MGDC in 2005. Catch him onstage with MGDC during its New York City Center season this month. —Courtney Bowers
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.
Today in Ballet Dancers Are Actual Superheroes news:
You've no doubt heard that the fabulous Alicia Vikander is playing Lara Croft in the newest iteration of Tomb Raider, which hits movie theaters this Friday. But while her training for the high-octane action role was crazy tough, she says, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was far tougher.
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'm a hip-hop and jazz dancer, and I want to get involved in the commercial-dance world. I've never studied ballet, but people keep telling me I "have to" take ballet classes if I want to make it professionally. Is that really true? My family has limited money for dance classes, and I have to be careful about how I spend it.
Everyone loves a good viral video, especially when there's dancing involved. And though many viral videos are contrived and created for the soul purpose of instafame, the story behind the latest video catching the eyes of millions—including Rihanna, super model Naomi Campbell, and Diddy—is even more unique because it features children who don't even know who those celebrities are.
A dance troupe in Nigeria has become the next internet sensation, thanks to their exuberant dancing and passion with which they perform. Their enthusiasm for dance is evident in every step and it's hard not to smile as you see these children (who range from ages 6 to 15) express pure joy in something as simple as dance. These nine kids are part of The Dream Catchers, an organization started by 26-year-old Seyi Oluyole, that gives impoverished children a place to live while teaching them how to dance.
For 16-year-old Amanda*, dance is everything: her passion, her escape from the daily grind, and her career goal. Her parents see things differently. "I have siblings who are active in sports," Amanda says, "and my parents would rather I play soccer or basketball. They don't see dance as something I can earn a stable living from in the future. They often tell me I should just quit."
Some parents aren't able to, don't know how to, or choose not to give you the kind of support you need to thrive in the studio. And when your parents are adding stress to your life, rather than alleviating it, there's a lot at stake. "Dancers who don't have the support of their parents might struggle with self-doubt," says Dr. Linda Hamilton, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and a clinical psychologist specializing in the performing arts, "while those whose parents are too involved can crack under the pressure." Whether your parents aren't there when you need them or they're always there, practically smothering you, try these tips to improve your situation.
On Friday night, the iconic RuPaul made history as the first drag queen ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And it didn't take long for the world's most fabulous RuPaul fan/one of our favorite human beings, Mark Kanemura, to commemorate his idol's accomplishment with—naturally—a WALK to end all walks.