Dancing a foxtrot with "SYTYCD" Season 6 winner Russell Ferguson. (Kelsey McNeal/FOX)
Her signature red hair is a tip-off: Melanie LaPatin is one fiery-hot ballroom queen. Though she didn’t begin to dance competitively until age 19, the native New Yorker quickly developed a successful partnership with ballroom dancer Tony Meredith. During their competitive career, which lasted nearly two decades, the dynamic duo racked up more than 100 championship ballroom titles. After retiring from competition in 1999, LaPatin and Meredith opened Dance Times Square Studio in NYC, where they still teach regularly. LaPatin has also choreographed for film, coached a host of movie stars and made pieces for “So You Think You Can Dance” and “So You Think You Can Dance Canada.” She recently starred in the film Leading Ladies. —Margaret Fuhrer
LaPatin as a teenager (courtesy LaPatin)
Hey, Melanie! Read these words very carefully:
I know you think no one could possibly understand your thoughts or feel your confusion. But you are not alone. So many people feel exactly as you do. Please stop here and re-read this paragraph. Then read it again.
It’s OK to not be “OK.” You are a unique and loveable person. It’s OK to trust others, too. Feelings are just feelings—they are not who you are. I repeat: Feelings are just feelings—they are not who you are.
Even though no one is there to be your guide, you are a strong and passionate individual. You are just as capable as others. Someone is going to do all the things you dream about; it might as well be you. You have the ability, power, intuition and honesty to make positive things happen. You are a good person and deserve good things.
Stop for a moment and take a deep breath, in and out, slowly. Be aware of where you
are and what sounds you may hear. Right now, Melanie: Stop reading this second, close your eyes and take a few breaths. Do not allow any thoughts to enter your mind—gently let them move on. Please practice this.
One day, your purpose in life will hit you like lightning and there will be no stopping you. You are where you need to be. Struggle and experience build character. I support you,
I care about your needs, I love you and I am here for you.
“Those who dance are thought mad by those who can’t hear the music.”
The dance floor will set you free,
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.