Meredith Webster (by RJ Muna)
Alonzo King LINES Ballet veteran Meredith Webster has a presence that goes beyond movement, filling not only the stage but the entire room with an energy that starts deep inside her core. Whether delicate and fluid or strong and aggressive, Webster’s dancing has a sense of grounded security that captivates.
Webster grew up in Manitowoc, WI, where she studied with Jean Wolfmeyer. She also trained at The Harid Conservatory and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and received a BS in environmental science from the University of Washington in 2003. While in college, she danced with Sonia Dawkins/PRISM Dance Theatre and Spectrum Dance Theater. In 2005 she joined LINES, where she continues to impress audiences today. —Nicole Bilbao
I am lucky to say that looking back I have very few regrets. But even though I’ve definitely learned and hopefully evolved, I feel far from wise. Instead, the more life I experience, the more ambiguities I see—the more I realize I don’t know. So I don’t have a list of “dos and don’ts” for you. What I can do is tell you some of the things that are important to me now—things I’m still working on in life and in the studio. A person can get infinitely better at both living life and dancing…so really we’re both just starting out!
Webster's teenage audition photo (courtesy Webster)
Pirouettes and port de bras are worthy of study, but the skill I’ve found most valuable is listening. Listen before you speak. Listen to as much information from as many sources as you possibly can. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t formulate or stand up for your own opinions, but make sure you hear others’, too. Listen to your body. Become aware of its natural tendencies—even if you choose not to follow all of them.
Keep a balanced and broad perspective. Strive to understand yourself and your immediate surroundings ever more deeply. Challenge your boundaries and test your confidence. Respect your obligations and your roots, but cultivate your capacity for empathy, too.
Give more. Increase your breadth, indulge your curiosity, hear more music, spend more time outdoors. In general, get bigger. The work we do in the studio and onstage is our way of connecting to a knowledge that is bigger than us. You actually already have access to this knowledge; if you keep listening, you will begin to hear it more and more clearly.
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.
The 2018 Oscar noms are here. Which is fun and all; we'll never not get excited about a night of glitz and glamor and, when we're lucky, pretty great dancing. But we'd be a heck of a lot more excited if the Academy Awards included a Best Choreography category. And really—why don't they?
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.