Mishay Petronelli in Dana Foglia's "Cy.clo.thy.mi.a." Photo by Zach Zealand.
Mishay Petronelli demands your attention. It might be the electric energy radiating from her petite, muscular frame. Or maybe it’s the way she plunges into the music, filling every nook and cranny with sinewy, sensual movement. One thing’s for sure: It’s impossible to take your eyes off her.
Mishay, 24, didn’t start dancing until she was 12. It was only after seeing her friends dance that she discovered her natural ability. “I would go to a nearby studio and watch their classes,” the Ohio native says. “When I got home, I’d show my mom the combos that I’d learned in my head.” She started taking classes soon after—everything from ballet to hip hop to tap—and threw herself into the competition and convention scene. After high school, Mishay spent eight months dancing on a cruise ship, but she soon realized she didn’t belong on the water; she belonged on a larger stage.
In 2006, Mishay moved to NYC, where she began an intense training regimen (which she continues today) under teachers like Rhapsody, Dana Foglia and Jared Grimes, while auditioning for commercial work in NYC and L.A. “Since coming to the city, I’ve grown so much,” she says. “The students, the teachers, the different styles—they’ve changed me completely.”
Mishay isn’t just a well-rounded dancer—she’s a chameleon. Hip hop, contemporary, ballet, commercial, tap: She does it all. The musicality of tap seeps into her contemporary; the dynamism of her contemporary makes her untouchable in a hip-hop combo. And all of this makes her a choreographer’s dream.
Mishay has performed in Whitney Houston’s music video for “Million Dollar Bill,” on “Saturday Night Live” with Kanye West and in Dana Foglia’s shows VATIC and Cy.clo.thy.mi.a. But she’s not just shooting for commercial superstardom. “I would love to dance with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet or Nederlands Dans Theater, or maybe even on Broadway. I want to do it all!” she says. And with her magnetic energy and loveable personality, she probably will.
Birthday: January 4, 1987
Favorite book: The Little Prince
Must-see TV show: “30 Rock”
Must-see movies: The September Issue and Love Actually
Most-played on her iPod: CocoRosie
Dance idol: Benoit-Swan Pouffer
Favorite day-off activity: Sleep!
Who would play her in a movie: Reese Witherspoon
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night: