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
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.
The coolest place she's ever performed:
I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!
Something she's constantly working on:
My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.
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!
For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!
In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.
Marzia Memoli may be the Martha Graham Dance Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Memoli started studying at age 16 at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Later, she attended the Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, Switzerland, before heading to NYC in 2016 to join MGDC. This month, she'll perform The Rite of Spring in the Martha Graham Studio Series in NYC, and tour with the company in Florida. Read on for the dirt.