Since leaving Doug Varone and Dancers in January (she first caught DS’ eye as a standout performer in Varone’s fluid, powerful and quirky choreography), this petite brunette has had one project after another. She performed with Gallim Dance, a group directed by former Batsheva Ensemble dancer Andrea Miller in April. She presented her own choreography at the Cool New York festival in February and in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! at Joyce SoHo in May. Then, she garnered a coveted modern guest-artist teaching slot at Dance New Amsterdam over the summer. And last month, she premiered The Desert Island Project, an evening-length show made up of four solos that she’s also presenting this month in Toronto.
Whether she’s performing, choreographing or teaching, Belinda is driven by a need to explore. “I’m early in my career,” she says. “I don’t know enough to be able to settle.” Currently, that means pursuing a solo career rather than working full-time with one company. Through TDIP, Belinda hopes to “allow the superficial Belinda things to drop away.” To that end, she only choreographed one of the solos she performs in the show. The others were created by Miller, Kate Alton (a Toronto-based choreographer) and Idan Sharabi (currently dancing with Nederlands Dans Theater II). “TDIP has been a great way to accumulate and assimilate influences,” Belinda explains.
Originally from Toronto, Belinda trained in ballet and Limón-based modern and performed with the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre as a teen. After high school she headed to Juilliard; she graduated in 2006 and jumped straight into a year-and-a-half tenure with Varone’s company (she’d attended several of his summer intensives and was familiar with his work and style). Her goal since then has been to keep pushing herself to grow and develop as an artist—through whatever pathways open up to her.
So what’s next, her own company? “Maybe eventually, but it’s kind of like having a child—I’m not ready!” she laughs. “On the immediate horizon, once I finish this solo project, I’ll probably just want to be someone else’s dancer for a while.”
- Birthday: August 4, 1983
- Favorite thing about NYC: “I really like early mornings, when there’s a residual sense that the place is filled with people—but no people.”
- Nondance hobby: Cooking: “I usually start with a recipe and then divert from that. I make things up on the fly.”
- Favorite chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
- Advice for aspiring pros: “Open yourself to possibilities, expose yourself to a variety of influences and take the time to get deep enough into something to really experience it. Curiosity is really important—keep following it.”
Photo: David Hou
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: