What would you do if someone handed you a check for $10,000? Go on a Paris shopping spree? Buy a new car? Or follow your dreams all the way to Israel to learn a whole new approach to dancemaking and movement?
Doug Letheren, 23, opted for the last. Fresh out of New York’s Juilliard School, he has already been singled out by dance players like Mikhail Baryshnikov. Last spring, Baryshnikov nominated Doug to receive a Movado Future Legends Award, given annually to four young artists with extraordinary promise. With the honor, Doug received a $10,000 check. Now this dynamic dancer with a poetic soul is using his award to push himself as an artist.
Doug grew up in Manchester, NH. At 7, he took his first dance class—a funk, MC Hammer–style class for boys—and instantly felt at home. He continued dancing when he went to the prestigious St. Paul’s boarding school in Concord, NH. Doug spent his junior year training at the Conservatoire Nationale de la Region in Rennes, France, and came back ready to audition for Juilliard.
He impressed his Juilliard teachers from the start. “He’s an extremely charismatic performer with the potential to become a major artist in dance,” says Lawrence Rhodes, director of the school’s dance division. While he was still a sophomore, Doug was one of a handful of dancers selected to perform in Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance. He also performed with the Public Dance Theatre—now called Borderline Dance Circle—a company that wants to bring dance to impoverished communities. One month-long trip with PDT, to teach and perform in Peru, helped shape Doug’s perspective on dance.
“We went into a Lima ghetto,” he says. “It was a real shanty-town with dusty shacks made out of garbage. During the last performance, we were dead tired, but giving it our all.” At that moment, he realized dance was meant to be shared, that it could have a larger impact.
Hoping to develop the vision and skill to make a difference, Doug decided to go to Israel to dance with the Batsheva Dance Ensemble. Not only will he be mentored by artistic director Ohad Naharin (one of his heroes), he’ll also choreograph. (Batsheva provides its dancers with whatever they need to carry out their visions.)
Doug wants to keep following his heart. “Dance, in many ways, is an education, an outreach program,” he says. “It can be a mirror that makes you feel and think. And that can inspire change.”
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.
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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.