Our Favorite Movie Dance Doubles of All Time
Guys, how excited are you for Red Sparrow? The fabulous-looking thriller, starring Jennifer Lawrence as a ballerina-turned-spy, has dancers everywhere buzzing—in no small part because a real star dancer, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, acts as Lawrence's dance double. (The film's ballet bona fides don't end there, btw: Your boyfriend Sergei Polunin makes an appearance as Lawrence's partner, and Justin Peck provided the choreography.)
Red Sparrow got us thinking about some other famous onscreen dance doubles—and about the controversy they've inspired. (Always credit your dancers, filmmakers!) Here are a few of our all-time faves.
Isabella Boylston for Jennifer Lawrence, "Red Sparrow"
OK, no, we haven't seen the film yet (it comes out Friday!). But when Boylston's involved, you know it's gonna be gooooood.
Aesha Ash for Zoe Saldana, "Center Stage"
Center Stage famously didn't use dance doubles for most of its cast, since Amanda Schull, Sascha Radetsky, Ethan Stiefel, and Julie Kent were, um, more than capable of doing their own dancing. But then-New York City Ballet dancer Aesha Ash stepped in for Zoe Saldana during the film's most intense dance scenes, including the big finale performance choreographed by Jonathan (*cough cough* Christopher Wheeldon *cough*).
Sarah Lane for Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Drama, drama, drama! While ABT's Sarah Lane was officially credited for her work as Portman's double on Black Swan—well, for "stunts," anyway—controversy arose over how much of the dancing Portman had actually done on her own.
Katherine Crockett for Cate Blanchett, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
It's frankly eerie just how much Crockett, who was a principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company during filming, looks like Blanchett, whose character in the movie was supposed to be a ballet dancer.
Acacia Schachte for Emily Blunt, "The Adjustment Bureau"
How awesome is it that this thriller prominently featured real-life dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (RIP, Cedar Lake)? While Blunt's dance skills were pretty impressive—enough to earn her a Dance Magazine cover—CL's Acacia Schachte took over during super-technical moments.
Marine Jahan, Crazy Legs, and Sharon Shapiro for Jennifer Beals, "Flashdance"
The original dance double scandal! Beals had not one, but three doubles during filming—and, infamously, none of them were credited. Jahan did most of the technical dancing, Shapiro did gymnastic stunts, and b-boy Crazy Legs (yup, a dude) pulled off the impressive breaking moves in the famous audition scene.
Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.
OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.
Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.
Principal Lloyd Knight has become a true standout in the Martha Graham Dance Company thanks to his compelling presence and dynamic technique. Knight, who performs leading roles in iconic pieces like Appalachian Spring and Embattled Garden, was born in England and raised in Miami, where he trained at the Miami Conservatory and later graduated from New World School of the Arts. He received scholarships to The Ailey School and The Dance Theatre of Harlem School in NYC and joined MGDC in 2005. Catch him onstage with MGDC during its New York City Center season this month. —Courtney Bowers
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.
Today in Ballet Dancers Are Actual Superheroes news:
You've no doubt heard that the fabulous Alicia Vikander is playing Lara Croft in the newest iteration of Tomb Raider, which hits movie theaters this Friday. But while her training for the high-octane action role was crazy tough, she says, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was far tougher.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I'm a hip-hop and jazz dancer, and I want to get involved in the commercial-dance world. I've never studied ballet, but people keep telling me I "have to" take ballet classes if I want to make it professionally. Is that really true? My family has limited money for dance classes, and I have to be careful about how I spend it.
Everyone loves a good viral video, especially when there's dancing involved. And though many viral videos are contrived and created for the soul purpose of instafame, the story behind the latest video catching the eyes of millions—including Rihanna, super model Naomi Campbell, and Diddy—is even more unique because it features children who don't even know who those celebrities are.
A dance troupe in Nigeria has become the next internet sensation, thanks to their exuberant dancing and passion with which they perform. Their enthusiasm for dance is evident in every step and it's hard not to smile as you see these children (who range from ages 6 to 15) express pure joy in something as simple as dance. These nine kids are part of The Dream Catchers, an organization started by 26-year-old Seyi Oluyole, that gives impoverished children a place to live while teaching them how to dance.
For 16-year-old Amanda*, dance is everything: her passion, her escape from the daily grind, and her career goal. Her parents see things differently. "I have siblings who are active in sports," Amanda says, "and my parents would rather I play soccer or basketball. They don't see dance as something I can earn a stable living from in the future. They often tell me I should just quit."
Some parents aren't able to, don't know how to, or choose not to give you the kind of support you need to thrive in the studio. And when your parents are adding stress to your life, rather than alleviating it, there's a lot at stake. "Dancers who don't have the support of their parents might struggle with self-doubt," says Dr. Linda Hamilton, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and a clinical psychologist specializing in the performing arts, "while those whose parents are too involved can crack under the pressure." Whether your parents aren't there when you need them or they're always there, practically smothering you, try these tips to improve your situation.
On Friday night, the iconic RuPaul made history as the first drag queen ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And it didn't take long for the world's most fabulous RuPaul fan/one of our favorite human beings, Mark Kanemura, to commemorate his idol's accomplishment with—naturally—a WALK to end all walks.