Well, the moment we've been dreading has arrived: Yesterday, Newsies ended its Broadway run, after its 1,005th show. Of course, this isn't the show's true ending(!), Newsies kicks off its national tour this October. Still, the closing was an incredible event. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at the Nederlander Theater, and while the afternoon ended on a teary note, the show couldn't have gone out with a bigger bang. Here are just a few of the ingredients that helped make the final performance so spectacular:
5. The fans. Newsies held a lottery for a limited number of tickets to the final show. This is how many #Fansies showed up:
4. Sitting with celebs. To quote an awestruck (and totally correct) girl sitting behind me, I got to "share the same breathing air" with former Newsies dancers—including Alex Wong, Ryan Steele, JP Ferreri, Mike Faist, Ryan Breslin and Jess LeProtto. Oh, and also director Jeff Calhoun and choreographer Christopher Gattelli.
3. The dancers' energy. It's been a long time since I've seen so many dancers on one stage give as much love to the choreography as the guys did yesterday. Every battement was 180-degrees. Every back flip went soaring.
Every split jump by every dancer literally looked like this:
Iain Young (photo by Matthew Murphy)
Which brings me to number 2...
2. The standing ovations. The audience (starting with my crew in rows D–F) leapt to its feet after every deserving number—which, of course, was all of them. The energy in the theater was buzzing.
1. The final curtain call. There was not a dry eye in the house—or onstage. It was heart wrenching—and heart warming!—to watch Newsies come to a close, especially since many members of the current cast had been part of it since day one. (I'm looking at you, Aaron Albano!) And after the final bow by Corey Cott (you know him as Jack Kelly), the creative team also walked onstage to take a bow, and everyone totally lost it.
Take a look at the last dance number and curtain call, and I dare you not to tear up, too:
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:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.