Technical mishaps, wardrobe malfunctions, run-ins with the scenery—we’ve all been there. Most dancers have had at least one cringe-worthy onstage moment. Here, nine professionals share theirs. You’ll laugh—and feel a little better about that time your tap shoe flew off and landed on the judges’ table!
Taylor Gordon, freelance ballet dancer:
A few years ago, as one of the ballerina bears in the “Nutcracker” scene of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, I was supposed to enter the stage out of a giant gift box that sat under the Christmas tree. But one night the box door got stuck. I stood inside in my full bear costume and pointe shoes, panicking as the music played and my cue went by. Almost an entire minute passed before a stagehand got the door open. I only caught the last 30 seconds of the dance, and most of that time was spent trying to find my mark!
Ephraim Sykes, Broadway veteran who will play Benny in the upcoming off-Broadway production of Rent:
It took some time to get used to the custom-made Heelys (shoes with wheels built into the heels) we wore to make it appear as if we were gliding underwater in The Little Mermaid on Broadway. My eel costume was hard to move in—it basically looked like a big green sleeping bag with two little leg holes in the bottom. One night, we reached the close of the eel number “I Want the Good Times Back,” and as I turned to skate offstage, I slipped and fell on my back. Between the costume and the wheels on my shoes, I kept losing my balance when I tried standing up. Finally, I had to crawl off the stage.
Sean Rollofson, corps de ballet dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet:
On closing night of the company’s production of Giselle, I was playing a peasant in the first act. I was supposed to sit in front of Giselle’s house during the vine gatherer scene, but as I sat, my light brown tights got caught on a fake plant. I was stuck, so I reached behind myself and gently pulled my tights off the branch. When I turned slightly to ask my friend if I had ripped my tights, he told me that I had a huge hole on my butt and that I was bleeding—I had cut my butt on Giselle’s plant life! I spent the rest of the act with ripped tights and bleeding slightly. I had a mark there for weeks!
Meghan Way, L.A.-based tap dancer:
My first performance with Gregg Russell’s company, Tap Sounds Underground, was at an outdoor venue, and the stage was so slippery that it felt like an ice skating rink. Everyone kept falling down around me, but I managed to keep going without slipping. I was so proud of myself for making it through that, in my excitement, I decided it would be cool to jump backwards off the stage to exit. I jumped with such force that I ended up falling back and landing in a bush. I was stuck and my fellow company members had to pull me out while everyone was watching. Ever since, my nickname within the company has been “Shrubs.”
Christina Ilisije, dancer in Parsons Dance:
Last fall, I performed “The Envelope” with the company. In one part, we have to act like spies and are dressed in black from head to toe—we even wear dark sunglasses, secured with strings that tie behind our heads. In rehearsal, I tied the string so tight that the glasses pressed into my eyes and made my eyes water so much that I couldn’t see. So when I performed, I left the glasses looser. During this particular performance, I left the glasses too loose and they kept falling off. I kept smacking them back into place whenever I got the chance, which made my eyes water and my black mascara run down my face. It was terrible—I couldn’t see and I kept hitting myself in the face.
Allyson Carr, ensemble dancer in Mamma Mia! on Broadway:
I was a senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in NYC when my dance class was asked to perform at the Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.—a televised event. We performed a high-energy, Latin-fusion dance with lots of partner work. During the performance, my partner and I did an around-the-world lift and he accidentally ripped my skirt off. I had shorts on underneath, but they had ridden up so much that they looked like a thong. To top it all off, I had to stand with my back to the audience for the final pose. I was mortified, and as soon as the audience started clapping I ran offstage with my hands covering my butt.
Keltie Colleen, dancer, choreographer and former Radio City Rockette:
During a show with the Rockettes, I accidentally pulled off my bloomers during a quick change. Just as I was about to walk onstage for my next dance, I realized my mistake. I quickly ran back to my dressing area to find my bloomers, but I still missed my entrance. I had to strut out mid-number to join the rest of the line. I got in big trouble, but I also had the entire cast and crew laughing their heads off.
Charity Baroni, dancer for Taylor Swift:
I was in Denver performing on Taylor Swift’s Fearless tour when I started gagging during the last song because I was gasping for air. The altitude there is so high that when you get out of breath it’s hard to recover. The dance was one of the hardest in the entire show because the choreography was fast and thrashy. I had almost made it to the end of the dance when I threw up in my mouth! I had about 30 seconds left, so I just tried to keep my mouth shut and finish the dance.
Kevin Aubin, swing in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark:
When I was a student at the School of American Ballet, I was asked to perform a character part in New York City Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty. I was supposed to stand still and act as a guard onstage for 20 minutes, holding a seven-foot spear and wearing about 60 pounds of armor. On opening night, my knees suddenly locked and I passed out onstage. As I came crashing down, my spear ripped one of the ballet dancer’s dresses. When I came to, a dancer in a huge wig and tights, fully in character, was dragging me offstage. I was so lost and confused. I felt like I had woken up in a different world, like Alice from Alice in Wonderland!
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.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
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.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.