Quiz: Lights, Camera, Dance!
a) Something by Tchaikovsky—you’re all about classical!
b) A smooth R&B jam
c) Fiery salsa music
d) Hard-hitting rap
2. Your friends can always count on you to:
a) help them drill choreography.
b) listen when they need advice.
c) stick up for them.
d) come through in a tough situation.
3. Pick your favorite quote:
a) “I just want to be perfect.”
b) “I’ll dance in circles, probably around you.”
c) “Tomorrow is one more day
I get to dance.”
d) “One move could set a whole generation free!”
4. Your favorite dancing duo is:
a) Odette and Prince Siegfried from Swan Lake
b) Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing
c) real-life and onstage couple Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky from American Ballet Theatre
d) joined-at-the-hip choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, aka NappyTabs
5. What’s your dance dream?
a) Becoming a principal ballerina in a major company
b) Getting into Juilliard
c) Dancing professionally in NYC
d) Battling it out on “America’s Best Dance Crew”
6. What makes you most upset?
a) Messing up in class
b) Blowing a big audition
c) Not being noticed for your talents
d) Letting your dance team or crew down
7. Your dance bag isn’t complete without:
a) pointe shoes
b) your iPod
c) a pack of gum
d) a pair of Chuck Taylors
8. The three words that describe you are:
a) dedicated, fragile, intense
b) caring, sensitive, passionate
c) bold, brassy, loyal
d) flirty, fun, determined
9. When you go to a carnival, you head straight for the:
a) ferris wheel. It’s not scary and gives you time to take a deep breath and relax.
b) photo booth. It’s so much fun to take silly pictures with your boyfriend.
c) dunk tank. Your fastball is killer!
d) largest rollercoaster. Why not take a ride on the wild side?
10. If you could change one thing about yourself, you would:
a) ease up on your perfectionist tendencies.
b) stop being so serious and have a little fun!
c) try to keep your attitude in check.
d) be more honest with the people you love.
Mostly A’s: Nina from Black Swan
No doubt about it, dance is your life. Like Nina, you’re super-serious about succeeding. You put 100 percent into every class, every rehearsal, every performance. While your dedication helps you progress, remember that it’s not good to put too much pressure on yourself. (Life’s short—just ask Nina!) Don’t forget to let loose once in a while and enjoy life. Your dancing will thank you for it!
Mostly B’s: Sara from Save the Last Dance
From ballet to hip hop, you’re down with all kinds of dance, just like Sara. Though performing is definitely your first love, your crush probably isn’t far behind. Your caring, loyal nature draws others to you and makes them want to support you. You believe in others, but you also believe in yourself—a quality that will help you achieve whatever you set your mind to. And with all of your talents, that could be anything from dancing backup for Rihanna to performing with American Ballet Theatre.
Mostly C’s: Eva from Center Stage
Your name should be next to “feisty” in the dictionary. Just like Eva, you’re not afraid to tell it like it is. Your personality is larger than life and—big shocker—you love to be the center of attention. And that’s often the case, because you shine when you perform, whether you’re tearing up the dance floor at a club or nailing a difficult pas de deux. Just remember that big talent doesn’t have to come with a big ego. A dose of humility will help you soar even higher.
Mostly D’s: Natalie from Step Up 3D
You feel most alive when you’re battling it out on the dance floor with your crew. You and Natalie are both fiercely competitive and, as diehard B-girls, you’ll both do whatever it takes to bring home a win. Sometimes you feel torn between all of your commitments. But don’t worry—you’ll find a way to make it work. After all, with your boundless energy and determination, it’s hard to hold you down once you put on those dancing shoes!
Photos from top to bottom: Sharni Vinson (center) as Natalie in Step Up 3D, Courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers with Benjamin Millepied in Black Swan, Courtesy Fox Searchlght Pictures; Zoe Saldana (far left) as Eva Rodriguez in Center Stage, Courtesy Paramount Home Entertainment; Julia Stiles as Sara in Save the Last Dance, Courtesy Summit Entertainment
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.