This past June, 32 teen dancers performed Panorama, Martha Graham’s classic work, at The Joyce Theater in NYC. The piece, which centers on the power of social activism, was featured in a Martha Graham Dance Company program.
The teens were granted this rare chance thanks to their participation in MGDC’s “All-City Panorama” project. Last December, the NYC-area teens auditioned for the six-month workshop. Starting in January, they spent each Saturday in classes and rehearsals.
Mariel Kennedy, a 16-year-old dancer from Watchung, NJ, tells DS she was thrilled to be a part of the program. She says the experience was “not just about dancing, but about understanding the dances and the messages behind them.” —Colleen Bohen
Harlequin Awards 20 Dance Scholarships
American Harlequin is making dance training more accessible for the 20 young dancers who were recently named winners of its annual scholarship contest.
Elise Budowanec, an 18-year-old dancer from The DNA of Dance in Independence, OH, received the top prize of $5,000, which she’ll use to attend Broadway Dance Center’s summer internship program in NYC.
Here are the other winners:
- Lynne Schabhetl, Bridgton, ME, Casco Bay Movers, $3,000
- Stephanie Terrell, San Antonio, TX, Kathy MarFin’s Dance School, $3,000
- Rachel Halliwell, Garden City, MI, Dance Express, $2,000
- Susan McNulty, Massapequa, NY, Body Language Dance Studio, $2,000
- Chelsey Rilatos, Grinnell, IA, Michelle’s Dance Academy, $2,000
- Jocelyn Bold, Janesville, WI, Dance Attitudes, $1,000
- Kenji Igus, Culver City, CA, University of California, Los Angeles, $1,000
- Emily Badeau, Manchester, NH, Dimensions In Dance, $500
- Whitleigh Cook, Pineville, NC, University of North Carolina, $500
- Kaitlin Finnegan, Toms River, NJ, Denise Daniele Dance Studio, $500
- Caitlyn Goggin, Southingon, CT, Evjen Academy of Performing Arts, $500
- Kara Heinz, San Antonio, TX, Earle Cobb Dance Studio, $500
- Grace Kernohan, Hollywood, FL, Dance Explosion, $500
- Tova Kline, Plano, TX, Rosemeade Rec Center, $500
- Lauren Lizewski, Severna Park, MD, Severna Park High School, $500
- Danielle Mattar, Flint, MI, Western Michigan University, $500
- Morgan Mylod, Riva, MD, South River High School, $500
- Radhika Patel, Newark, DE, Ghungroo Creations, $500
- Gina Toscano, Clarksboro, NJ, University of the Arts, $500
Want your own shot at some dance cash? Fill out an application for this year’s contest at harlequinfloors.com by November 1.—Jenny Thompson
D.A.R.E. Dance Celebrates 10 Years
D.A.R.E. Dance is celebrating a decade of working to keep American kids drug-free. The after-school program provides free dance lessons at 71 elementary and middle schools across the country.
Jill Roberts, D.A.R.E. Dance Director, says she created the program to “bring kids a free and positive alternative to drugs and gang violence at the end of the school day through a fun, healthy and expressive artform.” A dancer since childhood, Roberts is the former co-director of the Georgetown University Dance Company. She has performed with and choreographed for a variety of Washington, D.C.-based projects, including the 1999 D.C. Tap Festival and the CityDance Ensemble.
D.A.R.E. Dance has introduced more than 25,000 students to ballet, jazz, tap, African dance, hip hop and other styles. Classes are primarily taught by teachers from local dance studios and companies, but the program occasionally attracts such high-profile instructors as Kelly Isaac, from Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk and Riverdance; Javier Muñoz, from In the Heights; and Josh Walden, from Ragtime. D.A.R.E. Dance wasn’t created as a training ground for serious dancers, but it has inspired some students to seek preprofessional training. D.A.R.E. Dance students have won dance studio scholarships, and three L.A. students were even invited to perform with Future Shock, a youth company affiliated with Culture Shock, a professional hip-hop troupe! —Jenny
Gelsey Kirkland Opens Ballet School in NYC
Every ballerina understands the importance of great technique, but dancers in story ballets need more than perfect placement and pretty pirouettes—they also need to know how to act! Gelsey Kirkland, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, says the goal of the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, opening this fall in NYC, is to produce dancers who are trained “dance actors” as well as strong technicians.
Students at the Academy will study ballet technique, which will be supplemented with regular lessons in performance-enhancing skills, including pantomime, stage combat, prop usage and more. In total, they will take between three and seven hours of classes per day, six days per week.
The school has admitted dancers as young as 10, all of whom were selected at auditions held earlier this year. —Colleen
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.
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.