Dance News

School Buzz: Students Storm 20th NHSDF

Students Storm 20th NHSDF

Miami may be a big destination for college students on spring break, but for one weekend this month, high school dancers will take over the city. More than 1,500 students from roughly 100 high schools across the country will participate in this year’s National High School Dance Festival (NHSDF). The event, designed to give students the chance to showcase their talents and to learn from esteemed choreographers, will be held at Miami’s New World School of the Arts March 18–21.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the NHSDF, which gives 9th- through 12th-graders a chance to sample a range of styles from the festival’s more than 120 classes. Participants will try everything from African to salsa and hip hop, plus a variety of non-dance classes including massage, stretch and nutrition.

Robert Battle is guest-teaching this year and his Battleworks Dance Company will perform at the opening gala. Students will also get to work with other notable teachers such as former Mark Morris Dance Group dancer Teri Weksler.

Beyond the classroom, the festival will feature six concerts, including a competitive student choreography showcase. There will also be scholarship opportunities for juniors and seniors. —Jenny Thompson

Purchase Honors Paul Taylor

This month, Purchase College is presenting Paul Taylor with a Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts (Merce Cunningham received the award in 2007).

The college has selected 79-year-old Taylor based on his lifetime of achievement in dance (his diverse body of work consists of 131 pieces, including the joyful favorite Esplanade), his ongoing relationship with the school and the way he has embraced other art forms. In addition to dance, Taylor also paints and has written an autobiography, Private Domain.

“Paul Taylor represents an ideal role model,” says Carol K. Walker, professor, international coordinator and former dean of the State University of New York’s Purchase School of the Arts. “He worked from the ground up, and through motivation, dedication and an incredible amount of talent, reached the pinnacle.”

Taylor has collaborated with Purchase for more than 20 years. He has staged several of his works on the Purchase Dance Corps and has given the company permission to take his work on tour to Hong Kong, Thailand and France. In 1988, the school awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. —Ashley Rivers

Wesleyan Hosts DanceMasters Weekend

Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, is hosting its 11th annual DanceMasters Weekend March 6 and 7. Attendees will have the chance to take a variety of master classes and watch a performance by Taylor 2.

This year’s teachers include Alvin Ailey’s Troy Powell, Merce Cunningham’s Andrea Weber and hip-hop dancer Moncell Durden, among others.

“The mission of DanceMasters is to introduce dance students to contemporary techniques with the hopes that they gain an understanding of the breadth and depth of what is out there in the dance world,” says Pamela Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts.

The event, which has sold out for the past 10 years, is open to the public. Classes are $19 each ($17 if you take four or more). To register, visit wesleyan.edu/cfa/dancemasters. —Colleen Bohen

Win It
Photos by Erin Baiano

It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.

Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.

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All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.

From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.

Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.

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Dear Katie,

I know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?

Marisa

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Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.

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That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.

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