So Much Dance in NYC
Fall in NYC is the best. The leaves start to change, the air is crisp, I get to start wearing tights and boots again—and dance companies are in full swing with their fall seasons. It's my favorite time of year. Here are a few fabulous shows I've taken in recently:
Rock of Ages
See my earlier blog on this rockin' show, now starring Kerry Butler as Sherrie. Start to finish, this show is a great time. It's jam-packed with singalong classics, great dancing and tons of laughter.
I finally saw the Tony Award-winning sensation of the year! I have to be honest, I didn't know if it would live up to all this hype. But it did. The music was lively, the storyline was touching and Tommy Batchelor (who played the lead role of Billy that night) was adorable. This is a very family-friendly musical that kids and parents alike will enjoy. I especially liked "Electricity" and the rousing finale number. For more on Tommy and another new Billy, stay tuned for the December 2009 issue of DS!
This group is insane! I attended this hip-hop show at The Joyce (congrats to the group, by the way—eight shows, eight standing ovations!) and was blown away! It's so easy to see great breakdancing and freestyling these days on shows like "America's Best Dance Crew." But Groovaloo, a crew of super-talented dancers from L.A., really know how to tear it up. And they manage to tell a story throughout the dancing that's surprisingly emotional. You haven't seen headspins until you've seen them done by the flip-tastic members of Groovaloo. Fun fact: Several members of Groovaloo went on to form the Beat Freaks—more on both fab crews in the January 2010 issue of DS!
In the Heights
Yeah yeah, I've blogged about this before. I've seen it more than once. This is my all-time favorite show on Broadway and I would see it every single day if I could. Although I was sad that my favorite dancer, Luis Salgado, was absent from this night's performance, it was still as incredible as ever. And familiar face Will Wingfield has joined the cast as Graffiti Pete. He's all bulked up since his days on "So You Think You Can Dance" and looks stunning. Plus, who knew this superstar could sing?! His movement is sharp and precise and it's hard to take your eyes off him throughout the show.
The "So You Think You Can Dance" Tour
DS Style editor Lauren Levinson and I made the trek (OK, it was an 18 minute train ride, not exactly a trek) to Newark, NJ, for the "SYTYCD" tour last week. We were lucky enough to be able to hang out with a few of our favorite dancers before the show, so keep your eyes peeled on dancemedia.com for video interviews in the next few weeks. Jeanine, Ade, Melissa, Jason and Phillip were so fun to hang out with. We brought the October issue of Dance Spirit, which they immediately tore through. A shout out to Cover Model Search Ida Saki: They were thrilled you won! Ade even said he remembered you from a NYCDA event! We also showed Jeanine a sneak preview of her November cover and she went crazy over it. We hope you will, too!
Now happening in NYC: Fall for Dance! It's just $10 a show, so hurry up and try to get what's left of the in-demand tickets!
What's more daunting than getting into your dream college dance program? Figuring out how you'll cover the costs of tuition, room and board, incidental expenses and more. Here's the good news: The right scholarship(s) can bring your dream school well within reach.
Look Around, Look Around
Scholarship applications are due between the fall of senior year and graduation time, so familiarize yourself with funding opportunities during the spring of junior year. And there are a lot of opportunities out there, says Kate Walker, chair of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. "A lot of school guidance counselors now have software that automatically matches you with scholarships," she says.
Seek out scholarships on your own, too. According to Walker, "a lot of corporations are required to have some community engagement, including offering scholarships, so research corporations in your community." Your parents' employers might offer assistance too, says Doug Long, an academic and college counselor at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. "They might have scholarships you can apply for just because your parent works there."
Other sources of grant money you won't have to pay back (as you would a loan)? The YoungArts Foundation; competitions/conventions, like New York City Dance Alliance; and the university or dance department you're applying to. Even some scholarships aimed at athletes are open to dancers!
A winning scholarship application involves a fair amount of paperwork, especially if the organization requires you to show financial need. In addition, certain scholarships ask for the College Board's CSS/Financial Aid Profile, which gives the awarding organization a more complete picture of your family finances.
Other ingredients of a successful scholarship application include recommendation letters, a dance and/or academic resumé and an essay or statement of purpose. Treat these components just like college applications: Have multiple trusted adults proofread your materials, and ask for recommendation letters or transcripts long before deadlines.
A note for non-dance scholarships: Including objective measures of achievement can only help you. "List national recognitions, like YoungArts or other competitions," says Long. "That shows the scholarship committees that people at high levels have acknowledged you as an artist of quality." And don't forget who your audience is. "Especially in writing samples, make sure you paint a vivid picture for your reader," Walker says. "Don't assume they know about all the things—like barre every day—that we as dancers take for granted."
No award amount is too small to be worth your time and effort. As Walker says, "Don't pooh-pooh a couple hundred dollars in award money, because any scholarship is funding that you didn't have yesterday."
A version of this story appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "All Aboard the Scholar-ship."
Every ballet dancer knows the time, sweat, and occasional tears the art form demands. But many non-dancers are clueless about just how much work a ballet dancer puts into perfecting his or her dancing. So when the mainstream crowd recognizes our crazy work ethic, we'll accept the round of applause any way it comes—even if it comes via four men in tutus. Yep, we're talking about "The Try Guys Try Ballet" video.
Remember that fabulous old-school clip of dancers tapping in pointe shoes that Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo brought to our attention back in March? As we mentioned then, toe-tap dancing was actually super popular back in the 1920s and 30s—which means there are more videos where that one came from. And because #ToeTapTuesday has a nice ring to it, we thought we'd take this opportunity to introduce you to Dick and Edith Barstow, a toe-tapping brother and sister duo from that era who are nothing short of incredible:
Guess who's back? Back again? The Academy's back! Tell a friend.
After one day at The Academy, the All Stars have successfully taken the Top 100 down to 62. But their work is just getting started: Now they need to keep narrowing the field to a Top 10, ultimately deciding who each will partner with during the live shows.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is some SERIOUS #goals. Her strength and power onstage borders on superhuman. But what's extra magical about Mearns is that she really puts in the fitness and cross-training work outside of the rehearsal studio. And she's overcome her fair share of injuries. Which is why she was the perfect source for Vogue's latest ballet fitness story.