"SYTYCD" Celebrates Mamma Mia Michaels
I'm guessing most of you are already pretty psyched to watch "So You Think You Can Dance" tonight, seeing as the show has been off the air for the past two weeks in deference to the Olympics. But there's another reason to get excited: Tonight's episode will also be a special tribute to the one, the only, Mia Michaels.
What would "SYTYCD" be without Mamma Mia? Many talented choreographers have earned national fame thanks to the show, but it was Michaels (along with Wade Robson—come back, Wade!) who took the limited "SYTYCD" format and stretched it into something much bigger, something truly significant (and, frequently, something Emmy-worthy). Her pieces bring out the best in the "SYTYCD" dancers, who describe working with her as a transformational experience. Mia's been off doing some very impressive things recently—starring in Step Up Revolution and making moves for Tom Cruise, to name just a couple—but here's hoping she never gets too busy for "SYTYCD." I think a lot of us will always consider it her home.
Tonight we'll see a new group number, choreographed by Michaels, of course. Then the Top 14 will perform seven of her classic routines from past seasons. If you'd like to refresh your memory before the show—or if you just want to watch some beautiful dance—here are the memorable Mia pieces that'll be revived tonight. Enjoy!
Lacey & Neil
Katee & Joshua
"Mercy," aka "The Door Piece"
Katee & Twitch
“Dreaming with a Broken Heart,” aka "The Bed Piece"
Kherington & Twitch
“Calling You,” aka "The Bench Piece"
Travis & Heidi
“Gravity,” aka "The Addiction Piece"
Kayla & Kupono
“Koop Island Blues,” aka "The Butt Piece"
Randi & Evan
Kalani Hilliker made "Dance Moms" fans sit up a little straighter when she first appeared on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" back in 2013. The then–12-year-old ballerina had charisma, she had sass—and, wow, did she have technique! Abby Lee Miller, the show's infamous host, saw Kalani's star potential from the start, saving her from elimination and ultimately inviting her to perform alongside Maddie Ziegler on Season 4 of "Dance Moms." "I was never supposed to be on 'Dance Moms' beyond that one performance," says Kalani, now 16, but she ended up staying on the show for the whole season—and the following three. "It was my first time, but not my last time, causing drama. And it was also the first time I got to meet the other dancers, who have become like sisters."
You may already know Apolla Shocks are able to replace your current footwear and dance shoes because of the durability, aesthetics, and traction, BUT there are many other reasons to ALWAYS keep a pair in your dance bag. BESIDES wearing them in class or onstage:
Move over, Sergei Polunin*: There's a new ballet heartthrob in town.
Well, not "new," exactly: The fabulously talented Isaac Hernández has been a lead principal with the English National Ballet since 2015, and previously danced with Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. (He's also part of a distinguished dance family: You met his brother, SFB corps member Esteban, in our March issue roundup of up-and-coming danseurs.)
But a dreamy new video by filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz—"Despertares" [Wake Up], featuring Hernández dancing in studios and on rooftops all over NYC—makes a strong case for this beautiful dancer becoming your next ballet crush:
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In an audition or onstage, knowing how to use eye contact appropriately is a total game changer. Dancers who aren't afraid to meet the eyes of judges or audience members exude a special confidence that allows them to be seen as capable, talented performers. When dancers look at the floor or around the room, though, they telegraph insecurity. Don't send your critics looking for flaws! Avoid these three no-no's and become a true master of eye contact.
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A few days ago, Demi Lovato dropped by Jojo Gomez's class at Millennium to see what Gomez had made of her hit "Sorry Not Sorry." Gomez's 🔥 choreo—and the incredible performances by some of Hollywood's best dancers/most devoted Lovatics, including Kaycee Rice—didn't disappoint.
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To make sure your next dance photoshoot is as 🔥 as you are, we asked photographer Kenneth Edwards for his dos and don'ts. Follow his advice and your dance photography future will be as bright as your "golden hour" lighting.