Musical Theater

What’s the danciest, happiest, magic carpet-iest new musical on the Great White Way? That’d be Aladdin, which brings the classic Disney movie to colorful life, eight shows a week.

The musical features powerhouse performances by James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, Adam Jacobs as Aladdin and Courtney Reed as Jasmine. But it’s the soaring, tumbling, freewheeling dancers that make Aladdin truly sensational. Whether they’re twirling scarves in “Arabian Nights” or nailing a 42nd Street–style tap routine in “Friend Like Me,” these Broadway babies light up every moment of Casey Nicholaw’s gleefully over-the-top (and Tony-nominated!) choreography. They’re the muscle behind the magic.

That’s why we just had to feature four of Aladdin’s dancers on our cover. Unsurprisingly, ensemble members Daisy Hobbs and Ariel Reid and swings Lauryn Ciardullo and Jennifer Rias are just as brilliant in front of a camera as they are in front of an audience. Or as the song goes: More often than not, they’re hotter than hot—in a lot of good ways.

Can't get enough Aladdin? Click here for a look at what goes on behind the scenes!

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Musical Theater

We ain’t never had friends like the four swings—Mike Cannon, Lauryn Ciardullo, Michael Mindlin and Jennifer Rias—who showed us the cave of wonders behind the scenes at this spectacular show.

Photography by Matthew Murphy for Dance Spirit

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It seems like everyone is completely ballet-crazy right now—and we're totally okay with that. We've told you what's up (and what's coming) on the small screen and the big screen. We've given you the low-down on clothing collaborations, and on Misty Copeland's every move.

New York City Ballet in Justin Peck's "Everywhere We Go." (photo by Jessica Chou for Opening Ceremony)

Now, Opening Ceremony—the brand of choice for celeb it-girls—is in on the action. Their latest (and most awesome) blog post takes readers backstage at New York City Ballet during a performance of Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go. Opening Ceremony, being what it is, was drawn by Peck's collaboration with the musician Sufjan Stevens. That makes sense: cool kids and indie rockers have always gone hand-in-hand. But DS, being who we are, cannot get enough of these pictures!

The guys doing their makeup? The ladies banging their pointe shoes?! Amar Ramasar blasting rap music in the dressing room?!? We especially love those shots of the dancers from directly above. Well done OC.

Check it out!

Hannah as Olive Hoover (by Ballerini Cooley Studios)

Get ready, Broadway: There’s a new kid on the block!

This season on the Great White Way has been all about the oh-so-cute kids. Annie and Matilda are chock full of insanely talented munchkins—and other casts, including Kinky Boots and Motown: The Musical, have their own standout stars. But now, there’s a new triple-threat youngster in town, and she is so precious I can’t even handle it. She’s 9-year-old Hannah Nordberg, the star of Little Miss Sunshine, which opens off-Broadway next week at the Second Stage Theatre in NYC.

Hannah recently shot a backstage video, which may just be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She tours her tutoring room (“Because we have to learn. We can’t just not do school!”), shows off her collection of princess outfits (jealous!) and her teeny fat suit, and demonstrates her “ba-donk-a-donk” choreography. “It’s like a tiger on the ground,” she says. “I named it Lisa, because I think that’s a sexy grandpa name.” Whatever you say, Hannah!

In conclusion, I want to be her best friend. I bet you will, too, after watching this:

It's no secret we loved Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show. So naturally, we were dying to know more about the making of the production. We caught up with Just For Kix designer Alexandra Clough—who performed in the "Single Ladies" number and designed the leotards the dancers wore!—to get a behind the scenes look at the performance.

Five things you didn't know about the fiercest Super Bowl halftime ever:

1. "There were 74 dancers onstage during the "Single Ladies" number." 30 were Bey's dancers and 44 were dancers (mostly local New Orleans girls) who auditioned and scored a coveted spot.

2. "Beyoncé rehearses full-out. What you saw on TV was the same performance quality we saw in every practice." Okay, so maybe this isn't too surprising, but it makes sense: Kill it in rehearsal, perform it like a boss.

3. "Beyoncé is not a diva." Sure, she's got enough talent and star power to justify major diva status, but Alexandra says she was "very humble and down to earth."

4. "The whole cast only rehearsed together 5 times." Three of the practices were full dress rehearsals with everyone (including all of the fans that ran onto the field to their set places). Fun fact: It took 500 stage crew members to get the set on and off the field!

5. "The leotards I designed had a special pocket in the back for our radios and headphones." That's right, every dancer onstage wore ear pieces so they could clearly hear the music and dance together without fear of echoes or getting off count.

And no, Alexandra didn't get to meet baby Blue Ivy. (Of course, I asked.) She did, however, spot Jay-Z after the performance when they all posed for pics.

Now for a special treat. Check out this awesome vid of Bey and her dancer rehearsing for the big performance:

Having "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 winners Eliana and Chehon on Dance Spirit’s December cover is awesome—but it also makes me seriously miss my favorite TV show. Thank goodness for the “SYTYCD” Tour! The Top 12 dancers rolled through NYC this week, and the DS editors were obviously first in line at the theater.

The show was, in a word, amazing. Choreographer extraordinaire Mandy Moore has done it again, seamlessly weaving together all our favorite routines from the show (so many costume changes!). There’s Tiffany and Matthew’s romantic Titanic routine, the emotional “Eli, Eli” suitcase routine, hip-hop and ballroom numbers galore and all the Mia Michaels goodness you can handle. Plus, Nigel’s booming voice introduces solos from the Top 10, and each dancer shows off exactly what made us pick up the phone this season. To top it all off, the show ends with the entire cast coming together for the most explosive version of “Gangnam Style” we’ve ever seen!

After the performance, we got the chance to show the dancers our December cover for the first time—and talk to them about what life is really like on the tour bus. Check it out:

Don’t miss your chance to see these dancers live! Click here to see upcoming tour dates and get tickets. 

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