You're obsessed with class videos. We're obsessed with class videos. The passion, energy, and talent showcased in these clips, which give us an insider-y peek at the commercial dance world's hottest classes, are totally irresistible.
But at what point does the phenomenon go from being a good thing to a bad thing for dancers and the dance world? Is the focus on filming distracting from the work dancers are supposed to be doing in class? Are overproduced videos presenting a dangerously misleading picture of the dance world? Is the pressure to be a class video star becoming too much for dancers to handle? These are some of the questions A-list dancer and choreographer Ian Eastwood—no stranger to the class video himself—has been asking on Twitter. And they've sparked a lively, important debate.
Everything former DS cover girl Kaycee Rice touches turns to viral. From doing Nike campaigns (she has her own collection and self-designed shoe with the brand!) to performing at the Super Bowl to crushing class videos with WilldaBeast and Tricia Miranda, Kaycee's always on the move—and she's always fierce, fun, and full-out.
Adagio. Marley. Rosin. Switch leap. You're more than familiar with a lot of theatrical-dance terminology. But do you know what an industrial is? A session fee? If you're looking to break into the world of commercial dance—think music videos, TV spots, promotional events—you'll need to learn, and fast. We asked some industry heavy-hitters to clue us in on what you'll need to know to book jobs and communicate like a pro on set.
Remember just a few days ago when we reminisced about all our favorite dance-based commercials, and got hyped about the new Shoe Carnival commercial featuring Fik-Shun and Simrin Player?
Well watch out, Shoe Carnival, because there's a new back-to-school block party rolling through the halls, thanks to Macy's and Chloé Arnold. The locker-clad setting evokes memories of Britney Spears singing "...Baby One More Time," but the dancing is straight-up old-school 90s hip hop and funk.
Choreographed by Syncopated Ladies frontwoman and tap sensation Chloé Arnold, the campaign showcases young (and so cute) dancers (like DS favorite Devin Neal) busting a move in the school hallways—much to the initial chagrin of the onlooking teacher (who, of course, ends up joining in on the fancy-footworked fun). The video was shot by Nigel Dick, an iconic 90s director, and is set to "Me Myself & I" by De la Soul.
We may not be ready to go back to school, but we are definitely ready to do some back-to-school shopping—and dancing! Check it out...
Forget Choreographer's Carnival—let's give it up for Shoe Carnival!
The shoe mega-retailer is the latest brand to jump head-first into the very smart and hugely entertaining "let's feature dancers in our commercials" venture. (See also Microsoft, Target, Under Armour, Microsoft again and Virgin America.)
The national television commercial, choreographed by Jamal Sims and directed by Tim Milgram, features just a few of our favorite hip-hoppers, including former DS cover girl Simrin Player, "So You Think You Can Dance" champion and All-Star Fik-Shun, Kaelynn Harris, Taylor Edgin, Josh Killacky, Richard "Lil Swagg" Curtis, Austin Spacy, BJ Das, Kaity Martinez and Marvin Ryan.
Fancy feet grooving in fresh footwear? Going back to school never looked so fun! Check it out.
Ever feel like the college dance world is geared exclusively toward concert dancers? There’s a brand-new school on the horizon for those seeking a dance degree with a slightly different vibe. Relativity School, based in L.A., will offer one of the few commercial dance BFAs in the country. The school will have a strong academic foundation, and business classes will supplement top-notch technical training.
Students at Relativity School's summer workshop (photo by Camila Ohara Tanabe)
Relativity School will have its own space at the L.A. Center Studios in southern California, where classrooms will be next door to film and television production studios. The program has also partnered with McDonald/Selznick Associates talent agency to develop courses to teach students how to market themselves. “As much as you train your technique, you need to train in how to brand yourself,” says co-founder VP Boyle.
Boyle plans to make use of MSA’s impressive talent roster, which includes celebs like Mia Michaels and Dave Scott. “MSA was instrumental in figuring out the dance program,” he says. “Some of today’s best directors and choreographers will be on faculty, and our guest choreographers are through the roof.”
Ballet has had its moments in rock and pop music videos, but it's not something that has been consistently successful—anyone remember Rihanna's ill-fated attempt to look good in pointe shoes? Let's face it: When music videos utilize ballet they're usually trying to appear more artsy, and in the process they can lose sight of their original point.
Still from "Time vs. Money"
Fortunately, Boston-based indie band The Bynars' new music video "Time vs. Money" proves that you can combine pop music and ballet without seeming contrived. In the video, Festival Ballet Providence dancers Kirsten Evans and Alex Lantz perform a whirling, quirky duet, choreographed by Viktor Plotnikov. The video was conceived and directed by Shaun Clarke, and is pitch-perfect: moody without being melodramatic and mysterious without obscuring the dancers' bodies. I especially love the sections where the dancers are completely silhouetted—their solid technique shines.
Still from "Time vs. Money"
The video reminds me of what might happen if you were magically transported to a dance party immediately after performing on stage—your adrenaline is still really high, you're exhausted, but you just can't stop, won't stop. Check it out below!
The Mob takes Miami in Step Up Revolution
The wait is over: The fourth Step Up installment (in 3-D, of course) is here! Step Up Revolution takes the fiercest dancers to the streets of Miami. Calling themselves The Mob, these hip hoppers, breakers, poppers and lockers use flash mobs to take down a wealthy businessman who’s threatening to destroy their neighborhood. Dance celebrities on set included Mia Michaels, tWitch, Misha Gabriel, Phillip Chbeeb and more. And one of our favorite former “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants, Kathryn McCormick, makes her acting debut as leading lady Emily! She dances opposite hunky Ryan Guzman, also a Hollywood newcomer. DS caught up with McCormick about her exciting first experience starring on the big screen.
Dance Spirit: How’d you land this awesome role?
Kathryn McCormick: It was the first acting audition I’d ever been on, and it was intimidating. When I get nervous, I ramble on and on, so afterward I felt completely embarrassed. But I kept getting callbacks! When I got the call saying I’d won the part, I was on the way to assist “So You Think You Can Dance.” I was in shock. I called my mom crying. She was like, “Did you get in a wreck? Are you okay?” I said, “I got the lead in the movie!” Then she started crying, and we had to hang up because we couldn’t understand each other. It was funny.
DS: Tell us about your relationship with co-star Ryan Guzman.
KM: Before this movie, Ryan had acted, but he had never danced. I think my time on “SYTYCD” helped me, because I’ve been in the position of working with someone who isn’t as experienced in a certain style. We connected as soon as we met, and we came to be really comfortable with each other. I helped him dance, and he helped me act.
DS: Do you have a favorite scene?
KM: My heart is in the contemporary duet with Ryan choreographed by Travis Wall, because that’s my style. But the most fun day for me was when we filmed Emily’s initiation into The Mob. It’s when you see her rebellious side come out for the first time. She’s dancing on tables in a restaurant, and she has a dress, mask and heels on. It was so much fun to be tossed around from dancer to dancer.
DS: What’s next for you? More movies?
KM: I don’t know where my life is going, but it will always have dance in it. I’m in acting classes, and I’m going to both acting and dancing auditions. On top of that, I’ve been doing a little motivational speaking. I’m not one to make too many plans, because so often, the things that actually happen are greater than anything I could have imagined. If you had asked me five years ago what I’d be doing, this wouldn’t have been on my list. I just put in the work, leave my heart open and see how it all lines up.
Mark your calendars! Step Up Revolution hits theaters July 27.