Kathryn McCormick first won our hearts with her captivating contemporary moves and girl-next-door relatability on Season 6 of "So You Think You Can Dance," where she made it to the top three. Since then, she's returned for seven more seasons as an All Star and, last summer, gave viewers all the feels when she mentored rising dancer Tate McRae. An Augusta, GA, native, McCormick started dancing at age 3 and moved to L.A. at 18. She performed a leading role in Step Up Revolution and danced in Fame, and has worked with choreographers including Stacey Tookey, Travis Wall, and Teddy Forance. Currently, you can catch her touring with DanceMakers, where she's on faculty. —Courtney Bowers

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For an aspiring ballerina, there's no more exciting place to be than the ABT Studio Company, the pre-professional arm of American Ballet Theatre. The NYC-based troupe of 16- to 20-year-old dancers trains hard and performs harder, putting on multiple shows over the course of each season. We followed ensemble member Léa Fleytoux, a gifted 18-year-old from Paris, France, on a performance day to get an inside look at what it's like to live the Studio Company life.

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In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.comfor a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a good "posing" dancer—I can make pretty lines—but once I start really moving, things fall apart. It's like all the individual pieces of my technique are good, but they don't add up to good dancing. How can I connect the dots?

Amelia

Dear Amelia,

Lucky you! I'm sure many of your classmates wish they had your beautiful lines. But it sounds like you need to build your strength. Good muscle control is what will allow you to maintain those pretty shapes while you're dancing. Start by focusing on your core. A strong core can improve everything else—once it's solid, you won't feel so "wonky." Look into Pilates, which strengthens while creating long, lean muscles.

In terms of your technique, watch the in-between steps. A glissade is just as important as a grand jeté. Those connecting steps are what make a series of poses into a dynamic dance. It's all in the details!


For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

Dancer to Dancer

For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.

I started dance classes at a young age. By the time I was 3, I was training at The Dance Club, and I grew up there. I started with the basics—ballet and jazz—and eventually added tap, tumbling, contemporary, and hip hop.

Early on, I did compete. I remember my first time: I did a trio at a small local competition, and it got first place. The trophy was as tall as I was, and I loved it. I attended conventions as a mini, and had the opportunity to take classes from Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Andy Pellick, and Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh. There was so much variety—I was in awe.

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Dancer to Dancer

For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.

My mom was a dancer growing up, and she went on to become a dance teacher, so I've really grown up in the studio. I started classes when I was 2, and by the time I was 9, I was training at The Dance Club and knew I wanted to dedicate all my time to dance.

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Dance News

Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.

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Dancer to Dancer

When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.

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Dancer to Dancer

Low on dancewear inspiration? Return to the classics in bold black and elegant white.

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