No matter the style, 12-year-old Sean Lew attacks every movement with technique and flair. Sean landed his first professional gig dancing on “Glee” at age 8, and has since appeared on “The X Factor” and the Kids’ Choice Awards. Last September, a video of Sean dancing a Miguel Zarate combination to Lady Gaga’s “Applause” went viral, making him an overnight sensation. More recently, Sean has taken his talents to the road, touring the U.S. with The PULSE On Tour as an Elite Protégé.
"If you ever have a dream, no matter your age, don’t let anyone put you down. Never give up until you reach that goal."
(Photo by Miya Lew)
Birthday: November 25, 2001
Hometown: Walnut, CA
Studio: Mather Dance Studio
Who would play him in a movie? “I would audition for the role, of course!”
Favorite food: “My mom’s cooking.”
Hidden talent: “A lot of people don’t know I’m also a choreographer.”
His go-to stress reliever: “Playing basketball with my dad, and hanging out with my family in general, really helps me take my mind off things.”
Favorite dance movie: Step Up 3D
Dream dance role: “I’d love to have my own TV show or to perform with any huge artist.”
Harry Shum Jr., who we've been stalking for years—first as a nameless silhouette in an iPod commercial, then as Mike Chang on "Glee," then as artistic director, choreographer and dancer for "The LXD"—has done it again.
In a YouTube-video-gone-viral, "If you are in a shell...," Harry is surrounded by colorful paints and dust, and he dances to a heart-wrenching voiceover by performance artist Ze Frank.
"This is Harry. As a boy, Harry was very, very shy," he says. "If you right now are in a shell, you should know that you're not alone. That there are many people like you, and that there is nothing wrong with you."
For those who have been bullied, those who feel socially awkward or those who are just having a tough day, his message may be the inspiration you need. Check it out, and prepare to be moved:
Every high school has one—or, if it's lucky, more than one: The Cool Teacher™.
You know who I'm talking about. She's the chemistry whiz who's unafraid to show her love for Lady Gaga. Or the history buff who brings in cheese feasts for his AP classes (seriously—that was the signature move of my high school's Cool Teacher).
But the students of A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas, TX, are luckier than most. Because their Cool Teacher, theater/arts guru Scot Pankey? He's choreographing color-coordinated hallway dance parties to Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk."
And if that sounds like "Glee" to you, it's because it basically is. Mr. Pankey even looks like Mr. Schue. (And if you watch the video carefully, you can totally pick out the Rachel Berry of the group. Oh, Rachel.)
The resulting video is five minutes of pure unadulterated joy. Even the kids who don't seem all that into this dancing stuff can't keep themselves from smiling.
Go ahead: Let them uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.
Courtney Galiano at the 2013 BEAT MS Dance Walk
(photo via The Beat MS)
L.A. friends: Mark your calendars for the second annual BEAT MS Dance Walk, happening September 13th. Spend a day movin’ and groovin’ alongside some of your favorite dancers, all while raising awareness about multiple sclerosis. But even if you’re not on the West Coast, this event is something we can all get behind.
In 2011, “So You Think You Can Dance” All-Star Courtney Galiano was diagnosed with MS—a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system. Despite the challenge she faces, Galiano hasn’t let MS bring her down. She and her brother, Philip Byron, established the foundation BEAT MS (the name is a play on her family’s dance convention, The BEAT Dance Tour), and last year hosted the first BEAT MS Dance Walk to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2013, the BEAT MS Dance Walk in L.A. raised over $62,000 for MS research.
We caught up with Galiano about this year's walk.
Dance Spirit: The first BEAT MS walk welcomed so many dance celebs—Adam Shankman, Mark Kanemura, Comfort Fedoke, Kathryn McCormick, Jeanine Mason and dancers from “Americans Best Dance Crew” and “Glee.” Are you expecting more star participants this time around?
Courtney Galiano: Last year we had over 600 people walk, and we want to continue to get as many people involved as possible. There will be lots of dancers from “SYTYCD” (including season 7 winner Lauren Froderman), dancers from VH1's “Hit the Floor” and cast members from the musical Hair—including Kristen Bell—which I just performed in at the Hollywood Bowl.
DS: So far, what have been the most rewarding aspects of the BEAT MS?
CG: Being surrounded by so much love and support, and meeting people who share my passions and challenges. I’ve been amazed at the number of young people fighting MS. It often seems like there’s a stigma associated with the disease—people are scared to say they have it. Through BEAT MS, I’m hoping to break that stigma, because there's nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. I think the lack of discussion about MS stems from a lack of knowledge, so I hope the walk helps raise awareness and educate people.
DS: Since your diagnosis with MS in 2011, have your career goals changed?
CG: Not at all. I have good days and bad days, but sometimes I forget I even have MS. Fatigue is the biggest symptom I have to fight. I’m thankful every day for the determination that dance has instilled in me. Plus, dance really helps fight the disease: Medical professionals have started prescribing dance classes for people with MS and similar diseases that affect mobility. It just goes to show you how powerful dance really is!
DS: Is there a way for those who can't attend the walk in L.A. to get involved?
CG: Of course! You can make donations on our website, or even start your own team and recruit other people to join on social media. Anything that spreads awareness about this event and the disease helps.
If you’re in Georgia, Texas, New Jersey or Florida and want to get involved, you can also check out The BEAT Dance Tour convention—a portion of every registration is donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
I'll admit it: I'm addicted to the radio show "This American Life." I've listened to almost every one of its hour-long episodes (that's a little under 530 hours of my life); I've read countless books written by its contributors; I've watched its short-lived TV series on Showtime; and I've attended live events related to the show. I literally can't get enough.
(L to R) Anna Bass, Ira Glass and Monica Bill Barnes in Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.
(photo David Bazemore)
And much to my delight, the show has been getting even more satisfying in recent years—"TAL" is getting its dance on.
Back in 2012, host Ira Glass teamed up with downtown choreographer Monica Bill Barnes. She performed on a live episode of the show (which was then broadcast on air), and she choreographed one of the most touching dance-with-text works I've ever seen for the late author David Rakoff. (Grab a tissue before you press play.) Glass and Barnes have been collaborating ever since; the two are currently touring a stage show called Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.
Fast-forward to 2014, and "TAL" decided to try something completely new. On June 7, the radio show took to the Brooklyn Academy of Music stage to perform a live show, complete with dance, opera, musical theater and vocal performances. Spoiler alert: The musical section was AMAZING. With help from Broadway choreographer Lorin Latarro, In the Heights' Tony winning lyricist and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda and Wicked star Lindsay Mendez, the "TAL" 2012 radio piece "21 Chump Street" came to life as a full-fledged musical theater extravaganza.
Anthony Ramos (center) and the cast of 21 Chump Street: The Musical
(photo Adrianne Mathiowetz)
21 Chump Street: The Musical follows a Florida-based high school honors student who gets into trouble with the law after he falls for an undercover cop (posing as a kid), who was stationed at the school to catch students selling drugs. You just gotta watch it. Take a look at the beginning of the musical section below:
Picture this: You have a paper due tomorrow that you still haven't started. It's been a crazy day—seven hours of school followed by six hours of dance—and you're finally sitting down at your computer. It's go time. But after staring at a blinking cursor for ten minutes, you realize the words just aren't coming out.
We've all been there, right? Those night-before cram sessions are the pits. But our good friend Harry Shum Jr. (aka Mike Chang on "Glee") has the perfect solution: dance!
In his new video, "The Lonely Writer," Harry shows us what it would look like to brainstorm for a paper (in this case a short story) through dance. It's goofy, creative and fun—everything we've come to expect from this L.A. dance star. Check it out:
Now please excuse us while we try out this brainstorming method for the next issue of Dance Spirit!
Quick: Name a dance-y movie or TV show. Chances are Britt Stewart was featured in it. The Colorado native has performed in all three High School Musical movies, Fame, No Strings Attached and Teen Beach Movie. Her TV credits include “Bunheads,” “Glee” and “Dancing Fools.” Plus, she’s rocked out behind Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Janet Jackson, The Veronicas, Vanessa Hudgens and, most recently, Katy Perry. Want to know more about this hard-working, versatile dancer? Read on for The Dirt. —RZ
(courtesy Britt Stewart)
What did you want to be when you were a kid? "A pediatric surgeon"
Performer you would drop everything to see: "Prince--I think he is brilliant as an artist and a performer."
Must-see TV show: "Grey's Anatomy--I've been a fan since Season 1."
Who is your dance crush? "Patrick Swayze"
Favorite movie: "Dirty Dancing of course!"
Biggest guilty pleasure: "watching cooking shows"
Something most people don’t know about you: "I still have to wear my retainer at night...shhhh!"
Who would play you in a movie? "Kerry Washington"
What are your pet peeves? "Water around my bathroom sink--I know it's weird!"
What’s your most embarrassing onstage moment? "I split my pants while filming a scene in the film No Strings Attached."
What has been your proudest career moment so far? "dancing for Janet Jackson"
October 31 is only four days away! But don't freak out if you haven't chosen a costume yet. DS has got you covered. Here are some dance-y costume ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. The cast of "Glee"! The show is coming to an end soon, so don't miss this chance to portray ditzy Cheerio Britney S. Pierce or preppy Rachel Berry. (Photo courtesy FOX)
2. Flash back to the 80s for a "Flashdance: The Musical"-inspired look. Only dancers can look this good in head-to-toe spandex. (Photo of Jakob Karr by DRGphotography)
3. Newsies. Seize the day in a plaid shirt, suspenders and newsboy cap. Add a rolled-up newspaper to complete the look. (Photo by Deen Van Meer)
4. The Abby Lee Dance Company. Looking the part of this "Dance Moms" crew only requires your favorite matching Jo+Jax shorts and top. Cold in those tiny outfits? Throw on a hot pink sweatsuit. (Photo by Scott Gries)
5. The many looks of Beyoncé. Because who didn't watch Baddy Bey's Pepsi commercial over and over on repeat?
6. The Bellas from Pitch Perfect. Get all done up in an up-do and scarf. Then get your girlfriends together to rehearse your harmony and synchronized moves.
7. "Revolting Children" from Matilda the Musical. Create your uniform with a grey blazer and sweater vest. Don't forget to practice your British accent! (Photo by Joan Marcus)
8. The Mob from Step Up Revolution. A classic black suit + killer dance moves = best group Halloween costume idea ever.
9. The next generation of hip hop! Channel our November cover stars in harem pants and a ton of accessories. (Photos of Emily Hoffman, Simrin Player, Taylor Knight and Jordyn Jones by Erin Baiano)
10. What does the fox say? Ring-ding-ding-ding dingeringeding.