Dance News

Has there ever been any news as #TGIF-worthy as this? Earlier this morning, Season 2, Episode 1 of American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside's hilarious/fascinating/straight-up genius podcast "The Stage Rightside with James Whiteside" was released!

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There's pretty much no better duo than American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside. Not only are the two principals insanely talented dancers, but they're also BFFs—and it 100% shows when they dance together, like in this new beautiful NOWNESS video.

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Would you like to absolutely drown in beauty today? Yes? Of course you would. And we've got just the video for you: "Now More Than Ever," created by Ezra Hurwitz for the Ballet Across America festival, which is currently underway in D.C. The four-minute fantasia features American Ballet Theatre stars Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera, James Whiteside, Marcelo Gomes and Calvin Royall III performing ravishing bits of choreography in, on and around the historic Kennedy Center.

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Dance News

Here is a sentence that will immediately brighten your day: American Ballet Theatre principal/#queen James Whiteside—or, rather, his pop-art alter ego, JbDubs—just released a music video that is, and here we are quoting directly from the YouTube description, "an homage to his life in NYC, Britney Spears, and 90s competition jazz."

Friends, it is exactly as magical as those 13 words make it sound.

"NYC Piece of Me" cleverly retools Britney's "Piece of Me" with lyrics about Whiteside's own experiences ("I'm Mr. 'Who is this queen?' since I was 17, don't matter if I'm Prince Siegfried or JB in them red high heels"). But the real highlight is, unsurprisingly, the dancing.

Why? First, because Whiteside's choreo pays cheeky tribute to his early days as a comp kid/jazzerina (Luigi warmups!), which, YUP YUP YUP. But also because his co-stars in the video are ABT's Jeffrey Cirio, Courtney Lavine, Calvin Royal III and Cassandra Trenary. And while we already knew they could do things like this...

...we didn't know they could do things like THIS:

We will never, ever tire of seeing super-classical dancers getting in touch with their nasty selves. Especially when it turns out they're really good at it.

Happy #TutulessTuesday!

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Dance News

Recovering from a major sugar hangover right now? Here, this'll make you feel better: Gaze in wonder at the Halloween costumes American Ballet Theatre's dancers pulled out yesterday, which are seriously, seriously on point(e).

Yes, we know—we already did our "best of" Halloween roundup. We already talked about the amazing Maddie thing that Heidi Klum did on "Ellen." But some late-arriving social media posts make a strong case for ABT as the official winner of Halloween 2016.

We'll start with the sweet: husband-and-wife team Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky as Yoko Ono and John Lennon. So many #relationshipgoals:

Let's progress to the (literally) cheeky, aka principal Jeffrey Cirio as Tom Cruise in Risky Business:

A video posted by Jeffrey Cirio (@jeffreycirio) on

Most committed goes to Halloween queen James Whiteside in A+ drag as Natalia Makarova, complete with pointe shoes:

Soloist Cassandra Trenary's Ethan Stiefel/Cooper Nielson impression—including a Charlie cameo!—was truly inspired:

And the all-around winner? That'd be Erica Lall, who ABSOLUTELY NAILED Aunt Viv from "Fresh Prince," good lord:

A video posted by Erica Lall (@erica_lall) on

Bonus: While we didn't get a peek at Misty Copeland's costume, she did repost this adorable little ballerina-in-the-making's Misty ensemble. D'awwwwww!

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Every year, Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado plays host to some of our all-time favorite dancers and choreographers. The rep is always incredible, as is the location—the picturesque mountains, flowers and fields of Vail are a stunning backdrop for this event. This year was no exception, with plenty of new premieres (seven, to be exact) and lots of familiar faces. We've rounded up the best Instagram videos from the festival, so if you didn't make it out to Colorado, you can still witness the #awesomeness of these dancers.

Tiler Peck and James Whiteside in Duo Concertant

Isabella Boylston and Joseph Gordon in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas De Deux

BalletX, Isabella Boylston and Zachary Catazaro killing it in Show Me, a new work by Matthew Neenan

Joseph Gordon's casual skills #whatever

More behind the scenes of Show Me

Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell rehearse for a stunning new premiere

 

(Videos via Vail International Dance Festival's Instagram and Nel Shelby's Instagram)

Dance News

Dancers dominate on Halloween. I mean, we're used to dressing up: Practically half of our life is spent putting on tights, leotards and more just to get ready for class—and the other half is spent onstage, working it in the craziest of get-ups. Of course, some dancers do Halloween in the best way possible. We've spent hours scouring the interwebs for the best of the best costumes. Here are our favorites:

First, we have American Ballet Theatre principals Marcelo Gomes and Isabella Boylston (we love Boylston's take on Maddie Ziegler):

Here are five Miami City Ballet dancers—I mean, Cruella De Vil and four adorable dalmatian pups:

 

And here's Dance Spirit 2014 Cover Model Search finalist Alyssa Allen being the best Waluigi we've ever seen:

A photo posted by Yolyssa Allen (@alyssallen_) on

 Then there's James Whiteside bringing it way back as "Jazzman," complete with a Flashdance-inspired routine to '80s anthem "What a Feeling." Seriously, these ABT principals know how to get down.

Finally, feast your eyes on on mini-Sonya Tayeh, mini(er)-Maddie Ziegler and mini-MJ, brought to you by @Dance_CAB (Cameron Voorhees, Austyn Johnson and Bella Voorhees from Evolve Dance Complex). This is everything.

Happy Halloween!

Some professional dancers can pinpoint the exact second they were inspired to pursue a career in dance. Others feel they’ve known all along. We asked nine pros to share when they decided to devote their lives to dance.

Whiteside in Don Quixote (photo by Marty Sohl)

 

James Whiteside

Principal, American Ballet Theatre

“When I was 12, I fell in love with old Broadway films, like Funny Girl and West Side Story. At that point, I knew I wanted to be on Broadway. I didn’t know how, or when, or why—I just knew I was going to have to work like crazy to get there. So I came up with my grand scheme: I would start in ballet, then move to Broadway—and then take over the world!”

 

 

(Photo by Mathieu Young/FOX)

 

 

Alexis Juliano

“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10 contestant

“I started dancing when I was 2, and by the time I was 11 or 12, I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I would watch the movie Tap, and get inspired by Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines and Savion Glover to take my tapping all the way to the top.”

 

 

Cunliffe (left) in Pippin (photo by Joan Marcus)

 

 

Colin Cunliffe

Dancer in Pippin on Broadway

“I had two main moments that made me realize I wanted to be a dancer. First, when I was 6, I saw my brother performing in a local theater troupe in Denver, CO. While watching him sing and dance onstage, I had this crystal-clear idea of what I wanted to do—I wanted to move to NYC and be on Broadway. Then, when I saw Bob Fosse’s ‘Rich Man’s Frug,’ I knew I wanted to be a Fosse dancer.”

 

(Photo by Nika Shneyder)

 

Riquel Olander

“America’s Best Dance Crew” alum, member of We Are Heroes crew

“I grew up studying at a dance studio in Idaho where there were no hip-hop classes. It wasn’t until I visited my sister in L.A. at 16 that I experienced popping, waving and all different kinds of hip hop. That trip was my great awakening.”

 

 

 

(Photo by Christopher Duggan)

Camille A. Brown

Artistic director and choreographer of Camille A. Brown & Dancers

“In school, they used to tell us about becoming a lawyer or a doctor, but they never mentioned becoming a dancer. It wasn’t until I began taking classes at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and The Ailey School that I realized dance could be a profession. Being around the older dance students and witnessing their excitement as they prepared for performances made me think, ‘Wow, it must be fun to travel the world doing what you love.’ But there were still obstacles for me. Because I wasn’t considered to have the ‘ideal body’ for dance, I wouldn’t get picked for pieces. Eventually, I realized that if I developed myself as a choreographer, I wouldn’t have to wait for others to tell me when I could perform.”

Hyltin in George Balanchine's Mozartiana (photo by Paul Kolnik)

 

Sterling Hyltin

Principal, New York City Ballet

“I was always a tomboy, so when I initially started dancing, I didn’t like it very much. When I was 12, my dance teacher told me to go to a School of American Ballet summer course audition, so I went. When I got to the audition, I was so overcome by nerves that I could barely pick up the combinations. That’s when I realized I cared about dance more than I thought. And when I got into the program the following year and saw NYCB perform at Saratoga Springs, I knew I wanted to dance with the company one day.”

(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

 

 

Danny Wallace

Executive director of 24 Seven Dance Convention

“My parents owned VHS tapes of Singin’ in the Rain and A Chorus Line, and I used to watch them every day after school. When I was 6 or 7, I told my mom, ‘Hey, I want to dance!’ At that age, I didn’t even know dance was a way people made money. But I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

 

Lawrence in The Sleeping Beauty (photo by Ryan Galbrath)

 

 

Katherine Lawrence

Principal, Ballet West

“I never had a moment when I said, ‘I’m going to be a dancer.’ I just always knew it. My mom put me in creative movement classes when I was 4, because I was already dancing around the house. In high school, I told her, ‘If I’m going to do this seriously, I need to move to a professional school where I can get better training.’ That’s when I switched to the HARID Conservatory.”

 

 

Nugent with Talli Jackson in Bill T. Jones' Ravel (photo by Paul B. Goode)

 

Jennifer Nugent

Former dancer with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

“When I was 14, I wanted to be a commercial jazz dancer because I grew up in that world. My dance friends and I would spend hours learning all the dances from Flashdance and Saturday Night Fever and then choreographing new versions. So I danced professionally in the entertainment industry until I was about 21. Then I saw something that changed my course: After watching a performance by the modern group Houlihan and Dancers, I found myself very worked up. I realized that through modern and improvisation, I could achieve a deeper connection with dance. From that point on, I was fully committed to becoming a modern dancer.”

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