Ever since we first saw the delightful Lauren Gottlieb on Season 3 of "So You Think You Can Dance," we knew she was going places.
Did we imagine that one of those places would be India? Uh, maybe not. (Though, come to think of it, she was pretty great in that cute Bollywood number with Kent Boyd on "SYTYCD" Season 7.)
But we shouldn't have underestimated this jet-setting star: Lauren's new Bollywood film, ABCD (Any Body Can Dance), opens today worldwide. And she didn't take the Bollywood challenge lightly. Apparently she studied Bharatnatyam and Kathak dance, as well as spoken Hindi, before filming began.
The 3D movie, which sounds like India's answer to the Step Up series (yay!), follows various crews of dancers as they prepare for the Ganpati Dance Battle, "an annual festival that pits Mumbai's best dance groups against each other." What does that look like onscreen? Well, based on the official trailer, it appears to involve flames, head spins, feathers, fouettés, chili peppers, Lauren's midriff, parkour, pointe shoes, lasers, clowns, a giant rainstorm, and at least some dialogue in English.
It looks, in other words, totally awesome.
Check it out!
Galen Hooks and Ne-Yo at the 2010 American Music Awards (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
When Galen Hooks danced with Ne-Yo at the 2010 American Music Awards, they paused mid-routine—and kissed. “It was the first time I had to kiss somebody onstage,” Hooks says. “Not only was it televised, but I was really shy about it!” Plus it was, you know, Ne-Yo.
Performing a passionate duet is one thing—but having to kiss your partner in the middle of the choreography can be awkward and nerve-racking, especially in front of an audience. Read on to see how some of your favorite dancers handled their first onstage kisses.
Hooks played two characters in Ne-Yo’s music videos and was on the creative team that choreographed the AMA number. “It was my idea to have the kiss happen,” Hooks admits. “It made sense for the story. When my character kisses him, she goes from being nice to being evil. It was all in fun.”
They didn’t rehearse the kiss during the tech run-through, though. Instead, they stood without making eye contact and waited a few seconds before moving into the next segment. “We only did it on the actual show,” Hooks says. “It was just part of the choreography. There was no romance to it.” Watching the kiss, you’d never guess it was so polite. Ne-Yo grabbed her face and pulled her close. “But there was no tongue or anything!” Hooks laughs. “He’s a true gentleman—very respectful.”
Tiffany Maher and Cole Horibe in Mia Michaels’ routine for the Top 14 on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 9 (Adam Rose)
Tiffany Maher, runner-up on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 9, calls her first onstage kiss—in the Top 14 routine choreographed by Mia Michaels—her “Spiderman kiss”: Cole Horibe hung upside down, spinning, while Maher swung by a rope attached to her wrist. “I had to grab him and smack his lips to mine,” she says. “In rehearsal, we’d smack heads, or I’d end up kissing his nose, or he’d end up kissing my eyeball.” Plus, Maher and Horibe weren’t star-crossed (spinning) lovers: “He’s like my brother,” she says. “It was the hardest kiss of my life!”
Bret Shuford with Andrea Marcovicci in Lady in the Dark (courtesy Bret Shuford)
As Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, Broadway veteran Bret Shuford kissed Ariel countless times onstage. But his first professional kiss happened years before in a regional theater production of Lady in the Dark, featuring cabaret star Andrea Marcovicci. Shuford played Marcovicci’s high school sweetheart and had to kiss her during a flashback scene. “She’s twice my age,” says Shuford, who was 22 at the time. “When we got to that part, I was supposed to be the one kissing her,” he remembers, “but she was the one kissing me! I just went with it.”
Peter Chu in Dark Matters (Eric Beauchesne/Kidd Pivot)
Peter Chu was going over his choreography before the premiere of Crystal Pite’s Dark Matters at the National Arts Centre in Canada. Pite, who was also his partner for the work’s last duet, gave him a note. “By the way,” she said, “I think you should kiss me.”
Chu was so nervous that he ran back to his dressing room and started practicing the kiss on the back of his hand, all the time worrying that someone was going to walk in on him. “It’s a beautiful show with amazing dancers,” he says, “but I was more stressed about how to kiss her! You don’t want to bump teeth or anything.” So how did it go during the performance? “It was a passionate, desirable kiss,” Chu says. “Very honest.”
Lauren Gottlieb and Dominic Sandoval performing their rumba on “So You Think You Can Dance” (KELSEY MCNEAL/FOX)
On Season 3 of “SYTYCD,” Lauren Gottlieb and Dominic Sandoval wowed the crowd with their rumba. But it wasn’t their dancing that got all the attention—it was their kiss (the first ever on the show)! “When we practiced it in front of the choreographers, they flipped out,” Gottlieb says. “They thought it was way too much.”
Gottlieb and Sandoval decided to run with it. “We went for the shock factor,” Gottlieb says. “But I was young—19—and my boyfriend and whole extended family were in the audience!” Gottlieb was also overwhelmed by the millions of people watching at home. Her nerves caused an awkward moment at the end when they were both breathing so hard their lips came apart. “He tried to go back in and my head was moving away,” she says.
The Juliets|For some ballerinas, the first onstage kiss is a gentle peck on the lips in
The Sleeping Beauty or an innocent smooch in La Fille mal gardée. But these ballet dancers were thrown into the deep end, having to bring the passion in Romeo and Juliet.
Carla Körbes with former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Lucien Postlewaite in Roméo et Juliette (Angela Sterling)
In Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes has to do more than just kiss her partner. “There’s a section where we’re rolling around in bed kissing,” Körbes says. “Then we go under the covers.” She and her partner, Lucien Postlewaite, rehearsed it in the studio so they wouldn’t feel awkward later. “It was more like acting than a ballet kiss,” she says. “It felt like a movie experience.”
Luckily for Körbes, what shows on film doesn’t always show onstage. “The first time, my nose was kind of running and I was crying during the second act,” she says. “We were kissing and all of a sudden there was snot everywhere! At that point we didn’t know what was happening, but when we got offstage, we were dying laughing.”
Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild in Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet (Paul Kolnik)
“When you’re doing something like Romeo + Juliet, everything from an arabesque to the kiss is full of meaning,” says Sterling Hyltin, a principal with New York City Ballet. Hyltin was 21 when Peter Martins choreographed the tragic love story for her and NYCB’s Robert Fairchild.
“I didn’t know if he would kiss me in rehearsals,” she says. “But it happened from the get-go. It was happening in the music, so that’s what we did.” Six years later, Hyltin says she and Fairchild save the kiss for the stage. “All that matters is the moment,” Hyltin says. “If you really believe what you’re doing, there’s nothing strange about kissing somebody you don’t kiss in real life.”
Victoria Jaiani in After the Rain (Herbert Migdoll)
At 18, Victoria Jaiani danced her first Juliet with Joffrey Ballet. “They hired Jason Reilly, then a principal from Stuttgart Ballet, to come dance with me,” she says. “He was an incredible partner and everything worked out well, even though we only had a few days to rehearse before we got onstage.”
The first time they rehearsed full-out in the studio, Jaiani felt comfortable. “You get so involved and live in the moment,” she says. “It felt natural to kiss him. It would’ve been weird not to. I wanted to be kissed.” Jaiani remembers the first show, at the end of the balcony scene, when her Romeo unexpectedly gave her an extra goodnight kiss. “I was surprised because we hadn’t rehearsed it that way,” she says. “It just happened.”
Alex Wong spilled the beans about his "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 All-Stardom over the weekend, but it wasn't until last night that Nigel finally tweeted the names of the rest of the All-Star crew—and oh boy, is it a crazy good list. According to @dizzyfeet, here's who you can expect to see sweeping the Top 10 around the dance floor. Tune in tonight at 8/7c to see them in action for the first time!
It's almost here! The dance world will celebrate the third annual National Dance Day tomorrow, July 28th, and there are all kinds of ways for dance fans to get in on the fun.
First of all: Have you learned the two official NDD routines yet? Check out the hip hop number, taught by "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Lauren Gottlieb with assists by fellow "SYTYCD"-ers Lauren Froderman and Brandon Bryant, and the Everybody Dance routine from Zumba Fitness. There's still time to upload your own videos of both routines!
West Coasters in particular have NDD options galore. From 10 am to 12 pm tomorrow, join The Dizzy Feet Foundation at Grand Park in Los Angeles for your chance to perform both the group routines with a host of fellow dancers. Then stick around for a bunch of free dance classes and performances, running until 2:30 pm.
That evening, head over to Dizzy Feet's Celebration of Dance Gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The show will feature performances of classic "SYTYCD" routines (Mia Michael's "Bench" routine, anyone??) plus guest appearances by the likes of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre and The LXD. Get your tickets here.
Are you on the other side of the country? No worries: The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY, is hosting its own NDD celebration on Sunday, the 29th at 2 pm. The two-hour "dance-a-thon" will be led by top instructors from all over. To cap things off, there'll be a hot ballroom performance by Ricardo Sophin and Iraida Volodina, who've appeared on "Dancing with the Stars."
There are all kinds of local events going on, too. Poke around to see what's happening in your neck of the woods—or throw your own NDD party!