Dance News

Let's take a minute to talk about Gene Schiavone's gorgeous photography, shall we? We want this guy's life: He travels the world shooting talented dancers in both performance and studio settings. He's especially good at capturing the essence of our favorite ballerinas. (In fact, he shot Keenan Kampa for her 2012 Dance Spirit cover!)

Schiavone recently posted on social media about his "pink Olga nightgown" project. Apparently, he found a beautiful vintage nightgown from the 1970s—designed by lingerie icon Olga Erteszek, which is where the "Olga" comes from—a few years back. Erteszek's nightgowns, he explained on Facebook, are "unique in that they have a 120-inch sweep," which looks especially wonderful in dance images. Since then, he's photographed around 75 ballerinas wearing the gown. (It looks like each dancer who wears it signs the skirt, too—so cute.)

Anna Vescovi in the Olga nightgown—see the signatures?

Unsurprisingly, when you pair great movers with a dress that looks great in motion, you get great photos. Here are a few of our favorite "pink Olga nightgown" shots. (You can find more of them here.) So much prettiness!

(All photos by Gene Schiavone, of course)

Madeleine Gardella

Katherine Grones

Lauren Disher

Dance News

With some of my favorite people after seeing one of my favorite shows! (On opening night, they make it "snow" outside Radio City Music Hall. How's that for magical?) I'm the one in the red coat, flanked by my friends Lauren and Scott on the left, and my boyfriend, Brian (hiding his broken arm in a cast inside his sweatshirt), on the right.

Living in NYC, lots of things get old really fast: car horns, ambulance sirens, crowded subways, car horns, unavailable taxis during rush hour, pollution, car horns... But the one thing that never ever ever ceases to amaze me is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring The Rockettes.

If you've never seen this classic show, here are five reasons to catch it this year, either at NYC's iconic Radio City Music Hall, or in one of the show's tour cities:

1. The Rockettes! Duh. These women aren't just beautiful and talented: They're perfect. I've never seen formations as impeccably spot-on as the ones in "The Parade of Wooden Soldiers," and the reindeer costumes in "Sleigh Ride" make me wish for my own pair of light-up antlers. Plus, the Rockettes can do much more than eye-high kicking. In "The Twelve Days of Christmas," they tap up a storm, and in "Snow," which is new this year (though, sadly, it replaces "Shine," which is my forever-favorite Rockette number), the Rockettes show off a little contemporary style.

While the dozens of women onstage may somehow manage to look exactly alike, it's fun trying to spot familiar faces in the line. This year, I saw former comp kid (and DS model!) Kali Grinder and "Dance212" veteran (and another former DS model!) Jenny Laroche.

2. The "other" dancers. Fun fact: The Rockettes aren't the only dancers in the show. There are more dancers in the show who do more traditional, jazz-based dancing throughout the 90-minute program. ("So You Think You Can Dance" alum Matt Dorame and New York City Dance Alliance demonstrator Chase Madigan are among the NYC group this year.)

3. The Claras! The fourth scene of the Spectacular is "The Nutcracker," and it just might be my favorite part. It's a twist on the classic Nutcracker's "Land of Sweets," with dancers in giant bear suits playing the parts of the sweets. Leading the group of bear-dancers is Clara, a real-life, talented little girl who bounds around the stage on pointe with a grin on her face that seems to stretch from stage right to left.

Past Claras have included "SYTYCD" Season 10 winner and current DS cover girl Amy Yakima, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company dancer Catherine Hurlin, up-and-comer Madeleine Gardella and my all-time favorite ballet dancer, Juliet Doherty. (Click here to meet a whole group of former Claras—all of them came from the comp world!)

4. The camels!!! The second-to-last scene of the show is "The Living Nativity." Surprisingly, this is one of my favorite parts of the show (though, apparently, all parts of the show seem to be my favorite at this point). There's no dancing during this scene, and it's based on the story of the first Christmas. So it doesn't really sound like something I'd be into—and then four camels walk across the stage. Real camels. There are sheep, too, but it's the camels that get me every time. Camels, sharing a stage with Rockettes. I mean...where else can you see that?

Balcony seats for the win! (You get to see all the formations that way.)

5. The sheer joy it brings. There is something for everyone in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, whether you're young, young at heart, old, old at heart, a boy, a girl, a dancer, a hater, a Catholic, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a non-believer, a ballerina, a tapper, a tourist or a longtime New Yorker. Basically, The Rockettes = world peace.

So you promise to go see the show? Great! Here's where to buy your tickets.

The Degas sculpture that inspired it all.

If you're an eagle-eyed reader of DS (and why wouldn't you be?), you probably noticed an interesting little aside in our April "You Should Know" story about 14-year-old prima-in-the-making Madeleine Gardella.

The pint-sized ballerina, we learned, recently participated in the workshop for a new musical, Little Dancer, directed and choreographed by Broadway legend Susan Stroman. And Madeleine's co-star in the workshop was none other than New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck. Intriguing, no?

Well, now it's official: Little Dancer, which was inspired by Edgar Degas' world-famous "Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen" sculpture, is coming to D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in October 2014. The show will "weave real history and fiction" to tell the story of Marie van Goethem, the young student who inspired Degas' piece.

No casting for the show has been announced yet, but the use of talented ballerinas in the workshop wasn't a fluke: Apparently the lead roles are built for serious dancers. And let's just say no one at DS would be upset if Madeleine and Peck reprised their roles. Talk about a dream team!

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