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This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. Next up: JT Church from Club Dance in Mesa, AZ, who competed at The Dance Awards in Las Vegas for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Leslie Church.)

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Eye Candy
Carter Williams and Abby Werner at The Dance Awards (via @libbywilliams4 on Instagram)

Nationals are in full swing all across the country, and we are LIVING for the gorgeous social media posts they're bringing to our feed. Y'all are straight killin' the Instagram game!

Here are some of our favorite posts so far. Give them a look—you might even see some familiar faces. 😏

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The Look
An outfit that makes you feel confident on the convention floor is always a "do" (via Break the Floor Productions)

Attention, ladies and gentlemen: We've officially hit Nationals season! And that means it's time to dig through those closets to find the perfect clothes to get you noticed during convention classes. The task can feel totally overwhelming—but we're here to help. Follow our guidelines, and you'll be rocking the dance floor with Travis Wall and making Stacey Tookey yell "GORGEOUS!" in no time.

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The Look
Witney Carson on the set of "Dancing with the Stars" (via Instagram)

Nationals season is just around the corner, and we're getting SUPER pumped. Although it's truly one of the greatest times of the year for dancers, Nationals are also insane, tbh. Between running from convention classes to onstage performances to award shows, and trying to squeeze in a bite to eat or stay hydrated, it can be constant chaos. Which is why it's so important to find a lipstick that actually sticks—comp queens don't need anything else to stress over. And because we are not here for smudges or reapplying every hour, or ending up with a dry, cracked pout in every selfie, we rounded up the top picks that'll stand up to all things Nationals.

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Dance News

DS traveled all over the country to see you shine at Nationals. check out the winners of the 2009 Dance Spirit Future Star Award. Congrats, winners!

Emily Deahl

Age: 17

The Southern Strutt, Irmo, SC

Starpower, Orlando, FL

 

 

 

Meghan DeGraff

Age: 18

The World of Dance, Albany, NY

StarQuest, Virginia Beach, VA

 

 

Madeleine Gardella

Age: 10

The Dance Academy, Holland, PA

Headliners, Asbury Park, NJ

 

 

Maddie Schroeder

Age: 15

Spotlight Productions, Eagan, MN

StarQuest, St. Paul, MN

 

 

Alexis Campbell

Age: 14

Robin Dawn Academy of Performing Arts, Cape Coral, FL

Starpower’s Power Pak, Orlando, FL

 

 

Raegan Polson

Age: 18

Starz Studio of Performing Arts, Oak Grove, MO

Spotlight Dance Cup, Branson, MO

 

Taylor Grimm

Age: 15

Seton Hill University Dance Academy, Greensburg, PA

Starpower’s Power Pak, Myrtle Beach, SC

 

 

Amanda Vercamen

Age: 17

Shooting Stars School of Performing Arts, Clermont, FL

Starpower, Orlando, FL

 

 

Rachel Childers

Age: 15

Encore Performance Company, Birmingham, AL

DANCEAMERICA, NYC

 

Gregory Fiorina

Age:15

Michelle’s Dance X-Plosion, Castro Valley, CA

Starbound, Lake Tahoe, NV

 

 

Abby Lindevig

Age: 18

Helmer Dance Studio, Beldenville, WI

International Dance Challenge, Orlando, FL

 

 

Hannah McKaughan

Age: 13

Just Dancin’, Rock Hill, SC

Dance Machine Productions, Wilkesboro, NC

 

 

Jessica Lester

Age: 18

Yoko’s Dance and Performing Arts Academy, Fremont, CA

Starpower, Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Becca Housebrecht

Age: 17

Spotlight Studio of Dance, Millersville, MD

American Dance Awards, Hollywood Beach, FL

 

Brittany Duskin

Age: 18

Priscilla and Dana’s School of Dance, Kansas City, MO

Starpower, Branson, MO

 

Taylor Lowe

Age: 17

The Dance Establishment, Ogden, UT

LA DanceMagic, Anaheim, CA

 

 

Cassandra Ventura

Age: 13

Talent Factory, Chino, CA

Starpower, Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Ashley Seidel

Age: 18

Not Your Ordinary Dancers, Middletown, NJ

Starbound, Atlantic City, NJ

 

 

Kristina Vensko

Age: 15

Dancensations Dance Center, Alexandria, VA

Starpower, Ocean City, MD

 

 

Katie Parks

Age: 15

Step Ahead

Dance Company, Jacksonville, NC

Marvonna, Myrtle Beach, SC

 

 

Nicole Miceli

Age: 18

Center for Dance, Westmont, IL

International Dance Challenge, Boston, MA

 

 

Kelly Brigham

Age: 26

Pat Snow’s Dance Academy,East Bridgewater, MA

Step Up 2 Dance, Manchester, NH

 

 

 

Kasey O’Leary

Age: 14

Stagelite Centre of Performing Arts, Pequannock, NJ

Starbound, Orlando, FL

 

 

Amanda Densmore

Age: 17

Sheena’s Dance Academy, Frisco, TX

Starbound, San Antonio, TX

 

 

Jamie Stack

Age: 16

Dance Express, Mesa, AZ

Encore, Lake Tahoe, NV

 

 

Chelsea Reichert

Age: 17

Dance Gallery, Lawrence, KS

StarQuest, Minneapolis, MN

All Photos courtesy of winners

Your Body
Thinkstock

Nationals season means tons of makeup. And even if you've mastered a skin-care routine to combat the hours your skin spends covered in foundation and powder, you may be overlooking one important detail: your makeup brushes. The tools of your trade need cleaning, too! Dirty makeup brushes can cause a lot of icky issues, including acne, skin irritation and infections.

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Dance News

Holy sequins and aerials, Batman: New York City Dance Alliance knows how to put on a GALA. (Or two!)

NYCDA just finished up its week-long NYC Nationals with a pair of stupendous gala nights, celebrating the Mini, Junior, Teen and Senior Outstanding Dancers. And I'm still kind of recovering from the onslaught of talent.

First of all, let's congratulate the National Outstanding Dancer winners, shall we?

National Mini Outstanding Dancers

Madison Brown

Brady Farrar

National Junior Outstanding Dancers

Jasmine Cruz

Parker Garrison

National Teen Outstanding Dancers

Nina Bartell

Harrison Knostman

National Senior Outstanding Dancers

Sarah Pippin

Jake Tribus

The wonderful Teen and Senior National ODs (via NYCDA)

Notice any familiar names in there? I bet you do—because a lot of these amazing artists are old Dance Spirit friends! We're so excited that Jasmine (who pulled off 32 fouettés on pointe in a group number—more on that later) is back as Junior OD after her reign as Mini a few years back, and we're thrilled to see Brady add a NYCDA title to his already impressive resumé. Huge congrats also go to Sarah and Jake, the heroes of our web series The Road to Nationals! Those besties are going to have sooooo much fun on the road with NYCDA this year. I'd say their new titles are the perfect excuse to (re–)binge-watch R2N, which follows their 2014 NYCDA journey.

Sarah was also a 2014 Cover Model Search finalist! NBD. (photo by Erin Baiano)

As fun as it is to see talented individuals honored, my favorite part of NYCDA Nationals is the Critics' Choice competition, which highlights outstanding group numbers. Those proceedings are all the more exciting because DS sponsors the Mini and Junior Critics' Choice winners, and our friends at Dance Magazine sponsor the Teen and Senior champs.

I'm glad that we just hand out the trophies, though, and don't have to judge the darn thing, because the field is consistently stellar. And this year was no exception. Tempe Dance Academy earned National Senior CC with "I'm So Sorry," in which 2014 National Senior OD Kolton Krouse got pummeled by a group of glamorous ladies. (Don't cry for Kolton, though: He's going to Juilliard next year!) Westlake School for the Performing Arts repped #teamballet and earned the Teen CC award with its beautifully classical "Paquita"—featuring Jasmine's fantabulous fouettés, which were sprinkled with doubles and finished with a triple, naturally. (I'd like to remind everyone that she's 12. TWELVE.) The ladies of Westchester Dance Academy also showed off beautiful classical technique in "When the Last Angel Falls," which won Mini CC. And the crowd favorite of the year (the decade? the century?), Performance Edge 2's "Hello"—which put a pitch-perfect tap spin on the hilarious opening song from The Book of Mormon—took home the Junior CC award.

Look at those legs! (via NYCDA)

I'd also like to give a shoutout to Jordan Pelliteri, the 2014 National Senior OD, who relinquished her title last night with one final solo—a smoldering little number complete with her signature jaw-dropping, is-she-maybe-a-contortionist extensions. Jordan is also one of this year's Cover Model Search finalists (love, love, LOVE that the National Senior OD title was passed from one CMS finalist to another), so if you want to see her pretty face on our October cover, go vote for her now!

It's always wonderful to feel the warm NYCDA family love at the closing galas. And nothing embodied the organization's spirit of support and friendship better than this year's oh-so-happy Senior Outstanding Dancer number, choreographed by the great Suzi Taylor. So I'll close with an excerpt from that. See you next season, NYCDA!

Our Senior Outstanding Dancers are SO BEAUTIFUL! We LOVE each and every one of you!!! ❤️❤️❤️ #nycdainspires #nycdnationals2015

Posted by New York City Dance Alliance on Monday, July 6, 2015

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