Fourteen-year-old Rachel Parkinson may be petite, but she moves with an infectious joy that fills any stage or convention room. In 2012, Rachel won Junior National Dancer of the Year at Hollywood Vibe Nationals, and this past season, despite being one of the youngest dancers in the teen category, Rachel snagged a scholarship at every competition and convention she attended, including Teen Female Non-Stop Dancer at 24 Seven and Teen VIP at JUMP.
"My older brother plays lacrosse, and my parents always tell him to leave it all on the field. When I perform, I leave it all on the stage. You’ve got to be fearless."
(Photo by Chandler Ford Photography)
Birthday: November 16, 1999
Studio: The Dance Club in Orem, UT
What she’s listening to right now: “Royals,” by Lorde
Favorite food: “Orange chicken and white rice.”
The best advice she’s ever received: “My dance role model, Alexia Meyer, told me never to leave a competition with regrets. It’s OK not to win. Don’t be a sore loser.”
The strangest thing in her dance bag: “A porcupine-shaped air freshener that smells like strawberries. My dad doesn’t like the smell of my dance bag.”
Dance crushes: Kent Boyd and Jakob Karr
Performers she’d die to work with: One Direction, Pink and Katy Perry
Must-see TV shows: “Cake Boss” and “Toddlers & Tiaras”
Summer's winding down and while you prepare to head back to school and the studio, we're busy gearing up for the 2014 issues of Dance Spirit. But before we decide who will grace next year's pages (and covers!), we want to hear about the dancers and choreographers you're loving right now.
To get you started, we've shared who we're currently obsessing over:
After a summer spent at Nationals, I'm all about the comp kids right now. No matter how crowded the stage, my eyes were glued to Jayci Kalb of The Dance Centre in Tuscaloosa, AL, and Rachel Parkinson from The Dance Club in Orem, UT. On the professional side, I can't get enough of Chantel Aguirre. That girl personifies the meaning of "stunning." Oh and Misha Gabriel. He moves, and I swoon. —Alison Feller, editor in chief
I recently sat in on a rehearsal for Alexander Ekman's Episodes 31 at Joffrey Ballet, which rekindled my love for his high-energy, kooky choreography. (This piece was originally choreographed on The Juilliard School's class of 2012—and they all wore stick-on mustaches!) In terms of dancers, I will now and forever say Ryan Steele. I could watch him in Matilda the Musical a million times and never get bored. —Rachel Zar, managing editor
Tiler Peck and Justin Peck.
I'm a New York City Ballet girl through and through, and right now I'm obsessed with the company's two (unrelated) Pecks: principal Tiler Peck and soloist/choreographer Justin Peck. Not that either of them are all that new to the scene, but have you seen what they've been up to recently? In addition to being a gorgeously musical ballerina, Tiler held her own with jookin' star Lil Buck at the Vail International Dance Festival last weekend. And Justin's kinetically geometric, corps-centric ballets have been wonderful showcases for some of NYCB's most exciting young dancers. —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor
Every time I open a New York City Ballet program and see the name Lauren Lovette, I get giddy with excitement. Lauren was featured on the September 2010 cover of DS when she was just a NYCB apprentice, and I remember thinking she was so sweet, down-to-earth and drop-dead gorgeous at her shoot. Now a soloist, I can't take my eyes off her whenever she's onstage. She has stunning technique and an almost addictive performance quality—I just can't stop watching her. —Michael Anne Bailey, assistant editor
Right now, I am obsessed with Christopher Wheeldon. His choreography is incredibly musical and romantic, and he creates shapes out of his dancers that I've never, ever seen before. Oh yeah, and his Carousel (A Dance) is set to my most favorite music of all time: "The Carousel Waltz"! —Helen Hope Rolfe, DS intern
Now it's your turn. Tell us which dancers and choreographers you're currently loving in the comments section below. You may just see them in DS!