Ryan Steele has become a Broadway mainstay, thanks to his powerful technique and commanding stage presence. He's been a part of the original casts of hit shows, including Newsies and Matilda, played a Lost Boy in Peter Pan Live!, and performed in the first national tour of An American in Paris. A Walled Lake, MI, native, Steele started dancing at Dance Dynamics Performing Arts Center at 6. He began studying ballet seriously at 11, and was about to sign with Ballet Austin when he was offered a role in the 2009 revival of West Side Story on Broadway. This spring, you can catch him dancing in the Great White Way revival of Carousel. —Courtney Bowers
Happy Friday, ladies and gents! Did you, like me, wake up this morning thinking, I could really use more beautiful Broadway dancers in my life? Granted, that's pretty much how I feel EVERY morning. But today, the need was especially strong.
Well, the musical theater universe has answered our prayers in pretty spectacular fashion: Meet "Stormy Monday," a little gem of a clip that may have Monday in the title but is pretty much tailor-made for Friday video break time.
Masterminded by Broadway performer and choreographer Grady McLeod Bowman, it features two of the Great White Way's most talented—not to mention most attractive—dancers: Samantha Sturm (you know her from Matilda, On the Town and your leg/feet fantasies) and Ryan Steele (Newsies, Matilda, your pirouette dreams...really just your dreams, generally).
Pretty people doing steamy choreo set to a blues classic? Yes. Yes, please.
Screenshot via YouTube
It is hands down the best two-and-a-half minutes you can spend on YouTube today. (And that is a SERIOUS CLAIM, because there is also an all-hamster remake of the "Friends" theme song circulating right now). Enjoy!
Our longtime fave Ryan Steele and the lovely Garen Scribner are pretty busy at the moment, traveling the world in the touring company of An American in Paris. But they took some time out of their nutso schedule to film a video for the indie band Moondrunk's "Sold My Soul." And we are SO GLAD they did.
Choreographed by Lorin Latarro, a Broadway vet who most recently made dances for Waitress, the video has a powerful message. We see an older man—played by dance/theater artist Yehuda Hyman, a beautiful mover himself—ruminating on his loveless life, stunted by his religious beliefs. Steele and Scribner's ardent portrayal of his inner turmoil just might make you a little teary.
Less than two months until Peter Pan Live! on NBC! So far, we've been pretty excited about the cast: Christopher Walken as a tap-dancing Captain Hook? Obviously. Allison Williams ("Girls") as Peter Pan? Yes, please.
But OMG, you guys, it gets so. much. better. This week, NBC made the full casting announcement, and Newsies alums are taking over: Ryan Steele, Jacob Guzman, David Guzman, Daniel Quadrino and Garrett Hawe will play The Lost Boys. Alex Wong will be repin' the Newsies in the "Islanders, Pirates, Litter Bearers and Mermen" category. And Jake Lucas will play John Darling.
(L to R) Alex Wong poses for our Newsies cover (photo by Jacob Pritchard); Allison Williams in a new production shot for Peter Pan Live! (photo courtesy NBC); Ryan Steele poses for our Newsies cover (photo by Jacob Pritchard)
If pulling a bunch of alums from one of the danciest shows to hit Broadway is any indication of the amount of dance in Peter Pan Live!, count us the most in. Remember to tune in to NBC on December 4 for the live event!
The Newsies boys will be seizing the day in 25 cities across the U.S. (photo Matthew Murphy)
Today brings both good and bad news. Go grab a tissue, because the bad news is first.
Got one? OK. This just in: Newsies is closing. In two months. After a final show on August 24, the Disney musical extravaganza will leave it's home at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway, meaning there are only 72 performances left.
Ready for some good news? The 2-year-old show isn't gone for good. Newsies will embark on a 25-city national tour, beginning this October in Schenectady, NY. As of now, the tour plans to finish next August in Toronto. But when Newsies opened on Broadway back in 2012, it was only scheduled to have 101 performances. By August 24, 2014, it will have exceeded that number by 904 shows—and 904 standing ovations. Something tells me this musical isn't going away quietly in a year.
For now, the on-sale date for Newsies tour tickets hasn't been announced. But click here to see if the show is coming to a city near you, and sign up to get emailed ticket alerts.
Every now and then, we come across a dance video that's so lovely, so breathtaking, so special that we just let it roll on repeat for days at a time.
The latest video we can't stop reloading and re-watching is "Silhouette" starring three of our favorite roommates: Ryan Steele, Jakob Karr and Grace Buckley. Set to hauntingly beautiful music by Active Child featuring Ellie Goulding and choreographed by Buckley, this piece is nothing fancy—it's just clean, simple, elegant dancing. Plus, the three dancers are best friends, making it even more fun to take a trip into their little world. Bonus: The video was shot and edited by Andrew Keenan-Bolger, one of Steele's castmates in Newsies!
For your viewing pleasure...
This is totally what you and your roommates do in your spare time, right?
...gooey cinnamon buns for breakfast, a giant mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top and a roaring fire in the fireplace.
OK, and a few other things. We'll get to those in a sec.
First: Merry Christmas, everyone, from all of the Dance Spirit editors!
It's arguably the most festive day of the year, and if you're a Christmas celebrator, we hope you're in the midst of a very merry day. (Pajamas mandatory all day long. Deal? Deal.)
But you don't have to celebrate Christmas in order to make a lengthy wish list, right? Here's what the Dance Spirit editors are dying for this year...
Sophia's shoes are from Steve Madden. Get 'em while you still can! (Photo by Erin Baiano)
"Sparkly wedge high-tops, like the ones Sophia Lucia is wearing on our January cover. As a fellow shorty, I understand her need for a little extra height—even when it's a sneaker day." —Rachel Zar, managing editor
"I want another live musical on TV! How about Singin' in the Rain? Ryan Steele in the Gene Kelly role? Cloud Campos in Donald O'Connor's part? Somebody get Rob Ashford on this, stat!" —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor
"I want to go to a taping of 'So You Think You Can Dance' during Season 11 so I can scream 'judges' in a Cat Deeley-esque British accent. That, and a pair of harem pants so I can feel like less of a bunhead in hip-hop class." —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor
"In a perfect world, stores would play Nutcracker music all year long—and the rest of the world would love it as much as I would." —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor
Simi! Let's be twinsies. (Photo by Erin Baiano)
As always, I've got quite the list of my own going: I want Lin-Manuel Miranda to bring something—anything—to Broadway ASAP. I want to go shopping with Simrin Player. I want to put an end to "Dance Moms" and in its place create a TV show about all the great things that happen in the competitive dance world. I want Juliet Doherty to take home the top prize at the Prix de Lausanne. I want Nick Lazzarini to be the next President of the United States. I want newlyweds tWitch and Allison Holker to have, like, millions of little dancer babies. And I want to grow just one more inch so I can be tall enough to audition for the Radio City Rockettes.
Get busy, Santa—you've got some serious work to do for us this year.
(by Peter Ross/Paladin)
In Five Dances, which opens nationwide this fall, 18-year-old Chip (played by Ryan Steele) moves to NYC with nothing but a sleeping bag and a love for dance. Cast in his first professional dance job, Chip struggles to find himself—and, ultimately, find love. This heart-wrenching tale, full of incredible dancing, will transfix you. (Though be warned: It deals with content that may be too mature for young viewers.) Steele’s performance is both intense and quirky—it’s hard to believe this is his first foray into film. He’s been captivating audiences onstage for years, first as an aspiring ballet dancer, and then in featured roles on Broadway. (He even graced our July/August 2012 cover while in Newsies.) Now a star of both stage and screen, Ryan chatted with DS about the making of Five Dances.
Dance Spirit: You started working on Five Dances more than a year ago. Can you tell us about the filming process?
Ryan Steele: The first things the cast learned were the five dances that are in the movie. We had three days of rehearsal with choreographer Jonah Bokaer, for 12 hours each day. Then we had a week or so break before filming. We filmed for only two weeks total—it was really quick.
DS: What was the hardest part of making the movie?
RS: The schedule. As a dancer, I’m used to rehearsing for weeks or even months before performing. But we would look at some scenes for the first time at 2 am and then film them at 8 the next morning. We also shot out of order, so I’d do a happy scene and then for the next scene on the schedule, I’d have to cry. That was a challenge.
DS: Your character, Chip, has a hard time as he enters the world of professional dance. Could you relate to his experience?
RS: Definitely. I think it’s realistic. My character is new to NYC and doesn’t really know what he’s getting himself into. That was my experience when I was 18 and first moving to the city. But Chip is very serious, and I’m a generally happy person. Having to do most of the scenes without cracking a smile was tough.
DS: What makes Five Dances different from other dance movies?
RS: During our initial rehearsals, director Alan Brown really paid attention to the way us dancers interacted in the studio—the relationships we formed and the things we said and did, down to putting on deodorant while talking to each other. Dancers have a level of comfort with each other that other people don’t. Five Dances does a great job of diving into the world of dance and staying true to it.