(Photo courtesy Jacob Guzman)
When Jacob Guzman takes the stage in the latest Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof this month, he’ll be among some pretty strong dancers. That’s because contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter, whose work has been performed by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, is reimagining the choreography. (Jerome Robbins set the musical’s original dance numbers in 1964.) But Guzman, a former comp kid who trained at The Gold School in Brockton, MA, isn’t a stranger to dancer-heavy ensembles: He made his Broadway debut in Newsies in 2012. Guzman also appeared in NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” and has performed at Dancers Responding to AIDS’ Fire Island Dance Festival. Want to know more about Guzman? Read on for The Dirt. —JO
What’s one food you can’t live without?
What’s your favorite dance movie?
What’s the most-played song on your playlist?
"The Wilhelm Scream" by James Blake
What’s your most-watched TV show?
"Criminal Minds" on Netflix
Do you have any nicknames?
Jaob. I received fan mail at Newsies and the sender forgot the "c" in Jacob and it stuck.
What’s something you’re most proud of?
Making my Broadway debut with my win brother in Newsies
What’s your advice for young performers?
Always be yourself.
All photos by Adam Taylor, courtesy ABC Family
If you’re like the DS staff, you’re already obsessed with “Bunheads,” the new ballet-centric show on ABC Family. What’s not to love? The show’s star, Sutton Foster, has serious Broadway cred, the plot gives us a sometimes dramatic, sometimes hilarious look at the life of a dancer and, best of all, four real-life dance students get their big breaks on the small screen! Kaitlyn Jenkins, 20, who has trained in ballet, modern, hip hop, tap, jazz and ballroom, plays Boo, who loves to dance but struggles with the fact that she doesn’t have the perfect ballet body. Former School of American Ballet student Julia Goldani Telles, 17, plays Sasha, who’s got the dream body and the talent but doesn’t really have the heart. The musical-theater loving Bailey Buntain, 22, plays Ginny, who yearns to break out of her small town life. And Emma Dumont, 17, who has a couple of small movie roles under her belt, plays fun-loving Melanie. Read on for The Dirt with all four breakout stars.
Dancer you would drop everything to see: Natalia Osipova!
Biggest guilty pleasure: “The Ellen Show’s” Hidden Camera Pranks and Dance Dares.
One thing most people don’t know about you: I eat raw garlic. It’s great.
What are your pet peeves? People who leave the toilet seat up! GROSS!
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits? Many, but I like to think of it as interpretive dancing ;)
What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag? A plastic monkey watch that I once found in a classroom
What was your reaction when you found out you were cast in Bunheads? I ran around my house in my pajamas, howling.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? A spy.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? On a remote island, formulating my world-domination plan.
If you could dance with any performer, past or present, who would it be? Fred Astaire. But before we could start dancing he would have to pick me up off the floor from fainting.
Biggest guilty pleasure: Cuddling up in bed, eating Wheat Thins and watching Instant Netflix on my nights off. Wow, I’m exciting… J
Favorite food: I LOVE Mexican food.
One thing most people don’t know about you: I’m an Auntie to 9 nieces and nephews, and I’d rather hang out with them than most adults. They are the sweetest little people.
One thing you can’t live without: My sisters. They’re my best friends, my inspiration, and the good kick in the butt I sometimes need.
Who would play you in a movie? Oh probably one of the Victoria’s Secret models. Oh wait… HA! I’m sorry I fell asleep for a minute and was DREAMING.
What are your pet peeves? The sound of snoring drives me a little nuts. Oh and I hate getting to a movie late and missing the previews.
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits? I carry tension in my shoulders. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “Shoulders down!”…
What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag? Floss. Oral hygiene is no joke.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” Clearly, I was a very realistic child.
Dancer you would drop everything to go see: Ariana Lallone. She used to dance for Pacific Northwest Ballet, and she is stunning. I’ve ever seen anyone command attention in their dancing like she does.
Most played song on your iPod: “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett
Favorite movie: Billy Elliot. I own it on VHS and have seen it a thousand times. I also love Fight Club.
Biggest guilty pleasure: Butterfingers. Butterfinger Crisp. Butterfinger ice cream. Anything Butterfinger.
One thing most people don’t know about you: I play Roller Derby.
If you weren’t a dancer/actress, what would you be? A biomedical engineer.
Who would play you in a movie? A teenage Amanda Bynes.
What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag? An allen wrench.
Do you have any pre-performance habits or superstitions? Right before I go on stage, I like to put a little Tiger Balm under my nose. It smells great and reminds me to smile.
Dancers you would drop everything to go see: Desmond Richardson & Diana Vishneva
Favorite movie: The Help and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
Biggest guilty pleasure: CUPCAKES!!!
One thing most people don’t know about you: I have this burning desire to ride a motorcycle.
If you weren’t a dancer/actress, what would you be? I would want to pursue a singing career or possibly photography. It would have to be something “artsy!”
One thing you can’t live without: My iPhone <3
Who would play you in a movie? Jennifer Lawrence
What are your pet peeves? When people lie
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits? Sometimes my turnout isn’t as good as it could be.
Do you have any pre-performance habits or superstitions? First I jump up and down and then I shake my arms out. Then, I give a little prayer and blow a kiss to my pointe shoes!
Benny Kimoto is one of the world's most distinguished b-boys. He was the first dancer to ever accomplish multiple air twists in a row and his moves have been immortalized in PlayStation's B-Boy game. The Switzerland native has been a member of the Berlin-based crew Flying Steps since its inaugural year in 1993. Since then, the team has won four break-dancing world championship titles and opened the Flying Steps Academy, an urban-dance school in Berlin. Catch Kimoto and the Flying Steps on their award-winning Red Bull Flying Bach tour (which expertly mixes b-boying and the music of Bach) across the U.S. this month. Read on for The Dirt!
Ballet West's Allison DeBona first became a major figure on the pop-culture scene with her stint on The CW series “Breaking Pointe." Her ethereal grace and commanding stage presence have kept her there since. DeBona trained with the Parou Ballet Company (now New Castle Regional Ballet) in New Castle, PA, and the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet while growing up. She later attended Indiana University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in ballet before joining Ballet West in 2007. In 2011 she was promoted to demi-soloist, was given the soloist title in 2013 and, finally, was named first soloist in 2015. Catch her next month in the company's production of Madame Butterfly, and read on for The Dirt!
Talented tapper Karissa Royster made her Broadway debut this past spring in Shuffle Along, shining in Savion Glover's stylized, 1920s-inspired choreography. Royster trained at Dance Plus in San Antonio, TX, studying ballet, jazz, modern and rhythm tap, before joining RPM Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Barbara Phillips. Since then, she's performed at dance festivals around the world and has won awards, including the Buster Cooper Tap Scholarship. She's no slouch on the academic front, either: A Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar, Royster just graduated from New York University with a degree in political science. Catch her in Shuffle Along's run at the Music Box Theatre, and read on for The Dirt! —Courtney Bowers
A New Yorker through and through, Raven McRae lights up any stage with her big-city energy. She started training at a local Brooklyn community center, and went on to study at Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and The Ailey School. She performed with Dance Iquail, BalaSole and Ballet Hispanico's BHdos before being mentored by Tony Award–winning choreographer George Faison, who she met at an audition. McRae made her Broadway debut in Motown: The Musical, and is currently performing in Cirque du Soleil's newly opened show, Paramour. Read on for The Dirt. —CB
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
“Lost Ones," by Lauryn Hill. I'm obsessed with Lauryn Hill. <3
What's your favorite TV show?
I love “Bob's Burgers." Every character in that show is hilarious!
What's something no one knows about you?
I'm still a little afraid of the dark. Every time I turn off the hallway light, I run really fast to my room.
What's one food you can't live without?
I cannot live without pizza! There's something about melted cheese that satisfies my soul.
Do you have any nicknames?
Most people call me Rae. Some call me firecracker…I can't imagine why!
Who would play you in a movie?
I would love for Kerry Washington to play me in a movie. I'm convinced she's my celebrity look-alike.
What was your most embarrassing performance moment?
I fell onstage at a recital when I was 12. I kind of deserved it because I tried to out-dance everyone and kick really high.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of myself for never giving up on my dreams. I never let anything discourage me from getting what I wanted.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a pop singer! I was obsessed with the Spice Girls and I wanted to be just like Scary Spice.
If you could work with any performer, who would it be?
Eartha Kitt to me is the fiercest performer that's ever lived. I wish I could feed off of the majestic energy she exudes.
What's your guilty pleasure?
I love to eat an entire pie of Domino's pizza and binge-watch any- and everything on Netflix.
Who's your dance crush?
Carlos Acosta. Enough said.
What are your pet peeves?
I really don't like when other dancers don't hold their spacing. I get paranoid that I'll get kicked.
What's one thing you can't live without?
I can't live without my Bible. My faith is very important to me. It keeps me sane.
What's it been like being in Cirque du Soleil's first Broadway show?
This experience is super-exciting! The acrobatics, singing, acting and dancing all come together so seamlessly!
What's your favorite part of Paramour?
My favorite part is singing a song called “Ginger Top." I love the 1920s feel it has. It's so catchy that it gets stuck in my head for hours!
Who's your dance role model?
Nicole De Weever is my role model. She is a beautiful, accomplished dancer. However, it is her devotion to giving back to the community that inspires me the most.
Who can always make you laugh?
My fellow cast member Yanelis Brooks can always make me laugh. She has her own way of saying things that is so funny to me.
What's your best advice for young performers?
I would say to know, find and investigate that unique quality in themselves that no one else has and let that shine! No one can be you better than you!
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jacqueline Green is a classically elegant dancer who moves with a deep soulfulness—and her quick rise through the ranks has cemented her place in the spotlight. An Ailey/Fordham BFA Program graduate, and a former Ailey II dancer, she's been an Ailey company member since 2011. In 2014, she received a dance fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA and last year she was a Clive Barnes Award nominee. Catch her this spring in Ailey's 20-city North American tour before she heads back to NYC, where she'll perform lead roles in the company's Lincoln Center season, June 8–19. And read on for The Dirt!
A charmingly natural actress, Miami City Ballet corps member Samantha Galler has already tackled some of the ballet world's biggest characters, mastering complex roles with subtle finesse. The Bedford, MA, native grew up studying under Frances Kotelly at The Ballet Academy, Inc., where she perfected her technique before performing for six seasons with the Northeast Youth Ballet. After a short stint at Cincinnati Ballet, she moved to Alabama Ballet, where she danced for five seasons and performed dream roles such as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Galler joined Miami City Ballet in 2014, and this month will dance Hermia in George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Read on for The Dirt.