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Nathan Sayers

The Vail Dance Festival in Vail, CO, is famous for pairing dancers from different companies with each other. And we love geeking out over that kind of fantasy casting. (Speaking of which: You HAVE to watch these videos of American Ballet Theatre's Calvin Royal III and New York City Ballet's Unity Phelan rehearsing Balanchine's Agon pas de deux. đŸ”„ đŸ”„ đŸ”„ )

But VDF director Damian Woetzel also likes to have dancers try on completely foreign dance styles. And sometimes the results of those mad-scientist experiments are magical—especially when NYCB's Tiler Peck is involved.

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Via Harvest Records

Here's an especially great addition to the ever-growing group of ballet-inspired music videos: Soulful singer-songwriter Charlotte OC asked ravishing New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck to star in a video for her new song "Medicine Man." Unsurprisingly, the result is both beautiful and moving.

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Via Instagram

Every ballerina's pointe shoe process is intense, but some dancers take pointe prep to a completely different level. And New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck definitely falls in that second category.

The New York Times recently did a Facebook Live event with Peck, following her as she chose and prepped her shoes for the evening's performance. (She was about to dance in Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition.) Peck is a crazy perfectionist onstage—it's one of the qualities that makes her so compelling—and she's just as much of a crazy perfectionist about her shoes.

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Dance News

Ah, pointe shoes: They are our forever frenemies. Much as we're obsessed with them, even the most serious bunheads can have difficulty figuring them out.

That's where The School at Steps' Pointe Shoe Workshop and Fair comes in. Part advice panel, part shoe sale, the annual event brings together experts from all corners of the ballet world, as well as representatives from major pointe shoe brands. Whether you're just about to start pointe or are trying to find the perfect pair before your upcoming company audition, you can get a lot out of this shindig.

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Dancers (including director Damian Woetzel, right) rocking out at the Vail International Dance Festival. Photo by Caitie Kakigi.

National Dance Day is this Saturday, July 27—and the town of Vail, Colorado, home of the awesome Vail International Dance Festival, is celebrating in style with a three-hour dance-a-thon fundraiser. (It'll benefit four dance-y organizations, including the Festival.)

While anyone and everyone is invited to participate, the event boasts some serious dancelebrities, too. There'll be performances by Vail IDF artists Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild and Lil Buck, and internet sensation Matt Harding (from the great/hilarious "Where the Hell is Matt?" series) will be filming for his next video during the event. Not sure your moves are up to par? Lessons in everything from hip hop to line dancing will also be given throughout the day.

The dance-a-thon will run from 4-7 pm at the Solaris Plaza in Vail Village. But non-Coloradans can get in on the National Dance Day fun, too! Click here to learn the official NDD routines, and visit the NDD Facebook page to find dance-y events happening near you.

Dance News

Every year, Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado plays host to some of our all-time favorite dancers and choreographers. The rep is always incredible, as is the location—the picturesque mountains, flowers and fields of Vail are a stunning backdrop for this event. This year was no exception, with plenty of new premieres (seven, to be exact) and lots of familiar faces. We've rounded up the best Instagram videos from the festival, so if you didn't make it out to Colorado, you can still witness the #awesomeness of these dancers.

Tiler Peck and James Whiteside in Duo Concertant

Isabella Boylston and Joseph Gordon in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas De Deux

BalletX, Isabella Boylston and Zachary Catazaro killing it in Show Me, a new work by Matthew Neenan

Joseph Gordon's casual skills #whatever

More behind the scenes of Show Me

Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell rehearse for a stunning new premiere

 

(Videos via Vail International Dance Festival's Instagram and Nel Shelby's Instagram)

Dance News

Every July, New York City Ballet heads to Saratoga Springs, NY for their annual residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and every July, us members of the dance world watch in envy as NYCB company members' Saratoga photos start filling our Instagram feeds.

Sara Mearns rehearsing onstage at SPAC (Photo by Kyle Froman Photography)

They've got it all: Lake days! Home-cooked meals! Hikes through gorgeous meadows! Dancing their incredible rep on a giant, outdoor stage! And best of all, engagements! (Congrats to Chase and Lauren!!!!)

 

Here are some of our favorite moments thus far:

 

#nofilter #saratogalake #daysoff #summertimevibes @justin_peck

A photo posted by @madeeks on

Annual Saratoga tradition (!) #BoSsam

A photo posted by Justin Peck (@justin_peck) on

Regram @reidbartelme | summertime living

A photo posted by Gretchen Smith (@gretchen.h.smith) on

Farm life 2 with @rustlegj

A photo posted by Reid Bartelme (@reidbartelme) on

 

(Via Marika Anderson's Instagram, Justin Peck's Instagram, Tiler Peck's Instagram, Gretchen Smith's Instagram, Reid Bartelme's Instagram and Ashley Bouder's Instagram)

Dance News

I'm also thankful for dancing turkeys. Thank you, dancing turkeys, for dancing. And being turkeys.

What are you thankful for this year? Finally hitting that 6 o'clock penchée? Being cast in your dream Nutcracker role? Getting your first pair of pointe shoes?

Here at Dance Spirit, we have a Thanksgiving tradition: Each year, everyone on staff expresses appreciation for the dance-y things that make our world a little brighter. And since being a member of the DS team comes with pretty amazing dance-related perks, we always have a lot to be thankful for. Here's what everyone had to say this time around.

"I'm thankful for the many web series about dance, like AOL On's 'city.ballet.,' Teen Vogue's 'Strictly Ballet' and Dance Spirit's own 'Road to Nationals.' Whenever I need a break at the office, I can grab my headphones, sit back and watch an inspiring episode—and it still looks like I'm doing work!" —Jenny Dalzell, managing editor

"I'm thankful to get to interview some of the youngest dancers featured in DS for our 'You Should Know' column. I'm constantly inspired by their passion, optimism, humility and gratitude—not to mention their insane talent!" —Maggie McNamara, assistant editor

"I'm thankful to be surrounded by amazingly gifted dancers. I always have inspiration to work harder." —Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, assistant editor

"I'm thankful for artists like Misty Copeland, Tiler Peck and Wendy Whelan, who show dancers everywhere that there are so many options beyond a traditional stage performance career." —Meggie Hermanson, fashion editor

As for me? I'm thankful to be living in NYC, a city with more dancers per square foot than anywhere else in the universe. Every single day, I have opportunities to experience these artists' energy and passion—onstage, in the studio, at DS photo shoots, on the subway (it happens!). I love you, NYC—almost enough to make me forget how much rent I'm paying.

Happy Turkey Day!

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