Tapping into Something Special
Here at DS, we're all about dance concept videos—you know, those short films that use dance to convey some sort of meaning. And this year's already given us a lot of great stuff: Kyle Hanagami inspired us for the New Year, Keone and Mari Madrid taught us about love and heartbreak, Harry Shum Jr. stood up for the shy kids, Del Mak took us inside his dance daydreams and the Jabbawokeez introduced us to an alternate reality.
Now it's time to talk about two tap choreographers who've also tapped into the magical world of dance concept videos: Mark Orsborn and Justin Myles. As co-founders of The JaM Project, a Washington, D.C.–based collective of passionate professional hoofers, Orsborn and Myles use rhythm and cinematography to accomplish something pretty brilliant.
But what's so cool about some of their recent work is that it's not too conceptual. They're masters of keeping things just abstract enough to let your imagination wander. In fact, letting your imagination wander is exactly what this first video, featuring Orsborn's choreography, is all about:
That's our kind of coffee break!
And just last week, The JaM Project released another video, this one featuring Myles' choreography. "Gravity" takes abstract to the next level, really forcing viewers to decide for themselves what it's all about. What do the planes mean? Why are these tappers so melancholy? What does the song (John Mayer's "Gravity") have to do with the theme of the video? This is some deep stuff, guys. Check it out, and find out what "Gravity" says to you:
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽