The Best Remedy For A Dull Oscars Show: More Dancing
Did the 83rd Annual Academy Awards bore you? I certainly had trouble staying awake through the whole show. Granted, the poor chemistry between the handsome-but-ever-blasé James Franco and his gorgeous-but-geeky co-host Anne Hathaway was partly to blame. Plus, the bland material the show's writers provided them with did not help. But the thing I was most upset about when I was watching this year's production was the lack of dancing!
I know that as an editor of a dance magazine, I'm a biased observer. But I can't believe I'm the only one who was disappointed that the only dancing we saw during the more-than-three-hour-show was in the form of clips from Top Hat and Black Swan. I really think it took away from the glamorous, magical feeling normally associated with such a high-profile event. I suppose last year’s “Old Hollywood” style song-and-dance number choreographed by Adam Shankman and the special performance by The LXD may have spoiled me. But I really think there should have been more dancing in this year's production—especially in a year with a dance movie in the running for "best picture."
Perhaps I'm being too picky about this particular production. I suppose the omission of dance from the program was almost natural considering the degree to which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organization behind the Oscars) ignores dance-in-film in general. Have you noticed that there isn't even a category devoted to choreography? (Note: The academy did give awards for "Dance Direction" for a brief, three-year-period in the 1930s. Click here to see the nominees and winners.) Seemingly every other element of filmmaking is accounted for at the awards—including writing, editing, music, visual effects, makeup and more—but dancing and choreography goes unrecognized. What gives?
I realize that films about dance are few and far between and that movie musicals have mostly fallen out of favor, but there's still plenty of dance in film, and plenty of hard-working dancers and choreographers whose work doesn't get the respect it deserves in this medium. It seems like a gross oversight that, in the past decade alone, choreographers including Benjamin Millepied (Black Swan), Rob Marshall (Chicago) and Shankman (Hairspray) have flown completely under the radar at the awards.
Here's hoping that the new wave of mainstream enthusiasm for dance being brought about by the popularity of Black Swan will inspire the academy to reconsider its position on dance and move to formally recognize it once again. (If I had my way, I'd add two categories: one focused on choreography and one focused on the dancers who perform in these films.) Not only would such a move give silver screen dancers and choreographers the respect they deserve; it would also likely increase the entertainment value of the annual awards show. Just think about how much more lively the show would be if the dancers from four or five films were to perform excerpts from the dance numbers in their movies in the same way that singers perform songs for the "Original Song" category! I can't think of a better way to break up the string of boring acceptance speeches and take some of the pressure off the hosts to fill time with less-than-witty banter. Win-win!
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.