The PULSE Gets Our Hearts Racing
Whoa, guys. We're kind of still recovering from the incredible intensity of The PULSE on Tour's Final Night Gala, held yesterday in NYC.
The thing is, we came in thinking we were prepared for the awesomeness. We know how great The PULSE faculty is. When you have the likes of Cris Judd, Dave Scott, Ian Eastwood, Dee Caspary, Gil Duldulao and Tricia Miranda (to name just a few!) putting together pieces for some of the country's most talented dancers, you know you're in for a good time.
But we weren't prepared for just how good it would be. The PULSE dancers had less than a week to learn their routines, but they performed with the polish of experienced pros. We particularly loved the old-school romance of Judd's piece, set to Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," and the ferociousness of Duldulao's hard-hitting (literally—baseball bats were involved) number set to some classic '90s hip hop. (As you've probably figured out by now, we're all about a good #throwback.)
Rocking out to Billy Joel in Cris Judd's piece (photo via The PULSE)
There were also several knockout guest performances. Zendaya, one of our favorites of the moment, showed off some impressive dance skills while performing her hit song "Replay," backed by a crew of PULSE dancers. Flight Crew, a jump-roping (!) team currently competing on "America's Got Talent," did some unbelievable things with jump ropes. And a remarkable group of Elite Protégé alums celebrated The PULSE's 10th anniversary by reuniting for a piece by the fabulous Rhapsody James. (One of the sweetest moments of the night was the faculty's outsized reaction to that performance. Those dancers were once their students, and now they're earning A-list jobs all over the world.)
Flight Crew mid-flight (photo via The PULSE)
Emotions ran high as it came time to announce the 2014-2015 crop of Elite Protégés. 13 talented dancers—including Charlize Glass, Kierstyn Tupa, Elyssa Cueto and Trevor Takemoto—earned yearlong scholarships to The PULSE, plus opportunities to assist the convention's faculty. Congrats, everyone! We're so excited to see what amazing things you'll get up to this year.
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.