The Top 12 Dance Moments of 2012
By Deen Van Meer
Was 2012 the danciest year ever? Newsboys on Broadway were hawking “papes” and seizing the day. Everyone was flash-mobbing, in the movies and online. You couldn’t change the TV channel without flipping past a show featuring dancers competing to become America’s favorite, trying to impress their moms (and crazy teacher) or attempting to launch a contemporary company. They say 2012 was the Year of the Dragon, but we say it was the Year of the Dancer. Here are 12 reasons why.
1. Newsies found a home—and rave reviews—on Broadway. After a successful run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, the show moved to Broadway in March and became an immediate hit with critics and audiences alike. With a singalong-worthy soundtrack and a charming cast of cute boys (our July/August cover stars!), the show, which is still running and thriving, is a must-see for dancers. (Unsurprisingly, Christopher Gattelli won the Tony Award for Best Choreography.)
By Paul Drinkwater/NBC
2. Dancers got in on the London Olympics. Choreographers Akram Khan, Christopher Wheeldon and Alastair Marriott contributed to the opening and closing ceremonies. Before the games, Elizabeth Streb’s dancers “ambushed” London, hanging off the Millennium Bridge and the London Eye—proof dance doesn’t have to be an Olympic sport to get a piece of the action.
By Sam Emerson/SMPSP
3. Step Up Revolution mixed flash mobbing with contemporary moves to create a 3-D choreographic explosion. The dancing in this high-energy flick was insane. Plus, it featured many of our favorites, including Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Mia Michaels, tWitch, Phillip Chbeeb, Brandon Bryant, Joshua Allen and Chad “Madd Chadd” Smith.
By Stephanie Berger
4. The Paris Opéra Ballet hit the road stateside, marking the first time U.S. audiences had seen the Frenchies in 16 years.
By Adam Rose/FOX
5 . “So You Think You Can Dance” changed its format. The show aired once a week, which meant cramming a group routine, couples performances, guest acts, solos and, ultimately, a dismissal of the lowest-ranked contestants into each episode. Plus, we got two winners (check ’em out on the cover). Season highlights included a Mia Michaels tribute episode and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the best guest judge ever.
6. The Royal Ballet went live online. For one day in March, the company opened its doors to the world via YouTube and The Guardian’s website, and viewers got to watch a class, performance rehearsals and a discussion with resident choreographer Wayne McGregor.
7. “Call Me Maybe” got stuck in our heads. OK, Carly Rae Jepsen isn’t a dancer, but it’s hard to look back on 2012 without recalling all the “Call Me Maybe” parodies and tributes. (Though these days we’re partial to “Gangnam Style.”)
By Barbara Nitke
8. Dance took center stage on TV. We were glued to our screens catching returning favorites (“So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Dance Moms” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”) and getting hooked on new ones (“Smash,” “Bunheads,” “Breaking Pointe” and “All the Right Moves”). It didn’t take long for Beckanne, Travis, Boo and Ivy to become household names.
By Joan Marcus
9. Andy Blankenbuehler brought cheermania to the Great White Way. Bring It On: The Musical basket-tossed onto the scene with high-flying choreography, a killer soundtrack and a cast of enthusiastic, pom pom–wielding dancers making their Broadway debuts.
By Gene Schiavone
10. There was moving and shaking at American Ballet Theatre. Principals Ethan Stiefel and Angel Corella retired from the company, while Polina Semionova was added to the roster. ABT’s lineup of Met season guest artists was impressive (Diana Vishneva! Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova!), and the excitement was bolstered by the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird.
11. Dancers became in-demand models. Jookin’ man Lil Buck and San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan turned up all over town—and in magazines—in print ads for Gap, while American Ballet Theatre’s Puanani Brown showed off her skivvies for Fruit of the Loom.
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. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night: