The Checklist of Champions: Getting Organized Before Nationals
Imagine that you’re standing in the wings at Nationals, ready to rock your tap number. Just as you’re about to step onto the stage, your elbow-length glove slides down to your wrist. Panic sets in as you realize you forgot to bring double-stick tape to secure your gloves, and you won’t be able to keep them in place once you start moving around onstage!
From accessory bloopers to forgotten props, the list of things that can go awry at Nationals isn’t a short one. But, by planning ahead and packing carefully, you can ensure that you’ll have everything you need on competition day. Being prepared is part of being professional, so summon your inner Girl Scout and follow this comprehensive checklist to avoid Nationals nightmares.
Note: Specific needs vary from dancer to dancer, so be sure to check with your teacher to find out what else you should add to this list.
__Makeup and nail polish remover
__Hairbrush and comb
__Bobby pins in various colors and sizes
__False eyelashes and lash glue
__Cotton swabs and facial tissues
__Topical heat rub
__Instant ice packs
__Tampons or pads
__Garment bags or zip-close bags for each costume
__A collapsible costume rack and hangers
__Tights (bring extras!)
__Practice shoes and/or foot thongs
__Warm-up and rehearsal clothing
__Clear nail polish (in case you get a run in your tights)
__Instant stain remover
__Electrolyte-filled fluids like Gatorade, coconut water or Smartwater
__High-energy snacks like sandwiches, veggies, sunflower seeds, almonds and grapes
The Best of the Rest
__Your team jacket or sweats
__Bras and underwear
__Dance bag and laundry bag for already-worn items
__Markers for labeling items
__Camera and iPod
__List of important contact numbers and addresses
__Good-luck charm (if you have one)
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:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.