The Guys, The Girl and The Go-Tos
Where you’ve seen him: In LXD webisodes; as Kid Darkness in Step Up 3D; dancing on Madonna’s Re-Invention and Confessions tours; as a featured dancer in Shakira’s “Did It Again” music video.
Why he’s hot: Cloud brings a whimsical, elegant touch to his b-boying—think a modern-day Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, both of whom Cloud credits as major influences on his dance style.
What he’s doing now: Cloud is branching out by creating and directing his own short dance films. Check out “Welcome Home” online and fall in love with his charismatic character.
Why the nickname? “Growing up, I loved looking at clouds,” Cloud says. “I get lost in them—the way they move across the sky, constantly changing forms, shifting and creating pictures. Clouds take me to another place. I think that’s a great goal to have as a dancer, to be able to take someone away with your movement.”
Where you’ve seen him: Working as the associate director and choreographer for A. R. Rahman’s Jai Ho world tour; dancing on the Spice Girls’ Reunion world tour; as a featured dancer in The Wedding Singer and iPod commercials.
Why you need to know his name: Scotty landed his first dance job at the young age of 13—and it was a big one: dancing with Michael Jackson. He’s trained in hip hop, krumping, popping, b-boying and martial arts, and he recently choreographed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus shows!
What he’s doing now: Scotty and his girlfriend, Tracy Shibata, directed and performed in “There Goes My Baby,” a short dance film that uses visual trickery for a mind-bending dance experience. He’s also launching his own line of dance-inspired footwear this summer called New Street Order.
Where you’ve seen him: On tour with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Keyshia Cole and Paulina Rubio; dancing at awards shows and in music videos with Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Queen Latifah and Kelly Rowland; as assistant choreographer for Beyoncé’s “Video Phone” music video featuring Lady Gaga.
Why you need to know his name: Khasan, a former competition dancer at Dance Precisions in Placentia, CA, trained on scholarship at EDGE Performing Arts Center. His dancing oozes maturity and sophistication with a sexy edge.
What he’s doing now: Dancing on Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite tour.
Where you’ve seen her: Pretty much everywhere! Choreographing and dancing with The LXD; dancing in Step Up 3D; as a choreographer and dancer for 17 Again; as associate co-choreographer for the Broadway revival of Dreamgirls; dancing backup for Janet Jackson and Ne-Yo; choreographing for Usher and The Jonas Brothers.
Why you need to know her name: Galen is conquering the industry—which she’s been a part of since she was 7, when she performed with a dance group that was named “Star Search” junior champion. She’s worked with more than 40 major artists, but she’s also a brainy babe: Galen attended Penn State University while simultaneously touring with Snoop Dogg. She graduated with a BA in law and society!
What she’s doing now: Choreographing Volkswagen and Skechers commercials, working on a dance-inspired photo and video project with photographer Carlos Serrao and working with AFTRA and Dancers’ Alliance (an organization created by dancers to standardize non-union work) to help unionize music videos and tours.
Rich and Tone Talauega
Where you’ve seen them: There’s a chance you haven’t seen them—they’re behind the scenes, working as two of Hollywood’s most in-demand choreographers.
Why you need to know their names: Together, these brothers have choreographed more than 150 commercials, music videos, films, live tours and performances. Their long resumé includes projects for Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Usher, the Backstreet Boys, the Black Eyed Peas and Britney Spears. If you book commercial jobs, it’s likely you’ll be working with these powerhouses.
What they’re doing now: Rich and Tone continue to stay busy: Earlier this year they choreographed a dance-centric commercial campaign for Old Navy and worked on the Super Bowl Best Buy commercial featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. They’ve choreographed Chris Brown’s recent performances and music videos and they’re on board to create several numbers for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson tribute tour. This summer, the brothers will be in Europe working on the 3-D feature film Street Dance 2.
Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers
P!nk, known for her high-flying, acrobatic awards show sets, has literally raised the bar for pop stars everywhere. For her performance at last night's American Music Awards, P!nk decided to break out some flips and tricks ON THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. WHILE FLAWLESSLY SINGING HER FACE OFF. You know, just casually, like you do when you're a full-on goddess.
When you think of a dancer, a double leg amputee may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But Eric Graise, who's one of the stars of the upcoming "Step Up: High Water" YouTube Red series, hopes to change that. Graise, whose legs were amputated as a child due to missing fibula bones, will play a character named King in the new dance series, set to debut early next year.
We all suffer from Nutcracker fatigue sometimes. After a zillion performances, it's hard not to. But there's nothing to restore your little-kid sense of Nutcracker wonder like a look at the sheer scale of a world-class Nut.
New York City Ballet's iconic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens on Friday, and for the past week, the company has been Tweeting out some seriously eye-popping #NutcrackerNumbers. The stats cover everything from the number of jingle bells used on each Candy Cane costume (that'd be 144) to the watts of light used in the show's grand finale (ONE. MILLION. WATTS.).
Oh hey there, Hallmark Channel! The producer of all those sweet, homey movies best watched in your PJs with your mom has a super dance-y film on its holiday lineup this season: A Nutcracker Christmas. And the casting is—to use a very Hallmark-y pun—perfectly on pointe.
A Nutcracker Christmas tells the story of a talented professional dancer, Lilly, whose supportive sister dies just as Lilly is about to perform the role of Clara in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet. (Nit-picky fact-checking: In New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she's known as Marie and danced by a child, but OK.) Lilly's boyfriend and dance partner, Mark, keeps her from performing in the show, which makes Lilly declare she'll never dance again. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Lilly's niece, Sadie, is about to dance Clara in a different company's Nutcracker—a company run by, of all people, Mark. And tons of drama ensues.
Yes, it's a whole lot of plot to wrap your head around. But the real story here is that Sadie is played by none other than the phenomenal Sophia Lucia, and the ever-dashing Sascha Radetsky is also involved in the project. (Radetsky's exact role is unclear from the press material, but he seems like a pretty natural fit for Mark, no?) The odds seem good that we'll get the gift of some very high-quality dancing. Merry Christmas to us!
Sophia Lucia showing off those banana feet (via @sophialucia5678)
You can catch A Nutcracker Christmas on December 10 at 8 pm. Get your slippers and hot cocoa ready.
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
One of the most beautiful things social media has brought us is the ability to feel like we're up close and personal behind-the-scenes with all our favorite dancers. And one of our favorite stars to Insta-stalk are actually two casts of 36 scintillatingly synchronized precision dancers. I'm talking, of course, about my mild obsession with the legendary Radio City Rockettes.
Have we mentioned lately how much we love dance dads? Especially ones who show up to their daughter's ballet class sporting a tutu, like Thanh Tran.
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?