Cabaret—Ooh, La, La!
Dancers dripping in bling brought sass to the stage! We saw sparkly bra-tops, corsets, fishnets and fringe, which are all reminiscent of the flapper style.
“I don’t like dancing in layers because I feel restricted. At my studio, we buy our own bras and cover them with material. They look really nice onstage, especially when they have a lot of diamonds!” — Madison Booth, 15, dancer at Elite Danceworx in Toronto, ON, CAN (far right)
“Slips are comfortable and easy to dance in. It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a costume.”— Kayla Troughton, 16 dancer at Elite Danceworx in Toronto, ON, CAN (center)
Mad for Plaid
Convention goers piled on scarves, socks, shorts, backpacks and button-downs in plaid patterns. Checks please!
“At first I was like, ‘why are dancers wearing scarves? It’s 90 degrees in LA!’ But the scarves are actually really thin and accent the rest of an outfit.” —Shane Sparks, teacher at The PULSE
“All ages and levels were sporting plaid of some sort in classes at The PULSE on Tour this year. The most popular colors were yellow, red, purple, blue and black and white. We saw plaid button-down shirts, plaid shorts and dresses. I even saw a pair of red plaid shoes on one of the protégés in NYC. —April Cook, PR/Marketing Director at The PULSE
Femme and Fabulous
You got your girly-girl on and looked lovely in ruffles, lace, satin and pretty dresses.
“I’m wearing a vintage dress from the 50s. It’s very housewife-esque: innocent and put together.” —Danna Rosenfield, 17, (right) dancer at Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts in Newbury Park, CA
Metallic booty shorts, dresses, leggings, sneakers and even unitards made dancers shine—literally!
“I would totally wear this dress to a homecoming dance or a formal dinner.” —Naja Lee, 15, (right) dancer at Premier One Dance Academy in Chicago, IL
Each of these masks was hand-painted and customized for the dancers. Perhaps some competition for the JabbaWockeeZ?
This year choreographers gave a nod to “So You Think You Can Dance” by adding partnering to their routines. We saw it in every style from ballet to hip hop.
“We do a lot of interesting lifts in this dance. Some people are in ballet slippers and some are in pointe shoes. It’s modern ballet, and it’s scary.” —Kaylie Pearson from Excite Dance Company in Flower Mound, TX, on her Dracula-themed ballet routine
Breaking The Mold
Many studios played on the idea of high school stereotypes, from the popular clique to the geeks.
The dancers from Southwest School of Dance in Marshall, MN, are not friends until the end of the number when they flip their signs to show real names, indicating that they’ve broken down barriers. Their routine was titled “Labels” and they danced to Citizen Cope’s “Let the Drummer Kick.”
“Everyone is waiting on the world to change, but we’re the ones to change it, and we’re doing that through dance.” —Fenton Fulgham, co-owner and choreographer at Revelation Dance Studio in Plano, TX, on his production number to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” about high school cliques
“This year, I’ve noticed a lot of novelty and character pieces, like ‘Ring Them Bells’ and ‘Speaking French.’ It’s all about musical theater.” —Amber Skipps from South Coast Performing Arts in Tustin, CA
“Every team brought its own individuality this year from the music to the choreography. We saw a lot of variety. The one thing that all the teams had in common was amazing choreographers and dancers with strong work ethics. Every team really pushed to the limit.” —Rodney Chester, Trio Talent Agency, judge at LA Dance Magic
“What’s been really big this year is that contemporary is totally outshining the other styles due to ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ The tricks are now more than just kicks and turns. Teams are watching the moves on TV and making them their own. We’ve also seen a lot of lyrical hip-hop, probably thanks to Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo.” —Harmony Flores from Dance & Cheer Stars in Manteca, CA
“We’re seeing real contemporary, not just flopping around and falling on the floor. Choreographers are telling a story rather than just creating steps. The music editing has also improved greatly this year.” —Rustin Matthews, judge at Hollywood Vibe
“Ever since ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ I’ve noticed people are choreographing to slow songs and incorporating themed choreography. Themes make you want to pay attention. I’m very theme-oriented. I can’t just get up there and do moves because moves don’t mean anything. This is something that I hope people start catching on to, so that at the end of a piece people are like, ‘I really felt that.’” —Shane Sparks, teacher at The PULSE
The songs of the season: “Halo” by Beyoncé, “The Garden” by Mirah, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, “Breakable” by Ingrid Michaelson, “Putting on the Ritz” by Irving Berlin, “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls, “Rock This Party” by Bob Sinclair, “Mercy” by Duffy, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer, “Lost” by Anouk, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” from Thoroughly Modern Millie, “Ring Them Bells” by Bob Dylan, “Be Our Guest” from Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, “Cabaret” from Cabaret, “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees, “Closer” by Ne-Yo, “Shy” from Once Upon a Mattress,” “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang, “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) ” by “Beyoncé, “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel,” “Boom Boom Pow” by Black Eyed Peas, “Cool” from West Side Story, “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” by Buckwheat Boyz, “Innocence” by Bjork, “Champagne Supernova” by Angie Aparo, “Grace” by Kate Havnevik, “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé...
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The 2018 Oscar noms are here. Which is fun and all; we'll never not get excited about a night of glitz and glamor and, when we're lucky, pretty great dancing. But we'd be a heck of a lot more excited if the Academy Awards included a Best Choreography category. And really—why don't they?
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
There are zillions of things to think about when choosing a summer program, but here's one you might not have considered: using an intensive as an opportunity to focus on a new style. Maybe you're a tap dancer who's ready to see where else your rhythm and quick feet can serve you, or a contemporary dancer curious about the more traditional roots of your genre. A summer program can be the perfect place to broaden your horizons, giving you the opportunity to make technical and artistic changes that stick throughout the year.