True Life: I Was at the "So You Think You Can Dance" Finale
Our winner, Kathryn Thies (left), and her friend Samantha Simmons on the red carpet before the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 10 finale. (courtesy Kathryn Thies)
Thousands of you entered our sweepstakes to win an all-expenses paid trip to the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 10 finale. And while we wish we could've sent you all, we had to choose just one winner and randomly selected Kathryn Thies. (Lucky girl!)
We caught up with Kathryn to hear all about her trip of a lifetime.
Dance Spirit: What was your reaction when you learned you'd won a trip to the finale?
Kathryn Thies: Disbelief. And then super excitement. It still didn't feel real a week later. I don't think it actually really hit me until the day before the trip.
DS: Who did you bring as your guest?
KT: I brought my friend Samantha, who I've been friends with since high school. Her place used to be the midway point on a long drive I made on a regular basis. I always used to stop for the night and we usually ended up watching "SYTYCD." I was super excited to share the trip with her!
DS: What was your favorite part of the trip?
KT: I felt so lucky and spoiled this trip! I tried a lot of awesome new food, learned a lot and laughed a lot.
DS: What was the most unexpected part of the trip?
KT: We got to sit front row at the finale!
Reserved parking for Nappytabs!
DS: Do you have a favorite memory from the night?
KT: There was such a talented group of dancers this season. Seeing them perform in person was even cooler than watching them on TV. At the end, seeing Allison and tWitch together made my heart melt! And seeing the choreographers pride in the dancers after the taping stopped was awesome, too.
DS: What was it like watching the show live vs. on TV?
KT: We were front row, so you could see every little detail and every movement. Somehow, it's just all more exciting in person! I also got a thumbs up from my favorite dancer (I went a little fan-girl and shouted his name as he left stage, so he turned and gave me a thumbs up).
Kathryn visiting Ginger Rogers star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
DS: After watching the live performances, which dancer is your favorite?
KT: Aaron and Jasmine have been my favorites from the very beginning. I think all four finalists were awesome in different ways, but Jasmine's grace blows me away and Aaron's ability to master all of the genres made them my favorites.
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 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.
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.
Happy birthday, George Balanchine! The great choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet would have been 114 years old today. Balanchine revolutionized ballet, especially American ballet—and he also had quite a way with words. To celebrate Mr. B's birthday, we rounded up some of our favorite iconic Balanchine quotes.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.