Taylor Hatata and Larsen Thompson Are Fraternal #Twinsies
How did hip-hop prodigies Taylor Hatala and Larsen Thompson become the “Fraternal Twins"? Well, let's see: Both are rising stars on the commercial scene, booking coveted gig after coveted gig. Both are members of Will “WilldaBeast" Adams' immaBEAST crew and Brian Friedman's Suga N Spice crew. Both dominate in Janelle Ginestra's crazy-popular YouTube videos. Both are known for giving profoundly, overwhelmingly impressive stank face.
Basically, these talented ladies are two of a (truly extraordinary) kind. And did we mention they're best friends? Taylor, now 12, and Larsen, now 15, first met while filming a concept video with immaBEAST. “I'd already seen Larsen a few times and thought, 'Holy crow, this girl is so darn good!' " Taylor says. Soon the two started training together with Friedman, Matt Steffanina, Kyle Hanagami and Tricia Miranda. It didn't take long before Ginestra choreographed a YouTube video for them to Britney Spears' “How I Roll," showcasing their special skills. “Janelle said, 'Your movements are so synchronized and in the exact same style—I love you as a duet,' " Larsen remembers. “She was the one who came up with the name 'Fraternal Twins.' "It was the beginning of a beautiful partnership. Since then, Taylor and Larsen have filmed five videos together, all of which have torn up the internet and earned major media buzz. (Ryan Seacrest premiered their recent video for Sweety High on his show, and Glamour dubbed them “our new YouTube dancing obsessions.") “At first, we didn't even care about views. At the end of the day, we do it because we love it," Larsen says. “But it's been so fun to see people around the world watching us, enjoying our performances and commenting."
All that attention is well earned, given the amount of hard work the girls put in behind the scenes. Each video requires about two weeks of planning, from location scouting to music mixing, followed by two days of rehearsal and a full day of shooting. The resulting clips feature a wide range of looks and styles—from the Beyoncé-driven high-power office setting of “Run the World" to the desert showdown of “IDFWU," in which they rock out in Ginestra's vintage muscle car. But they're all marked by the signature Fraternal Twins style: super-sharp movements, outrageous energy and exaggerated facials. “Both Taylor and Larsen are completely full-out," Ginestra says. “Anything I give them, they attack full force. And they complement each other—Taylor brings a more masculine energy and Larsen brings the femininity."
So what's next for these social media darlings? Along with more Fraternal Twins videos, the two are in the process of filming a dance reality show (though they can't share too many details yet). They recently competed on “America's Got Talent" with the Suga N Spice crew, and starred in a DC Comics project as the “DC Super Hero Girls." Both are also making headway with their non-dance ambitions, including singing (Taylor) and modeling (Larsen).
Even as their plates become increasingly full with professional jobs, both Taylor and Larsen say they'll always make time for Fraternal Twins fun. “I look up to Taylor and she looks up to me," Larsen says. “We feed off each other's energy." Taylor agrees. “I love the whole 'twin' thing!" she says. “I hope we can inspire younger girls to go out and find that creative partner who makes you happy."
All About Larsen
Dancing? Modeling? Acting? Check, check and check: This fiery redhead can do it all. Larsen started her dance training at age 4, and her varied skills have earned her spots in Target and Microsoft commercials and on TV shows, including “Shake It Up." She even showed off her modeling chops on a recent cover of fashion magazine Neo2.
Of course, balancing all that with life as a high school freshman is no easy feat. Larsen often sandwiches dance classes between schoolwork, auditions and modeling gigs. “Usually I don't finish my homework until 2 am," she says. “But I'm doing what I love—so I don't care how late I have to stay up!"
All About Taylor
Most 12-year-olds don't get the chance to tour with Janet Jackson, but Taylor isn't most 12-year-olds. The charismatic cutie first got noticed when clips of her dancing to songs like “Shake It Off" and “All About That Bass" in Matt Steffanina's class went viral. (Everyone from Chris Brown to Nicki Minaj has shared her videos. NBD.) Her popularity continued to grow after she performed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show" with choreographer Laurence Kaiwai. Now the Canada native is on the road with Jackson's Unbreakable World Tour, which hits Europe this spring. Taylor starts each show day with four hours of schooling on site, followed by rehearsals, a quick bite, and hair and makeup before hitting the stage. “I'll never forget the moment choreographer Gil Duldulao said, 'Congratulations, you just booked Janet Jackson's world tour,' " says Taylor, who beat out more than 150 other young dancers for the job. “It's been such a whirlwind."
Look up “BFFL" in the dictionary, and you'll likely see a photo of this tight-knit twosome. In fact, Larsen says they often get into texting fights over who can send each other the most heart emojis (!). Here are a few fun facts about Taylor and Larsen's forever friendship.
BFF goals (Jayme Thornton)
How Taylor describes Larsen: “Hilarious, inspiring and loving."
How Larsen describes Taylor: “Trustworthy, shy at first but outgoing once you know her, and the kindest person I've ever met."
What they do for fun: Have sleepovers, stage random fashion shows, watch “Gossip Girl," go out for fro-yo, start spontaneous dance parties to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs (“What Do You Mean?" is their current fave) and make time-lapse videos on their phones.
Sister act: Choreographer Janelle Ginestra says these two love each other like sisters, and Taylor and Larsen agree. But who's the big sis? Even though Larsen's older, Taylor often acts as the senior sibling. “She's so mature for her age—it shocks me all the time," Larsen says.
Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.
OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.
Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.
Today in Ballet Dancers Are Actual Superheroes news:
You've no doubt heard that the fabulous Alicia Vikander is playing Lara Croft in the newest iteration of Tomb Raider, which hits movie theaters this Friday. But while her training for the high-octane action role was crazy tough, she says, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was far tougher.
What do you get when a hoard of dancers collaborate to the catchy tune of "Love Somebody," by the band Frenship? The most epic dance party ever, of course! Said dance party was produced by the talented Michael Riccio, who's performed in feature films, including "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" and "Shrek Forever After."
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.
Are you a high school senior who's been accepted to a four-year accredited college or university program? Congrats! Within the 2017-2018 season, have you competed in events run by at least two of the organizations in the above graphic? Double congrats, because the Association of Dance Conventions and Competitions, or ADCC for short, wants to give you $1,000 (!!) towards college tuition.
From dancing in music videos (including Katy Perry's "Swish Swish") to performing on reality TV shows (including "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice"), 17-year-old Amanda LaCount is already conquering the commercial scene. If you've ever seen her dance, you understand why: She's a hard-hitting phenom with major stage presence. But in an industry where not having the "right" look can jeopardize your career, Amanda's also blazed her own path by accepting her beautiful curvy body the way it is.
Amanda's never let body-shamers discourage her from going after her dreams. She hopes that by breaking the "dancers are skinny" stereotype, she'll give others the courage to highlight their own unique features rather than hiding them or changing them to fit repressive industry standards. She's even started a campaign, #breakingthestereotype, to inspire artists of all shapes, colors, and sizes to dance for themselves.
We caught up with this dancing maverick to get her advice on cultivating body confidence in a world that's obsessed with the "perfect" body.
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 for a chance to be featured!
All the dancers in my level auditioned for a prestigious summer intensive—but I'm the only one who got in. Now everything is incredibly awkward at the studio. I'm really excited about the program, but I don't want to make my friends feel bad. What can I do?
Can't get enough of the dance party T. Swift throws herself in her "Delicate" music video? Take a look at the two making-of clips Taylor just shared on her Instagram, showing her practicing the vid's charmingly awkward choreography.