Dance News

Why U.S. Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Is Giving Us Life On The Floor

Tonight, U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles—two of the buzziest names surrounding this year's Rio Olympic Games—will represent Team USA in the all-around finals.

And don't get us wrong, we are all about these two superstars. Biles, at her first-ever Olympic Games, has quickly become America's Sweetheart, with all the energy, power and strength of a true athlete and fierce competitor. And Raisman, the eldest of the Final Five, has the maturity, grace and effortless demeanor young gymnasts dream of.

But we as dancers are here to represent Team Laurie Hernandez.

Hernandez is an absolute gem, and her floor routine was perfection. (The fact that it started off with a smirk and a wink sealed the deal before the music even began.) She moves with an infectious joy that gets the world to smile, and her tumbling passes are seemingly unreal. (Seriously, girl, how?) What we love best about her, though?

The girl can dance!

Hernandez, a high school sophomore from New Jersey, doesn't look like the other gymnasts on the floor, who throw a few awkward, jerky "dance moves" between tumbling passes and call it dancing. There's none of that here. Hernandez moves with serious style, and her moves are fluid and fun. She seems to genuinely love performing, and isn't just in this for the flips and tricks (which, TBH, are beyond incredible). She's vibrant, she's on top of her music, and she's got visible confidence.

See?

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Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB

Mark your calendars, bunheads! On Monday, January 29th, at 2:45 PM (EST)/11:45 AM (PST), Pacific Northwest Ballet will be streaming a live rehearsal of Act II of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake.

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Leap! National Dance Competition offers dancers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their talents in an event where the focus is on fun and competing is just a bonus!

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Dancer to Dancer

Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!

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The School at Jacob's Pillow's contemporary program auditions (photo by Karli Cadel, courtesy Jacob's Pillow)

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Tavaris Jones dancing with the Cleveland Cavaliers' Scream Team hip-hop crew

We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)

So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Joe Toreno

The coolest place she's ever performed:

I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!


Something she's constantly working on:

My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'


Signature look:

My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.


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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!

Serafina

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Screenshot via YouTube

*suddenly feels the overpowering urge to purchase a million bottles of Pocari Sweat*

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Dance News
Mandy Moore (photo by Lee Cherry, courtesy Bloc Agency)

In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.

Read more at dancemagzine.com!

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Martha Graham Dance Company member, Marzia Memoli (photo by Sean Martin, courtesy Martin)

Marzia Memoli may be the Martha Graham Dance Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Memoli started studying at age 16 at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Later, she attended the Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, Switzerland, before heading to NYC in 2016 to join MGDC. This month, she'll perform The Rite of Spring in the Martha Graham Studio Series in NYC, and tour with the company in Florida. Read on for the dirt.

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