What to Wear at Nationals This Year
Attention, ladies and gentlemen: We've officially hit Nationals season! And that means it's time to dig through those closets to find the perfect clothes to get you noticed during convention classes. The task can feel totally overwhelming—but we're here to help. Follow our guidelines, and you'll be rocking the dance floor with Travis Wall and making Stacey Tookey yell "GORGEOUS!" in no time.
1. DON'T choose slippery footwear.
Make sure whatever you put on your feet has enough traction for those slick convention ballroom floors. Find a sock or shoe that has great turning potential, but can simultaneously handle an Andy Pellick combo without making you fall flat on your face during a battement.
2. DO wear clothes that elongate your lines.
Christina Riccuci serving up some stunning lines (courtesy Break the Floor Productions)
How many times have we all been told to elongate? So. Many. Times. So don't let your clothes shrink you! For an an extra bit of length, avoid pieces that cut off your lines. Certain capris and crop tops can keep you from showing the full beauty of a movement.
3. DON'T wear something uncomfortable.
Just don't do it. Can you imagine learning Misha Gabriel's fast and intricate movement while wearing the world's most restrictive halter-top? YIKES! Only choose items you can move and breathe in. Those days of classes are long and exhausting, and you deserve to feel good.
4. DON'T dance with your hair in your face.
There are few things more powerful than a well executed, perfectly timed hair flip (aka Leiomy Lolly). That being said, nothing's more distracting than hair you just can't get out of your face. Make sure your hair doesn't pull your focus away from the choreography, and that teachers and judges can connect with your eyes when you perform.
5. DO wear something that makes you feel awesome.
Confidence at convention is key. From the first moment you step into that room, teachers and students can sense how you feel about yourself. Wear something that makes you feel like the best version of you—regardless of what everyone else is wearing. You'll dance better when you know you look good.
Knock 'em dead, people! This is your year!
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!