Who's Who on the Comp Scene
Kali Grinder (PROPIX)
Studio: The Dance Zone in Henderson, NV
In a sea of contemporary soloists, playful musicality and controlled isolations set this long-legged beauty apart. Most recently, Kali was named New York City Dance Alliance’s National Senior Outstanding Dancer 2011 and West Coast Dance Explosion’s National Runner Up Elite Dancer.
Fun Fact: Kali takes voice lessons and loves to sing. “It really becomes a problem for my teammates and teachers on long car drives!” she says.
Sarah Pippin (courtesy The Dance Awards)
Studio: CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh, NC
The tiny powerhouse wowed audiences in 2011 with her “Black Hawk Waltz” solo, where she showed that she can be delicate, she can be tough and she can balance for days. In 2011, Sarah was named NYCDA’s National Junior Female Outstanding Dancer and won the Teen Best Dancer title at The Dance Awards.
Fun Fact: Sarah is a die-hard North Carolina Tar Heels fan.
Megan Skalla (PROPIX)
Studio: The Dance Club in Orem, UT
A former Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, this pristine technician has an alluring stage presence and makes an aerial look as easy as skipping down the street.
Fun Fact: Megan is psyched to finally get her driver’s license this spring!
Payton Johnson (PROPIX)
Studios: Jean Leigh Academy of Dance in Denham Springs, LA, and the Dancers’ Workshop in Baton Rouge, LA
She’s balletic, funky and just plain fun to watch. In 2010, Payton was NYCDA’s National Mini Outstanding Dancer and NUVO’s National Mini Breakout Artist. Last year, she attended her first ballet competition and won the Youth America Grand Prix Hope Award. She also danced in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Fun Fact: Payton is a twin! She is two minutes older than her brother Parker.
Hannah Seiden (PROPIX)
Studio: Artistic Fusion Dance in Westminster, CO
The beyond-her-years maturity in Hannah’s passionate movement is captivating. In addition to dancing in Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance Collective, she recently won a four-year half-scholarship to Point Park University through NYCDA.
Fun Fact: Hannah loves to travel and aspires to visit hundreds of countries all
over the world.
Patrick Cook (by Brooke Roberson)
Studio: CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh, NC
He’s cute, quirky and versatile, and he’s already dancing with the pros. Last December Patrick performed in Break the Floor Productions’ Come Together, the debut show for Shaping Sound, a new company started by Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, Kyle Robinson and Misha Gabriel. Patrick is also an Advanced Pro Elite Protégé with The PULSE on Tour.
Fun Fact: Patrick can make water drop sounds like Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Victoria McWilliams (PROPIX)
Studio: Tempe Dance Academy in Tempe, AZ
With almost superhuman lines and control, this trained gymnast is as alluring on the dance floor as on the mat, whether performing her signature ring leap and back handspring half-twist or a simple port de bras. In 2009, Victoria was a Junior Olympics silver medalist for gymnastics, and she was also the 2010 New York City Dance Alliance first runner-up Teen Outstanding Dancer.
Fun Fact: Victoria loves the Harry Potter movies. She has a crush on Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy.
Luke Nielsen Spring (courtesy Jill Spring)
LUKE NIELSEN SPRING
Studio: Studio Bleu Dance Center in Ashburn, VA
Since finding a pair of tap shoes in the lost-and-found at his sister’s dance studio when he was 4, this tiny tap prodigy has charmed audiences with intricate rhythms that even a seasoned professional would envy. He competes in a variety of styles, but his natural talent in tap has earned him TV performances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the Season 7 Finale of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Fun Fact: At his first competition, when asked what he hoped to receive if he performed well, Luke replied, “pancakes.” When onstage during the awards ceremony, not only did he receive a first-place trophy, ribbon, plaque and medal, but the competition director presented him with a stack of hot pancakes as well!
Emma Bradley (PROPIX)
Studio: Buffa’s Dance Studio in Burke, VA
Emma Bradley is a personality-filled portrait of versatility, comfortable in everything from delicate pointe work to hard-hitting jazz. In addition to her summer studies with American Ballet Theatre and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Emma travels the convention circuit and participates in the NRG YouTube Video Dance Project. Her 2011 awards include NUVO Teen Breakout Artist and Teen High Score Soloist and WCDE Teen Elite Dancer. She’s also an Artists Simply Human Apprentice Winner.
Fun Fact: Emma loves her pet rabbits (Coco and Lola) and Nike sneakers.
Kamryn Beck (courtesy Starpower)
Studio: Krystie’s Dance Academy in Warren, OH
Kamryn’s dynamic energy and musicality make her impossible not to watch. She assists Mollee Gray at Wild Dance Conventions and was Starpower’s 2010 and 2011 National Junior Miss Dance.
Fun Fact: Kamryn’s family recently moved to Lancaster, PA, but she still commutes to Krystie’s in Warren, OH, every weekend to train—a five-hour drive each way! She sleeps over with studio owner Krystie or a teammate from Friday to Sunday.
Christina Ricucci (by David Hofmann)
Studios: Murrieta Dance Project in Murrieta, CA, and Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy in Laguna Hills, CA
This lithe beauty is the whole package: Not only is she the current “Miss Teen Dance America” for Kids Artistic Revue, but she also performs with the contemporary dance company Westside Dance Project, sings, models and was the 2010 Gold Medalist at the World Ballet Competition.
Fun Fact: Christina’s dad is in a band, and she loves to go onstage and sing with him.
Jordan Pelliteri (PROPIX)
Studio: Plumb Performing Arts Center in Scottsdale, AZ
Just try to watch this girl dance without staring at those gorgeous legs. The 2008 NYCDA National Outstanding Mini recently filmed a promo for the new TV show “Smash,” and in January she performed in NYCDA’s Destiny Rising show at NYC’s The Joyce Theater.
Fun Fact: Jordan’s favorite TV show is “Pretty Little Liars.”
Madison Cubbage (courtesy Strictly Rhythm)
Studio: Strictly Rhythm in Alexandria, VA
This super–in-shape, well-rounded powerhouse is constantly on the road assisting at The PULSE on Tour (where she’s an Elite Protégé) and Motiv8 Tour Dance Convention (where she’s an Apprentice).
Fun Fact: Madison works hard for those killer abs! She does core work several times daily.
Vinson Fraley Jr. (by Joshua Fedorul)
VINSON FRALEY JR.
Studio: DanceMakers of Atlanta, Inc., in Atlanta, GA
Vinson’s passionate lyricism and strong lines draw you into his world when he dances. The NYCDA high score soloist recently received a scholarship to the Dance Theater of Harlem’s summer program and hopes to one day dance with Alonzo King LINES Ballet or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Fun Fact: Vinson is a National Honor Student and loves to entertain his classmates with impersonations of funny TV commercials.
Paisley Norburg (PROPIX)
Studio: Next Step Dance Performing Arts Center in Frisco, TX
This high-energy blonde beauty is making moves on the competition stage and beyond.
She has been an NYCDA Regional Outstanding Dancer for the past three years and can be seen on the box of Mattel’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Barbie. She also recently danced in an Angelina Ballerina video segment.
Fun Fact: Paisley is a straight-A student and loves working with special needs children at her middle school.
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.
Take a look at Tiffany & Co.'s new ad campaign and you might recognize a familiar face. The one and only Maddie Ziegler has partnered with the luxury jewelry brand and the resulting video is pure brilliance. The glamorous collaboration reveals Maddie's candid thoughts about life as a dancer and the work ethic that's gotten her to where she is today.
We've all seen the videos on Instagram: a professional ballerina, casually perched atop a BOSU ball, développé-ing like it's no big deal. When done properly, BOSU ball exercises are both insanely impressive and incredibly effective for strengthening your core, ankles, and overall stability. Dance Spirit turned to Joel Prouty, a NYC-based personal trainer and injury prevention/exercise-conditioning specialist, for his top three BOSU ball moves, ranging from easy to hard.
Photos by Erin Baiano. Modeled by Lauren Post, dancer with American Ballet Theatre.
A few years ago, 16-year-old Kayla Gonzalez found herself dancing alongside a mean-spirited girl. “She could be so rude," says Gonzalez, who trains at The Dance Zone in Henderson, NV. “It got worse at competitions. She'd make up lies, saying my teammates and I were doing things we weren't. She was always trying to get ahead." Sound familiar? A competitive environment can bring out the very worst in some dancers' personalities. When put in a stressful situation, students can become bossy, overdramatic or downright mean. Here, DS breaks down four toxic types you might encounter, and offers tips on how to respond.
"A dancer's body is her instrument"—we've all heard the saying. But for steppers, who use their bodies to emulate rhythmic drumming, that saying is everything.
Step swept the U.S. last summer with the release of the documentary STEP, which followed three members of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women step team. The team also made it onto the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 14 stage, after member Blessin Giraldo's audition ended in an invite from Nigel Lythgoe himself.
For dance fans, it may have seemed like the summer of step. But this art form has been around for well over a century. What is it, where did it come from, and why is the wider dance world taking notice?
So WHY isn't there more video evidence of this hidden talent?
Brian Friedman is not only a legend in his own right—he's also worked beside the biggest legends in the business. Growing up a Scottsdale, AZ, comp kid, Friedman was soon dancing behind Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Paula Abdul, and as an OG Newsie in the 1992 film. Now he calls the shots: He's choreographed and been creative director for icons like Britney, Cher, Beyoncé, and Mariah. Nominated for five MTV VMAs, two Music Video Production Association Awards, and four American Choreography Awards, Friedman's won an Industry Voice Award for best choreography, and a World of Dance award. Dance Spirit talked to Friedman to find out what inspires him. —Helen Rolfe
Let it gooooo! The much-anticipated musical version of Frozen, with choreography by the fabulous Rob Ashford, opens on Broadway tonight. And to get you even more excited about this latest dancy Disney venture, the show's team just released a brand-new trailer—a sneak peek at how they've translated the film's special magic into perhaps-even-more-impressive stage magic.
Dance competitions are where great memories are made. But—between the traveling, the challenging routines, and the bazillion costume changes—they're also the source of many, many #struggles. If you're a comp kid, you'll 100 percent be able to relate to these 10 problems.
Veteran Brooklynettes dancer Asha Singh knows what it takes to get a crowd pumped: This NBA season marks her fifth year on the squad. And as team captain, she's also well-versed in the art of keeping a team looking picture-perfect. An Overland Park, KS, native, she trained in ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and tap as a child, and later majored in dance at the University of Missouri. Since then, she's danced with music legends, including Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, and performed in commercials for big brands like ESPN and T-Mobile. Catch her courtside cheering on the Brooklyn Nets—and read on for The Dirt.