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.
What a week in the "Dancing with the Stars" universe, amirite? After we bid farewell to Drew Scott and Emma Slater on Monday (in a surprise to pretty much nobody, despite the duo's strong performance in a super-fun freestyle that evening), it was time, last night, for Season 25's Grand Finale. And goodness, I don't know if we've ever seen quite so many perfect scores thrown around the ballroom. The final three—Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, and Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas—performed a total of six routines on Tuesday, and five of them earned straight 10s. Yes, those scores were well-deserved; the finalists danced their bedazzled behinds off. But it also felt like the judges were channeling Oprah. YOU get a 10, and YOU get a 10, and YOUUUU get a 10!
Turkey is great and all, but the best part of Thanksgiving? It's watching some truly fantastic dancing on television, courtesy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Thursday, when your arms are sore from mashing potatoes and/or you need to escape crazy Aunt Linda, head to the living room to catch these super-dancey parade highlights:
Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
Last week, we highlighted the deliberately, hysterically bad @biscuitballerina Instagram account, created by a then-mysterious dancer with a great sense of humor. This week, the artist behind @biscuitballerina—who turns out to be Royal Ballet of Flanders corps member Shelby Williams—got in touch with us to set the record straight about the intentions of those LOL-worthy posts.
Her photos and videos, with their exaggeratedly cringe-worthy technical flaws, are NOT meant to mock amateur dancers. Instead, Williams is actually hoping the account will help all dancers move past their shortcomings and accept themselves and their dancing.
P!nk, known for her high-flying, acrobatic awards show sets, has literally raised the bar for pop stars everywhere. For her performance at last night's American Music Awards, P!nk decided to break out some flips and tricks ON THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. WHILE FLAWLESSLY SINGING HER FACE OFF. You know, just casually, like you do when you're a full-on goddess.
When you think of a dancer, a double leg amputee may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But Eric Graise, who's one of the stars of the upcoming "Step Up: High Water" YouTube Red series, hopes to change that. Graise, whose legs were amputated as a child due to missing fibula bones, will play a character named King in the new dance series, set to debut early next year.
We all suffer from Nutcracker fatigue sometimes. After a zillion performances, it's hard not to. But there's nothing to restore your little-kid sense of Nutcracker wonder like a look at the sheer scale of a world-class Nut.
New York City Ballet's iconic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens on Friday, and for the past week, the company has been Tweeting out some seriously eye-popping #NutcrackerNumbers. The stats cover everything from the number of jingle bells used on each Candy Cane costume (that'd be 144) to the watts of light used in the show's grand finale (ONE. MILLION. WATTS.).
One of the most beautiful things social media has brought us is the ability to feel like we're up close and personal behind-the-scenes with all our favorite dancers. And one of our favorite stars to Insta-stalk are actually two casts of 36 scintillatingly synchronized precision dancers. I'm talking, of course, about my mild obsession with the legendary Radio City Rockettes.