You Should Know 20-Year-Old Dancer/Choreographer Easton Payne
Easton Payne didn't even walk into a dance studio until he was 12, but word of his talents has spread quickly since then. He's choreographed solos for comp-circuit standouts like Lucy Vallely and Ruby Castro, while also performing his own work and creating group pieces for studios like L.A.'s Project21Dance. Now, 20-year-old Easton has his sights set on the Great White Way—he says he's "dying to set a Broadway show, as well as be in one."
"We live in a time when dance is so very accessible, but don't confuse inspiration with duplication. Life is too short to be anyone but yourself!" —Easton Payne
Birthday: February 11, 1997
Age: 20 ("as well as 85 and 11")
Training at: Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education in Atlanta, GA; Dance Town in Doral, FL
Hometown: Brasstown, NC ("The smallest town known to mankind!")
Favorite quote: "The world needs what you've got."
Three words that describe his choreography: "Is he kidding?"
Favorite step: A grand step-touch
Listening to: "Patsy Cline or 'Cool It Now' by New Edition—five times a day"
Favorite dancers: Emma Portner, Jason Parsons, Bob Fosse, Lucy Vallely, Sylvie Guillem
Best thing about choreographing: "Freedom to build the structures and images I've always imagined."
Most challenging thing about choreographing: "Consistency. Pushing through when I just don't feel like it is difficult, but it's those times that define your true strength as an artist."
Payne (back) choreographing at Dance Town in Doral, FL (photo by KG Photos, courtesy Payne)
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.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
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 for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?
What do you get when you combine a Beyoncé anthem, fierce girls from all over the world, and choreography by legends like Ellenore Scott and Lamar Lee? You get the epic music video below. The viral video features little girls who live everywhere from Tanzania to Washington D.C. dancing and lip-syncing to Queen Bey's song "Freedom," and the result is electrifying. These littles can dance—and they bring a determination and enthusiasm to their movement that's truly inspiring.