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Photo by Kaveh Kowsari, Coutesy Lauryn Hayes

Diversify Your Training and Open New Doors at Marymount Manhattan College

No two dancers' career paths are exactly alike...which is actually pretty great! Equally great: New kinds of opportunities are constantly cropping up in the dance world, along with new skills necessary to book them. (Did anyone really know how to make a self-tape before 2020?) But in an industry that seems to quick-change faster than you did at your last recital, how can you be certain which skills will be the most important for you to have on your unique dance journey? The short answer: You can't. Luckily, though, with the right foundation, you can feel confident in any environment, whatever road you dance down.

Enter Marymount Manhattan College, a liberal arts school in the heart of NYC. From Broadway to ballet to the big screen, if you can dream of doing it, Marymount's BA and BFA dance programs provide the tool kit you'll need to get there.

Dance Spirit caught up with four Marymount Manhattan alumni to hear how the diversity of their training has helped them navigate postgrad life.

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Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Meet the Dancer Who Went From The Ailey School to Winning Hip-Hop Championships

Angyil's list of battle wins is so long, you'd be forgiven for assuming she's been a hip hopper her whole life. But back when she was a tiny dancer, Angyil actually started out with ballet classes in Kansas City, Missouri. Read on to find out how she transformed into a three-time world champion freestyler and "World of Dance" alumna—and catch her in Washington, DC, October 22, where she'll be competing in the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Pre-Finals, and, if she wins, in the Finals on October 23.

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Lee Gumbs, courtesy Ginestra

Janelle Ginestra Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self

Janelle Ginestra's mind lives way outside of the box. You've probably seen her in some of your favorite dance class videos, touring the world dancing next to P!nk and J.Lo, or on the stages of the world's most watched award shows. And if not, there's still a good chance you've seen her somewhere on the big screen. Her uniqueness is evident in her movement, personality, choreography choices, and creative visual concepts that give you a glimpse into her eccentric imagination. (Seriously, her YouTube channel will have you mesmerized for hours!)

As a dancer, choreographer, and creative director, she's been making legendary moves and leaving her mark in the dance world, choreographing for top artists like Halsey, J. Balvin, and JoJo, to name a few.

If you've ever taken one of Janelle's classes, you know that you've gotta walk in with an open mind. You never know what to expect. It's a mystery every student looks forward to. But the one thing you'll definitely get every time is a push, and that just might stem from her love for fitness. Now a super-fierce fitness instructor, her out-of-the-box approach to dance continues through her strength and cardio program with a dancy focus on self-love, confidence, and fun: Naughty Girl Fitness!

Be sure to follow her on Instagram and TikTok @JanelleGinestra for content that's sure to inspire you to get up and get moving.—Nyamekye Smith

To Teenage Janelle,

Your teenage years will bring big life changes—a new stepdad, a stepbrother and stepsisters, a new place to live in a different town, so you dance. You dance in your garage that has a wall of mirrors. It is your studio. It is where you dance with friends and create choreography for a local artist. You are trusting your instincts and doing what you love. In fifteen years, you will turn your garage into a studio where you'll dance with friends and choreograph pieces for artists. So, keep dancing. Dance is your happy place. It feeds your soul and is the essence of your being.

Janelle, you are built differently than most of your friends. I wish you knew the biceps you are trying to hide are so beautiful. One day you will love your biceps, so embrace them. They are part of your strong and fit body, and one day you will combine your love of fitness with dance and create a passion project that becomes your business. You will call it Naughty Girl Fitness because even though "naughty" literally means "behaving badly," it is you not behaving badly, but being your unique, fun self.


Teenage Janelle leans her face up against the back seat of a car, staring into the lens. Janelle as a tweencourtesy Ginestra

Janelle, listen carefully to what I am going to tell you. Everything seems like such a big deal to you right now. Your life is easy, so please, girl, stop being so dramatic! I promise you things are going to get way more complicated. Life is going to bring you bigger and deeper issues. So, just enjoy being a teenager, and try to be nicer to your parents.

I am going to end this letter with one last piece of advice that I want you to remember every day: "Life is a gift!" In fact, these words will be tattooed in Italian on the left side of your ribs by your heart as a permanent reminder.

From Grownup Janelle

Photo by Matt KarasCourtesy of MOVE|NYC|

Why You Should Know Jazz Funk Phenom Gabby Rembert

With laser-sharp focus and dynamite dynamics no matter the style, Gabrielle Rembert is ready to take the industry by storm. At just 5' 2", the 17-year-old takes up space and commands attention through her movement like a seasoned pro.

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Get Shot By Brian Photography & Cinema, Inc., Courtesy National Dance Showcase

Meet This Year's Future Star Award Winners

Dance Spirit and Limelight Teamwear are excited to announce our 2021 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with stellar talent, stage presence, and ability, and this year's standouts delivered to the max. Each of these fabulous up-and-comers received a beautiful jacket from Limelight to help them shine their brightest. "We believe that high-quality team wear gives dancers a boost of confidence and comfort, both of which are so important to have dancers performing their best," Limelight says. "We're delighted to support the growth of the up-and-coming leaders in this industry."

Meet the 2021 Future Star winners—and see them modeling their Limelight swag below.

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