When Francisco Villa left his native Argentina to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, he had a specific goal in mind.
"I was telling my friends, 'I am going to New York and I am going to dance with Lady Gaga.' I was trying to visualize those things that I wanted," he says.
Not long after completing the four-semester conservatory program at AMDA, Villa got his wish and danced in Gaga's Super Bowl LI half-time show. He says AMDA was "like a snowball…after that things started moving and getting bigger and bigger."
Like many professional dancers, New York City Ballet's Gilbert Bolden III is totally used to sharing pics and vids of his dancing on social media. But in the fall of 2018, the corps de ballet member hesitated before posting one particular clip. "I was extremely nervous the first time I posted a video of me dancing on pointe," he remembers. "It felt like a big step—almost like coming out. But not a single person was shady or unwelcoming!"
Once pretty much limited to women, pointe shoes are now being donned by more and more male-identifying dancers—for reasons as diverse as the dancers themselves. If you, too, are a pointe-curious guy, allow Bolden and other amazing male dancers to point(e) you in the right direction.
In 2009, Dana Wilson was fresh off her first world tour with Justin Timberlake when she got a call from New York City Dance Alliance founder Joe Lanteri asking her to come teach hip hop. Having been a student at NYCDA since she was "a tiny acorn," it was like returning home.
Over the past decade, she's become beloved for her unique jazz class, called "Jazz Plus." "Depending on the day, maybe it's jazz plus house, jazz plus popping, mime or burlesque," she says.
Today, Wilson balances NYCDA weekends with her work as a choreographer and movement coach for film and recording artists. But no matter how busy she gets, teaching the next generation of artists remains a priority.
We talked to Wilson for our "Whole Dancer" series, and asked about her approach to teaching, her self-care must-haves and her life as a creator.
Dancers, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief—our beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" has just been renewed for a sensational 17th season.
The term "dance degree" can be a little misleading—after all, it's a degree that prepares you for far more than just performing. Classes as varied as composition, pedagogy, dance science, and even grant writing are a part of some dance programs today.
"When I was creating our Bachelor of Arts in Dance program, I went to the Department of Labor and Dance/USA, and I learned that only 17 percent of grads with a performance degree end up performing," says Kim Vaccaro, associate professor of dance at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. "I wanted to offer students as much choice as possible." The result is a program that offers students myriad career options—like these seven: