Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

On Monday, September 16, 2019, at precisely 6:59 pm Pacific Standard Time, 19-year-old Bailey Muñoz was named America's Favorite Dancer. The confetti fell from above the "So You Think You Can Dance" stage, and Bailey was immediately smothered in congratulatory hugs from his nine fellow finalists. As he was hoisted high in celebration, the audience was being ushered from the soundstage, and the show's technical crew was starting to pack up. But for Bailey—the first b-boy to win the competition—the journey was just beginning.

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Cover Story
Courtesy NYCDA

New York City Dance Alliance wouldn't be the same without the warmth and positivity of master teacher and choreographer Suzi Taylor, who has been with the organization since its inception in 1994, and is a beloved staple at Steps on Broadway, Pace University, and companies around the world.

Taylor prioritizes physical and mental health in all her classes, leading students through challenging exercises focused on strength and alignment and emphasizing the importance of self-care. She's known for celebrating the little things in the studio, and for encouraging her students to support one another. So naturally, she's the perfect candidate for our second "Whole Dancer" feature, where we hear from NYCDA dancers, choreographers and teachers about wellness and more:

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Erin Baiano

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm confused about what my hips are supposed to do during grand battements and développés à la seconde. My teacher is always telling me to "drop the hip," but how is that physically possible when your leg is higher than 90 degrees? Even in photos of professional dancers with gorgeous extension, I see a raised hip on the working side. Am I misunderstanding something?

Marie

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Dear Katie
Courtesy Just for Kix

Dancer and teacher Ali (Clough) Geraets remembers a time when she couldn't find shoes for her class of hip-hop students. She wanted a pair of combat boots that were functional on the dance floor, stylish enough for performance, and at an affordable price point so her dancers could buy them. She also needed a store that carried enough stock for the whole class. "We ended up buying shoes from Kohl's, and they were super slippery," Geraets says. "We were like, 'Oh my gosh, we should be making these for dancers.' "

That's when Geraets, along with her colleague Xue Li, got to work on designing her own pair of combat boots, made especially for hip-hop dancers. Their first design was a pair of sequined boots made for Gia-Mia, that came in both black and silver. After that success, Geraets started designing shoes for Just For Kix, exploring options that are both functional and stylish for dancers.

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Just for Inspiration, Sponsored by Just for Kix
Getty Images

2020 is almost here—and with a new year (a new decade, even!) comes new resolutions. What are your dance ambitions for the upcoming year? Improve your technique? Build your social presence? Jumpstart your pro career? All of the above? To help you kick off 2020 strong, we've made a list of 9 dance resolutions that are (literally) #goals.

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Just for Fun
From left: Tina Pereira, Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin Floors; Courtesy Harlequin Floors

For today's versatile dancer, it's not enough to just show up to daily class. Top-notch training includes conditioning, self-care and a home practice with the right training tools. Amp up your home studio (and your dancing) with these three accessories from Harlequin Floors—just in time for holiday gift-giving. (Bonus: They all ship free!)

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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Dance News
Courtesy Kreiling

When Rachel Kreiling first walked into New York City Dance Alliance as a young student in 1995, she couldn't have anticipated the lifelong connections she was about to make. Following a performing career that took her around the world, Kreiling found herself back at NYCDA as an assistant at the invitation of founder Joe Lanteri. She joined the faculty in 2008 and has been there ever since.

At the heart of Kreiling's teaching is her passion for dancer wellness. Kinesiology, neuroscience and conditioning play a key role in her work at NYCDA and as a guest teacher at studios nationwide. We talked to Kreiling for our very first "Whole Dancer" column, where we hear from top NYCDA dancers, choreographers and teachers about wellness, self-care and more:

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Future Star award winner Noeleia Dellinger at Ash Nationals (Ash Productions, courtesy Noeleia Dellinger)

Dance Spirit is thrilled to announce our 2019 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability, and this year, you all delivered in full force.

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Rising Stars
Future Star award winner Adriana Phillips (courtesy Adriana Phillips)

Dance Spirit is thrilled to announce our 2019 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability, and this year, you all delivered in full force.

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Rising Stars
Seán Curran leading class at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (Dylan Kenseth, courtesy NYU Tisch School of the Arts)

Towards the end of your first semester as a dance student, you'll participate in something that resembles an exam. Whether your school calls it a jury, a placement, an evaluation, an assessment, or an appraisal, the structure remains roughly the same: You take class in front of all of your dance professors, they scribble furiously on a clipboard (that you wish you could read), and you wait anxiously for their feedback.

And while that anxiety is totally understandable, it's typically misplaced. Evaluations and exams aren't designed to intimidate or scare you, and they definitely don't determine the entire future of your dancing career. But in case you're still feeling a little nervous about the whole process, we spoke with educators at three major dance colleges about how you can be best prepared.

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Higher Ed
Rachel Neville, courtesy Jasmine Cruz

Congratulations to the November Cover Model Search Editors' Choice video winner, Jasmine Cruz! Watch her solo below, and enter the Cover Model Search here.

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Cover Model Search
A third year Royal Ballet School student in class at the Upper School (Rachel Cherry, courtesy The Royal Ballet School)

From Copenhagen, Denmark, to San Francisco, CA, a ballet student's day starts the same way: with class. Ballet class is a given at schools around the world, but there is a myriad of differences—from the studios to the technique—between them. We decided to pack up our dance bags, grab our passports, and take a trip around the globe for class at four different schools: The Royal Ballet School in London, England; Royal Danish Ballet School in Copenhagen, Denmark; San Francisco Ballet School in San Francisco, CA; and the Tanya Pearson Academy in St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia.

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Ballet
Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine

It is perhaps the understatement of the century to say that Misty Copeland—American Ballet Theatre principal, trailblazing role model, and straight-up ballet icon—knows how to work a pair of pointe shoes. But a new campaign for Stuart Weitzman, in which Copeland trades her ballet "boots" for some boots of the more traditional kind, proves (yet again) that she's a dance goddess in any kind of footwear.

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Dance and Fashion
Aaron Pegg, courtesy Alison Stroming

Don't let her crazy follower count (84K!) or her Insta-ready smile fool you: Alison Stroming is not just another dance-fluencer. Yes, she posts gorgeous fashion photo-shoots and totally personable YouTube videos, but Stroming is also a serious ballerina, with the resumé to prove it. Stroming trained at the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She's danced with the Alberta Ballet, Ballet San Jose, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Today, Stroming lives in L.A., and continues to dance, model, and perform as a guest artist all around the world. She also recently founded her own dancewear line, AS Dancewear, and a mentorship initiative for young dancers. —Cadence Neenan

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