Photo by Erin Baiano

From the moment we saw Darriel Johnakin flash a million-watt smile while nailing a textbook tilt at her Cover Model Search photo shoot this spring, we knew she'd go far in the dance world. Now, having crossed "Dance Spirit Cover Model Search winner" off her bucket list, Darriel's back to doing what she does best: logging long hours in the studio, polishing her technique, applying her teachers' corrections, and trying to be a little bit better than she was yesterday.

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Cover Story
Courtesy Just for Kix

Purple is often associated with royalty, power and wisdom. Sound like qualities you'd like to bring to your dancing? Same.

We rounded up our favorite purple looks from Just for Kix, for inside the studio or on the stage:

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Just for Inspiration, Sponsored by Just for Kix
Photo by 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've worked hard to lose weight over the past few months, and I'm finally happy with my body. I've gotten several compliments from my dance teachers, and my lines look beautiful. But recently I developed a stress fracture in my foot, and my doctor says it's probably because of my weight loss. What should I do?

Amber

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Dear Katie
Get Shot By Brian, Courtesy National Dance Showcase

In today's culture, winning is everything—so much so that most dance competitions highlight trophies above all else and emphasize the importance of being on top. But before platinum and first place became top priority, competitions were a chance for dancers to be inspired, have an incredible experience, and grow, as both artists and people.

Some competitions, like National Dance Showcase, are committed to presenting a new model, in the hope that other comps follow suit. Instead of promoting a culture where only winning matters, NDS focuses on nurturing the whole dancer. That doesn't mean NDS or comps like it are any less competitive—it's just about striking the right balance and remembering what a dance competition should really be about:

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Sponsored by National Dance Showcase
You and your bestie are going to dance right through this list. (Getty Images)

ICYMI: National Dance Day is tomorrow, September 21! We're sure you already know all about the official NDD challenge and the big events happening in L.A. and Washington DC. But there are plenty of outside-the-box celebration options, too. Here are nine bonus dance-filled ways to get festive tomorrow.

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Dancer to Dancer
Getty Images/TikTok

TikTok seems tailor-made for dancers. The app's short-form video format makes it easy to show off your best moves to a song that's gone viral. And an algorithm that favors unknown users means up-and-coming dancers have a better chance of reaching a large audience than they might on Instagram or YouTube.

Dance challenges are especially popular on TikTok, with over one billion views for the hashtag #DanceChallenge alone. Even people who've never heard of the platform know about campaigns like #TheGitUpChallenge, which started on TikTok, spilled over into Instagram and YouTube, and ultimately helped propel musical artist Blanco Brown to stardom.

The growing trend has had a wide-ranging impact on both the music and dance communities. Rising rapper Ambjaay's song "Uno" went viral on TikTok this past summer thanks in part to the #UnoDanceChallenge. "It's given me more fans and a bigger fan base, and I've been able to build more relationships and meet more people," Ambjaay says. "Dance gave the song more room to grow and create a different way to have fun."

Here are five of the best, most influential TikTok dance challenges.

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Dance Videos
Via laidf.org

When you hear "Nigel Lythgoe" and "Debbie Allen" in the same sentence, there's got to be some major dance tea brewing. In this case, it's super-exciting news: The two industry icons are joining forces to launch a new, L.A.–based dance festival that's basically going to bring dance heaven to earth.

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Dance News
The Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet (Alice Pennefather, courtesy Royal Opera House)

Ever wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic ballet production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the Leo DiCaprio/Claire Danes film version?

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of.

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Ballet
#4: The official routine was choreographed by Matt Steffanina (center)! (Courtesy American Dance Movement)

Did you hear the news, dance friends? National Dance Day has moved! Rather than falling at the end of July (as it has since 2010), going forward the holiday will be held on the third Saturday in September—September 21st this year. And that means you still have a little more than two weeks to plan your celebrations.

NDD 2019 promises to be bigger and better than ever. Here are five reasons to get hyped about our favorite holiday.

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Popular
Have you ever been happier to see Tom Bergeron? We missed you, Tom! (ABC)

Before this season even started, it was already the most dramatic season of "Dancing with the Stars." Not only did we have to wait a year in serious anticipation, but once Season 28 was announced, the drama didn't stop.

Between the revamp of the ballroom and the voting system, the loss of both the troupe and some of our favorite pros (we miss you, Sharna and Artem!), the controversy over certain stars joining the lineup, and then, just yesterday, the announcement that a last-minute mother-daughter switch-up would take place following a serious, in-rehearsal injury? Whew. We feel like we've had a season's worth of action, and it's only the premiere, folks!

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Dance News
Season 16's fabulous final four (Adam Rose/Fox)

In "So You Think You Can Dance" Land, there are really two finales.

First, there's the competition finale. The second-to-last episode—the one that matters. The one where the Top 4 dancers must step it up to an unbelievably high, seemingly unsustainable level, dancing for their lives for a full two hours. It's an exciting episode, that almost-finale. But it's stressful.

That's why the finale finale—the one where we find out the results—is so much fun. When the last finale rolls around, everyone can relax. The results—a tally of the combined votes from the past two weeks—are in. This finale, the real finale, means it's time to take a deep breath and just dance.

It's not that the final episode doesn't matter. It matters! But this one is just for fun. This one is the celebration of surviving the season—for the Top 4, the judges, and, hey, the audience in the studio and at home.

And of course, this show's 16th finale didn't disappoint. Cat Deeley in that sleek, sexy black ensemble definitely didn't disappoint. All the tearful montages didn't disappoint. And the revisiting of the best performances of the season—well, that part never disappoints!

After a brilliant, high-energy, disco-esque opening number for the Top 10 (courtesy Mandy Moore) and nearly two hours' worth of the most memorable routines of the season (chosen by the judges and the Top 4), it was time to reveal the results:

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Dance on TV
The Arnold sisters (via YouTube)

YouTubers and Arnold sister stans, take note: One of our favorite powerhouse dancing families is starting its own YouTube channel! And considering that the Arnolds have gathered over nine thousand subscribers in just five days, it seems like we're not the only ones who've been dreaming of this moment.

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Dance News
Jordan Matter, Courtesy BLOCH

When it comes to dancewear, BLOCH has long been a brand dancers trust—but you've probably never seen them quite like this before. For their new back-to-school campaign, debuting exclusively here on Dance Spirit, the brand teamed up with photographer Jordan Matter, known for his adventurous, playful shoots that push dancers out of their comfort zones.

They knew he'd be able to capture the energy, fun, and excitement of back-to-school season. It was also a dream collaboration for Matter. "I travel to London a lot, and I've used the outside of their store as a location because all the designs are so beautiful," he says. "Even before I ever worked with them I was starting to utilize their products in my photos. And I know they have a great reputation."

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Original photos: Getty Images

We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.

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