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Courtesy AMDA

Yes, Dancers Today Really Can "Do It All"—With the Right Training

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."

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Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: How Important Are Private Dance Lessons?

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,

Do I need private lessons? I'm a professional-track dancer, and my teachers say that I should start scheduling privates to advance more quickly. But they're so expensive. Will I make it if I stick to group classes?

Jenna

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Evolve Photography, Courtesy NYCDA

The Whole Dancer: NYCDA's Dana Wilson on the Power of Dance Friendships

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.

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Nike Celebrates Black History Month with the Help of Two Fantastic Dancers (and Serena Williams)

Yesterday, the first of Nike's new Common Thread video series dropped, and we were thrilled to see that it featured dancers—namely, Dance Theatre of Harlem member (and June/July 2017 Pointe cover star) Ingrid Silva, and Florida-based ballet student Alex Thomas. Even better, it's narrated by tennis phenom Serena Williams. This series of short videos celebrates Black History Month by focusing on representation in sport. (We're still conflicted about dance being called a sport, but we'll let it slide.) In each installment, athletes united by a common thread discuss their passion, and the lack of role models they saw in their fields while growing up.

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Peter Borg, courtesy Rider University

One Degree, 7+ Career Options: Everything You Can Do With A Dance Degree Today

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:

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