Misha Gabriel (photo courtesy Break the Floor Productions)
This year, make your dance resolutions last by sticking to a set calendar. We asked four pros to submit important dance goals, and assigned one goal to each month of 2015. With our experts’ help, you’ll be able to carry that beginning-of-year boost straight through to December.
Andy Blankenbuehler, Broadway choreographer
Lia Cirio, Boston Ballet principal
Misha Gabriel, commercial dancer, actor and choreographer
Janette Manrara, ballroom dancer and “Strictly Come Dancing” professional
January: Work on your “bad” side.
“It’s important to work both sides equally, even if one feels better than the other.
If your right leg is stronger, pretend you’re a lefty—give that side the attention it deserves.” —Andy Blankenbuehler
Andy Blankenbuehler (photo by Matthew Karas)
February: Re-focus your competitive energy.
“My mom always said, ‘Don’t look to the left or right—it’s not worth worrying about the dancers around you.’ Unless, of course, they’re receiving corrections. Then listen.” —Lia Cirio
March: Take an acting class.
“Acting can seem scary at first, but believe me—it’s a life changer. Even if you’re not planning to enter the acting world, it’ll make your dance performances stronger.” —Misha Gabriel
April: Do one more pirouette.
“Don’t be satisfied with two! Push yourself. You’ll feel great when you get that third or fourth rotation.” —LC
May: Be better about cross-training.
“When you’re performing the same routines over and over again, you need to push your body in other ways, whether that’s through Pilates or yoga or swimming. We need to stay well-rounded to make sure we don’t break our bodies.” —AB
Janette Manrara (photo by Chris Mann, courtesy Janette Manrara)
June: Commit to the cooldown.
“Setting aside time to cool down after every performance will help you avoid sore, achy muscles, not to mention injuries. Yes, you’re tired, but it only takes five minutes. A few quick stretches and breathing exercises can make a huge difference in how you feel the next day.” —Janette Manrara
August: Take time to recharge, mentally and physically.
“Remind yourself to be a ‘colorful’ person. Really live your life outside of dance—enjoy going out to eat and spending time with your friends and the people you love. All those experiences will make your dancing so much richer.” —AB
September: Expand your emotional range.
“A lot of dancers focus on the dark side of contemporary dance these days, and I feel like there’s a range of emotions being neglected. Expressing joy, inspiration and hope—those are skills that have to be developed, too.” —AB
October: Embrace ballet.
“Every dancer needs ballet, even if her specialty is salsa! The ballet vocabulary is the ABCs of dance. It makes you hyper-aware of all your muscles, so you feel every inch of your body
Lia Cirio (photo by Liza Voll)
November:Stick to a sleep schedule.
“If you’re not sleeping enough, your whole body suffers. Getting on a good schedule is key, especially during long Nutcracker runs.” —LC
December: Remind yourself why you dance.
“Dancers are so passionate about what they do that frequently they’re overly self-critical. Have faith in your abilities. Remember that you’re in this because you love it, and don’t let the stresses of the art form paralyze you.” —AB
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.