6 Dancers on The Craziest Places They've Performed
Ryan-Walker Page performed on a ship for a collaboration with the L.A. Opera (photo by Mae Koo, courtesy Page)
Traditional stages are nice and all, but in the ever-unpredictable dance world, it's not uncommon for dancers to find themselves performing in pretty unusual places. Here's how six professionals make it work anywhere—from the mast of a ship to a giant beehive.
Tara O’Con, collaborating artist with Third Rail Projects
Tara O'Con in "The Grand Paradise" (photo by Adam Jason Photography, courtesy Third Rail Projects)
"In Third Rail's immersive-theater work The Grand Paradise, I performed in a human-sized fish tank. I remember thinking, This is not the career path I chose as a dancer—and yet, there I was in a bathing suit, swimming and holding my breath. The funny thing is I don't like water, and Tom Pearson, one of our artistic directors, knew that. Before the show was cast, I'd told him I really wanted to push myself artistically, so he chose to put me in the tank. I'm glad he had faith in me!
My character in the show was this all-knowing water siren. So not only did I need to learn how to hold my breath for a long time, I had to do it with this James Bond kind of effortless sexiness. I had to be a commanding creature who sees with her entire body, who sucks the audience in to her. Leading up to the show, I went to a pool a lot to practice that movement quality, but I didn't get to work in the actual tank until the day before opening night. I think there was something special about jumping in and experiencing it fresh. When you don't overthink it, your intuition takes over."
A version of this story appeared in the November 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Craziest Place I've Ever Danced."
(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.
We also want you to
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.