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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Dancer to Dancer
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
The Broadway cast of "SpongeBob the Musical" (Joan Marcus, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

Get ready to have the best Bikini Bottom Day ever: The SpongeBob Musical is heading to TV screens across the country this Saturday at 7pm EST!

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The taped performance, which will air on Nickelodeon, features oh so many original Broadway cast members reprising their roles, including the effervescent Ethan Slater as Spongebob, Danny Skinner as Patrick Star, and Gavin Lee as Squidward. And, quick refresher, the show features choreography by Tony-Award winning Christopher Gattelli, original songs by pop icons from David Bowie to John Legend to Cyndi Lauper, and an ensemble of mega-talented dancers, including Jon Rua, Robert Taylor Jr., and Oneika Phillips.

Can't get enough of your favorite yellow sponge? The SpongeBob Musical national tour is also in full swing, with tons more stops planned through the rest of the year and into 2020.

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Dance News
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
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 love dancing in The Nutcracker, but I feel like my training gets totally sidelined during Nut season. What can I do to make sure I'm still progressing (and will be in good shape for summer program auditions!)?

Jenny

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Dear Katie
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
Getty Images

For any young dancer performing in The Nutcracker, Marie (aka Clara, depending on the production) is a dream role. But Charlotte Nebres, who will be playing Marie in New York City Ballet's Nutcracker this year isn't just bringing her own dream to life—she's also making history.

Charlotte is the first black dancer to ever perform the role of Marie in NYCB's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which dates all the way back to 1954. Charlotte was, of course, hugely excited to perform the role of Marie, but, according to the New York Times, when her mother told her that she was the first black dancer cast in the role, she said "Wow. That seems a little late."

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Dance News
Getty Images

Nutcracker season is upon us, which means we're all basically camping out at the theater. And even after a full warm-up and make-up session, there's still a LOT of downtime backstage. Instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed for the millionth time, try one of these more productive (or at least different!) ways to beat backstage boredom.

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Just for Fun
Jordan Matter, courtesy Phoenix Sutch

With her confident smile, insane flexibility, and razor-sharp execution, Phoenix Sutch instantly commands every stage she sets foot on. At just 13 years old, Phoenix has already worked with her dance idols Andy Pellick and Joey Dowling, and has won the titles of National Mini Female Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2017 and First Runner-Up National Junior Female Outstanding Dancer in 2019. She's also a BLOCH Young Artist and an Ambassador for Jo + Jax.

The young dancer definitely isn't slowing down anytime soon: She plans to continue training, especially in ballet, and attending conventions around the country.

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Rising Stars
Christine Shevchenko and Cory Stearns in Gemma Bond's "The Giving" (Rod Brayman, courtesy Bond)

Gemma Bond's rise as a choreographer has been not meteoric but steady, characterized by constant creativity and commitment to her craft. Her style is informed by her dancing career—she performed in the corps de ballet of two of the world's most renowned companies, the Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Because of this, she says, "I tend to do more of a company piece. You can never really say there's one principal couple." Bond began choreographing at age 13, in the Royal's Sir Kenneth MacMillan Choreographic Competition. More recently, she's created works for ABT, The Washington Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, and others. Her ballets have been performed at the Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow, the Youth America Grand Prix gala, and the Erik Bruhn Competition. You can see a world premiere of Bond's new work for the National Ballet of Cuba at the International Ballet Festival in the fall of 2020. –Cadence Neenan

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Choreography
Michelle Dorrance (photo by Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

There's a new holiday dance tradition in the works, thanks to the genius brain of tapper Michelle Dorrance. Dorrance Dance, her innovative company, is putting its own spin on The Nutcracker, using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's jazzy version of the classic score and a slew of talented tappers, including Josette Wiggan-Freund as the production's "Sugar Rum Cherry." Check out this behind-the-scenes look at the company's fast-paced, anything-goes creative process, and catch the world premiere of The Nutcracker Suite at The Joyce Theater in NYC from December 17 to January 5.

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Dance News
London Contemporary Dance School summer intensive students in class (Camilla Greenwell, courtesy LCDS)

More and more dance students are starting to consider training options outside the U.S. Studying abroad allows dancers to immerse themselves in different dance styles, not to mention different cities and cultures. And in some cases, the application process is surprisingly easy. Here's how you could stand to benefit from international study—and some real talk about how to navigate the logistical challenges.

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Dancer to Dancer

We have a Thanksgiving tradition here at Dance Spirit: Every November, I ask my fellow editors to send me a list of the dance performances/artists/trends/miscellany from the past year that made them grateful to be part of this wild, wonderful little world. Because we're always looking for excuses to celebrate all things dance—and what better excuse than #GratitudeSeason?

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Just for Fun
Including ballet competition standout Alina Taratorin (photo by Oliver Endahl, courtesy Taratorin)

Congratulations to the 39 talented dancers just named 2020 YoungArts award winners! This year's group of awardees includes several familiar faces from the competition scene.

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Dance News
Melanie Spanko and partner performing (Lori Bush, courtesy Spanko)

If you've ever noticed the flirty curl of a wrist in a cha-cha or the elegant swoop of an arm in a waltz, then you know how arm styling can elevate ballroom dance, bringing nuanced character to every step. But dancers new to ballroom—especially those already trained in ballet's classical port de bras—might find it surprisingly tricky to master the details of hand and arm styling. Here's how to use your upper body like a ballroom pro.

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Ballroom

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