B-Girl Shorty NAME: Alex Welch AGE: 15 CURRENT RESIDENCE: L.A. DANCES WITH: Breaking crews Boogie Brats, No Easy Props and Team Roast
B-Girl Beginnings Terms of Endearment: After stints living in Florida and North Carolina, Alex Welch spent most of her childhood in Utah, where her classically trained parents set up shop as owners of a local dance studio. Welch spent a great deal of time observing the older dancers, who dubbed her Shorty. “When I was young, I didn’t want to dance because I sat around and watched my parents teach,” says Welch. “It wasn’t until I saw a guy spinning on his head in a video that I went crazy and begged to take classes!” Angels and Bratz: Within a week of moving to L.A. last year, Welch booked gigs with two of the industry’s top choreographers: a “Bratz” industrial with Eddie Garcia and Angel’s “Just the Way I Am” music video with Shane Sparks.
Breakin’ In Friends in High Places: “In the commercial world, there are hardly any girls who breakdance,” says Welch. As a member of several crews, though, she has met people who can help her succeed, including choreographers Marty Kudelka and Hi-Hat and mentors AsiaOne and Kamel. She Spins Right Round: Known for her head spins, Welch has performed her cranial pirouettes in the darndest places—from the hood of a car in the Angel music video to a balance beam in the upcoming feature film Stick It. Striking a Balance Books and The Biz: In order to “devote 110 percent to dancing,” Welch participates in an independent study program called Options for Youth in lieu of school. The program requires a tutor and completing a designated monthly number of units in each school subject. “If I get called on an audition, the teachers are understanding as long as I get all my units done,” Welch explains.
The Future Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kidd: Welch is awaiting word on whether “Kidd Fit,” an exercise and nutrition pilot with “Las Vegas” star Josh Duhamel, will be picked up by a major TV network. “I support the project because it’s based around kids’ fitness and health,” says Welch. Shorty2K: Having recently been tapped to teach classes at L.A.’s renowned Millennium Dance Complex, Welch is now one of the youngest instructors in the studio’s history.
(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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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.