Backstage with Hannah Montana dancers!

Hi, DS web readers! In an effort to get you even more fun and up-to-date dance news, we’re adding a few guest bloggers to the site! First up, one of our regular writers, Tim O’Shei, headed backstage at the Hannah Montana tour to chat with Miley Cyrus’ backup dancers. Here’s what he found out about keeping busy on the road. --Kat Holmes

After months of sold-out shows, the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus “Best of Both Worlds” tour ended last night in Miami. Earlier this month I had the chance to hang out with three of Miley’s eight dancers during a tour stop in Pittsburgh. (Thanks to Clear Talent Group for hooking me up with the trio!) Mandy Jiroux, who’s danced on a Hannah Montana tour once before, told me that one of the ways that she, Miley and some others kill time is by concocting some fun choreography.

“She loves to make up dances,” Mandy said of Miley. “We do it backstage, sometimes, or in hotel rooms when we have time off.”

“You dance to music?” I asked.  

“Yeah,” she said. “Our last dance was to Britney Spears.”

I laughed, and so did the other two dancers who were sitting in the tour bus with us, Ryan Novak and Cory Graves.

“That’s awesome,” Cory said. “What song?”

“Radar,” Mandy said, “off her new album.”

A few days ago, I followed up by phone with a fourth dancer, Ashlee Nino, who I’d first met with Mandy as the two were rocking on the side of the stage during the Jonas Brothers’ set. She, too, is a part of the Miley dance sessions, and so is the show’s choreographer, Teresa Espinoza.

“You do the same choreography onstage everyday,” Ashlee told me, “so learning new stuff is fun for us.” They’re not stuck on Britney, though. Ashlee reports that the most recent preference for these dance jams has been Janet Jackson.

So now the tour is over, but the dancing may not be. Mandy told me that Miley is hoping the dancers will keep working with her back in L.A. “It definitely helps her improve and learn faster,” Mandy said. “She loves to dance.”

So stay tuned to Miley’s moves—and in the meantime, get your tickets fast for her 3D “Best of Both Worlds” movie. It starts today, runs for just seven days, and like the concert is selling out everywhere! --Tim O'Shei (Visit me at or

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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.

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