Nathan Sayers

See Ballerina Tiler Peck as You've Never Seen Her Before: In Tap Shoes

The Vail Dance Festival in Vail, CO, is famous for pairing dancers from different companies with each other. And we love geeking out over that kind of fantasy casting. (Speaking of which: You HAVE to watch these videos of American Ballet Theatre's Calvin Royal III and New York City Ballet's Unity Phelan rehearsing Balanchine's Agon pas de deux. đŸ”„ đŸ”„ đŸ”„ )

But VDF director Damian Woetzel also likes to have dancers try on completely foreign dance styles. And sometimes the results of those mad-scientist experiments are magical—especially when NYCB's Tiler Peck is involved.


Remember a few years back, when Peck proved she could hold her own with jooker Lil Buck? This year, Peck straight-up tap-danced in Michelle Dorrance's piece for the NOW Premieres: Celebrating Women Choreographers program at Vail. It was her first time ever performing in tap shoes, and guys: She's no slouch. See for yourself in the rehearsal clip she posted yesterday. (Snaps to former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member Melissa Toogood, in the pink vest, too.)

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Because you know you've always wondered... (Getty Images)

Sounding Off: Here's What Your Favorite Musicians Think of Dance Routines Set to Their Songs

In the competition world, a small group of musicians has attained almost cultlike status, with choreographers turning to their tracks over and over. We know how we feel about these bangers—there's a reason we can't stop dancing to them—but how do the musicians feel about us? We caught up with three contemporary artists whose music has dominated the competition scene recently, and gauged their reactions to the dances set to their life's work.

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Here are all the works up for Emmys this year:

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Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

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"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

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