Beat The After-Christmas Blues
For all those that celebrate, we hope you had a fabulous holiday! Today, some of you may already be headed straight back to Nutcracker madness (we got you), but others might actually have a few days off (woo!). Now that the festivities are over and the excitement is dying down, there's a seemingly-endless (and dance class-less) winter break stretched out ahead of you. Cue, the inevitable #breakboredom.
(We feel you, Emma. SAME.)
But, don't worry! Dance Spirit is here to keep you occupied (and productive) with our list of dancer-approved activities. From endless inspiration from your fave dance celebs to the best ways to reset your body, you'll head back to the studio in 2017 feeling refreshed and motivated.
1. Let yourself relax!
Seriously, dancers work SUPER hard all year—you deserve to lounge around. It's perfectly acceptable to binge-watch dance video after dance video like this. This. And THIS. Make sure to let any nagging sore muscles or injuries get fully rested so they can heal. Try out these restorative yoga and meditation exercises to reset your body or pamper your tired, overworked feet with this simple soak.
2. Do some winter cleaning.
Break is the perfect time to finally clean out, organize and restock your dance bag with all the essentials. Not only does it get a little (A LOT) smelly, but you're probably also lugging around tons of stuff you don't even need. And don't forget your make-up bag! Did you know mascara expires after only 6 weeks? Once you rid yourself of all your old products, check out the ones these pros swear by for their stage-perfect looks.
3. Try out new recipes.
Get a jump on your New Year nutrition plan by discovering a few new, delicious recipes. Experiment with these yummy smoothie combos to find your fave go-to or learn how to bake these healthy homemade energy bars. By the time 2017 rolls around you'll be a pro at making healthy, on-the-go treats to eat before class or rehearsal.
4. Get inspired.
It's super important to let your body rest over break, but it's also important to let your mind rest, too. Let go of any criticism you took too personally last year and relinquish yourself from the pressure to be perfect—we can't grow as artists if our minds are crowded with negativity. Then, take a scroll through our Letter to My Teenage Self archives. It's a magical place where all of our favorite dance celebs (Teddy Forance! Stella Abrera! Michelle Dorrance!) open up and share their best advice, insight and wisdom. You'll hit the studio fully motivated to become the best that you can be.
5. Learn something new.
Did you know that flamenco dancers are known for having insane musicality? Or that belly dance can inspire self confidence and celebrates femininity? Take a trip around the dance world and read our fascinating stories about everything from Irish to West African dance. Or learn about what contemporary dance looks like in other countries (hint: it looks pretty dang awesome).
6. Refine your 2017 #goals.
Feeling newly rested and motivated? Then it's a great time to reevaluate where you're at—and where you want to be next year. Picture what your perfect 2017 dance year looks like, and write down specific ways you can accomplish it. Think about the things you want to improve on, or the gigs you want to book. Planning on making the move to NYC? Read about what these NYC newbies wished someone had told them first. Wanting to take class in LA? Learn all the cool dancer hot spots in our L.A. guide. Or maybe you're just hoping to make the jump from convention attendee to assistant. Whatever your 2017 goals are, we've been there—and have all the tips and tricks that'll help you succeed.
Happy break dancers!
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
The Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center is the 54,000 square foot home of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, one of the largest facilities dedicated to dance on a private university campus. Designed for their innovative new curriculum, that supports a range of dance styles, the school's staff designated Harlequin to provide wall-to-wall flooring for the large 3,500 square foot Performance Studio as well as five dance studios in their new state-of-the-art building.
When watching Megan Skalla dance, several things are immediately obvious. She has legs for days and the archy feet to match. Her core is rock-solid, and her sweet smile is contagious. But the longer you spend with her, the more something else becomes clear: Megan’s got sass. Whether it’s a sharp shoulder roll during a hip-hop class or an intense stare during a sky-high développé, there’s a certain something extra that makes this 16-year-old pop. And her steadfast devotion to dance means she’s only getting better.
Megan started dancing when she was 3 at a small ballet studio near her hometown of Draper, UT, and was hooked immediately. At 7, she switched to a new studio, Pulse 31, and started to compete, but she still wasn’t dancing as much as she wanted. Finally, she came to The Dance Club in Orem, where she currently trains. She takes ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical, and sometimes supplements her training with private ballet classes at nearby Barlow Arts Conservatory. “I’ve always loved ballet,” says Megan, who has attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship for the past two years. “It’s the foundation for everything, and it makes me a stronger dancer in other genres.”
Though she dances from morning until night, Megan admits to boogying through her kitchen when she gets home, and would still do more if she could. “There’s a dance company that’s a big deal at my high school, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both,” she says. Devoting her time to The Dance Club, she says, is more conducive to her goal of dancing professionally. The studio is full of mega-talented dancers, and Megan shines among them. Her secret? “In class, some dancers will avoid going across the floor with someone they think is better than they are,” she says. “But I like to go across the floor with the best dancer in class. That way, I can push myself to come up to her level.”
Megan’s strategy is working. She won the Teen High Score Solo award at New York City Dance Alliance regionals and was a Top 10 Outstanding Dancer finalist at NYCDA Nationals. She has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was one of four Capezio NYCDA Model Search winners. As for the future, Megan knows one thing for sure: She’s going to keep dancing. “I want to go to college for dance, maybe to Brigham Young University, Marymount Manhattan or Juilliard,” she says. “But I still have a while to decide.” Until then, she’ll stick to her busy schedule. “It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says. “But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Birthday: March 6, 1996
Favorite food: Pasta
Most-played on her iPod: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
Dream dance role: “It would be really fun to be a Rockette. I want to do the Rockette summer intensive this year.”
Three words that describe her dancing: “Soft, passionate, aggressive”
Dream dance company: Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Favorite dance movie: Step Up
Who would play her in a movie: Nina Dobrev from “The Vampire Diaries”
First thing she does in the morning: “Hit the snooze button so I can sleep for 10 more minutes.”
Favorite dancers of all time: Travis Wall and Joey Dowling
Hidden talent: “I like to sing, but I’m only OK. I’d like to take voice lessons.”
Performer she’d die to work with: Celine Dion
Must-see TV shows: “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Lying Game”
Allison Thornton, Megan’s teacher at The Dance Club: “Megan has the body that every dancer dreams of: long legs, beautiful feet, great extension. But the best thing about Megan is that she knows how to use it all. She works really hard, and as good as she is in rehearsal, she’s even better onstage. Megan is very humble. She always has a smile on her face, she gets along with the other girls and she’s easy to work with. She’s a good person who has been blessed with great talent.”
Joanna Numata, street jazz instructor at Broadway Dance Center: “The first thing I noticed about Megan were her beautiful lines. She also had a really good, positive energy during class. She took direction and corrections well, which is so important.”
It's in Odette's gracefully arched neck, the Lilac Fairy's regal bearing, even a contemporary dancer's extreme lines. The "it" in question? Épaulement—the nuanced positioning of the head, shoulders, and neck. Using your épaulement (which translates, literally, as "shouldering") does more than make your dancing prettier: It makes it better, richer, and more artistic. But achieving effortless épaulement is easier said than done, especially since technique classes tend to focus on the legs and feet.
Paige Fraser has performed on world-class stages and in a video with Beyoncé—yet some of her most meaningful dance moments happened in tiny classrooms on a small island 1,000 miles from America. This past spring, Fraser, who's danced with Ailey II and is a founding member of Visceral Dance Chicago, teamed up with the non-profit Milk Carton on a String to bring dance to underprivileged children in Haiti. Fraser taught daily ballet and modern dance classes and used YouTube videos and social media to introduce the students to other aspects of dance they hadn't been exposed to.
Now, Fraser plans to continue to use dance to give back through her own newly-funded non-profit, The Paige Fraser Foundation. But instead of traveling outside the country, Fraser will be helping kids in her childhood home: the Bronx. She wants her foundation to assist aspiring dancers no matter their color or abilities.
Read our interview with the dancer and do-gooder—and discover the life-changing diagnosis that inspired her to help other dancers achieve their dreams.
DancerPalooza, America's Largest Dance Festival, is moving to sunny SAN DIEGO, California from July 24-29, 2018.
Check out all of the NEW Intensives DancerPalooza has to offer this year!
You can never go wrong with a classic black leotard. Discount Dance's long-sleeve mesh leo will add a sleek edge to your studio style. Pair it with tights and a skirt for ballet class, or layer some leggings and sweats for contemporary class. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.
Last night was both the best and the worst night of "Dancing with the Stars: Athletes." The best, because one lean, mean, dancing machine of a couple got to take home the Mirrorball trophy. The worst, because we won't be able to tune in to "DWTS" each Monday to get our weekly dose of dance mania until the fall. But all good things must come to an end, and "DWTS: Athletes" was certainly one of the best seasons yet. The remaining three couples all brought their A-games to the dance floor for the finale, showcasing two dances: a traditional ballroom routine and a freestyle. Here's the final recap.