Last month, 300 dancers queued up outside The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in NYC on a Saturday afternoon, all striving to fulfill one dream—to become a Knicks City Dancer! Only 30 girls continued on to the weeklong training camp, which culminated with the announcement of the twentieth anniversary team. Dance Spirit caught up with one of the six new members to learn more about the audition experience.
Christina B.: I’ve wanted to be on the KCD since high school. The dancers are glamorous—they’re strong, confident, fierce, and dynamic. Every move they do is picture-ready!
DS: What was the first day of auditions like?
CB: The first day was an open call audition. The first cut was really unexpected: after warming up and going down the floor, we learned two 8 counts of a routine, went over them a lot, and then they spread out all the dancers to make sure they saw every single person. Then they cut half the group! After that, we learned more of the combination, performed it, and then they picked the top 32.
DS: How did they choose the final team?
CB: The beginning of the Training Camp week was rehearsals, where we learned a routine with different formations and ripples. It was a lot of fun, but it was very technical, and we had a short amount of time to learn everything. Then there was the boot camp, which was really intense. It felt more like a workout for a men’s sports team—we did lots of cardio work, push-ups, planks, crunches, and ladders. I was nervous the whole time, but the directors were looking for leaders, girls who don’t crash and burn under pressure. I just believed in myself and had faith that everything would work out.
DS: What was your reaction when you heard your name called?
CB: I was just shocked – I didn’t know what to say or feel. I know I had a surprised look on my face. The first thing I said was “Me? You said my name?” I’m so excited to perform at Madison Square Garden and to be a role model for women and girls all over the nation. I love the opportunity to be a spokesperson and a model citizen for NYC.
DS: What advice do you have for girls hoping to audition for the KCD?
CB: Make sure you go to the audition clinic series [a 3 hour session where they teach the routines that will be used at the audition.] I was prepared because I already knew the combinations. Be yourself, because the directors want to see [ital: you]. Don’t change who you are just to fit a certain “look.” As long as you're confident, you have nothing to worry about. If you work hard, you can achieve it!
(Photo: Christina B.; Credit: Adam Pantozzi Photography)
(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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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer