School Buzz: Behind the scenes at PNB, scholarship alerts and a new MFA program.

 PNB Unleashed

Want to know what’s really going on with the dancers of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet? Principal Noelani Pantastico (remember her from the DS December 2005 cover?) is giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the company with the launch of a new website, PNB Unleashed. Pantastico got the idea for the site following the success of her own website, noelanipantastico.com. She enlisted her husband, Brady Hartley, and PNB corps members Lindsi Dec and Benjamin Griffiths to help her create a proposal, which the four then presented to PNB artistic director Peter Boal and the rest of the company. The finished product features exclusive photos and interviews with PNB dancers, an “Ask a Dancer” page filled with advice and tricks of the trade, company news and updates, “A Day in the Life of…” various PNB dancers, and more. Every ballet company should have this much info out there for its fans! Check it out at www.pnbunleashed.com.

Collaborating 101

Okay, maybe you won’t be earning your master’s degree any time soon, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it, right? Here’s a new program to keep on your radar: The University of California, San Diego, is launching a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Theatre. The goal is to cultivate choreographers interested in dance/theater and collaboration with artists in other disciplines, including visual arts and technology. Classes will begin fall 2008. For more: theatre.ucsd.edu/academics/graduateprograms/dancetheatre

Scholarship ALERT!

Want a chance to study with top choreographers like Mia Michaels, Cris Judd and Tina Landon? How about the opportunity to win a scholarship to put toward college tuition or dance training at a prestigious program like the Joffrey Ballet School, Broadway Dance Center or Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago? The National Learning and Achievement Organization is launching a new scholarship program, ASPIRE, designed to help teen dancers get the training they need to succeed. So what’s the scoop? You attend one of ASPIRE’s workshops, during which you learn choreography and audition for scholarships. On the faculty and scholarship panel: professional choreographers and dancers, as well as professors from college dance departments. In its inaugural year, ASPIRE will be holding scholarship workshops in Cedar Rapids, IA (February 29–March 1, register by January 30); Des Moines, IA (March 28-30, register by February 27); and Iowa City, IA (June 26-29, register by May 27). For more: aspiredancecompetition.com

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Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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