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

Dance News
(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.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?

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Cover Story
Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated remake of West Side Storychoreographed by Justin Peck, and starring a bevy of very good dancers—is in production, hooray! And that means it's finally time for us to get a look at the film's cast members in character. Let's break down the first photo from the project.

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