We Rounded Up All the Best Dancing at the 2019 VMAs

The MTV Video Music Awards are really a dancer's dream awards show. Think about it: we get to hear our favorite songs sung live, see the music industry's brightest stars decked out in ridiculous, over-the-top costumes, and watch some insanely full-out performances, courtesy of the dance world's most talented dancers and choreographers.

This year's VMAs were no exception. From start to finish, we saw act after act chock-full of some of the best dancing television has seen in a minute. In the (highly unlikely) event you missed the show, we gathered up all of the best dancing from last night.



Lil Nas X's First VMAs

We're all a little devastated that Lil Nas X didn't use the VMAs as a chance to release yet another life-changing remix of "Old Town Road" (or as a chance to show off his underratedly amazing square dancing skills). But watching him perform—and I mean perform— his hit single "Panini" was entirely enjoyable. And, important life update: Lil Nas X can seriously MOVE, and he was there hitting every single step alongside his talented crew of backup dancers. Welcome to the VMAs, Lil Nas.

Lizzo, Lizzo's Backup Dancers, and Queen Latifah in the Audience During Lizzo's Performance

Friendly reminder from diva extraordinaire and general queen Lizzo that even if it's starting to feel like fall, #HotGirlSummer is never really over. Lizzo's VMAs performance was exactly what we expected in all the right ways, full of self-love affirmations, legendary costume changes, big-booty worship, and, of course, some of the best dancing of the night. Lizzo was backed up by an all-black, all-women, all-sizes dance troupe that we will probably never stop talking about. Watching them get down to her two self-love anthems, "Truth Hurts" and "Good as Hell," was truly amazing. BRB, watching this performance any time we feel sad ever again.

Normani's "Motivation" Solo

While Normani's entire performance of her new hit single "Motivation" was completely full of to-die-for dancing, what we really can't get over was her breakout solo. We have no choice but to stan a queen who is able to overcome a wardrobe malfunction and perform the hottest combination of floorwork, twerking, acrobatics, and hip hop we've ever seen. "Motivation" is right—Normani is out here reminding us we need to hit the studio.

Missy Elliott. Full Stop. 

If you're sitting here wondering if Missy Elliott just gave the best VMAs performance of all time, you're not alone. Elliott performed all of her classic hits, from "Work It," "Get Ur Freak On," "Pass That Dutch," and even "Lose Control," the classic bop that soundtracked roughly 99% of all bad hip-hop routines at recitals across the country in the early 2000s. One of the highlights of the performance (and the night) was when Elliott brought out phenom Alyson Stoner who appeared in the original music video for "Work It." Top to bottom, Missy Elliott's necklace says it all: this performance was iconic.

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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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