"Riverdale"'s Camila Mendes Is Our New Dance Crush

Sure, we've known for a bit now that Camila Mendes—aka Veronica Lodge on "Riverdale"—has some moves. (Exhibit A being, of course, the kind of epic Veronica/Cheryl dance battle that happened on the show last year.) But this month, Mendes has been taking her dancing up a notch in not one but two music videos that y'all need to watch right now.


First, the 24-year-old starlet appeared as a backup dancer in her friend Maggie Rogers' "Give a Little" vid, choreographed by Ashley Robicheaux. Rogers and Mendes actually went to New York University together, and according to Rogers, the video was inspired by "when we used to go dancing in college," which, awwwww! (Mendes' cameo starts about 1 minute in.)

Then there's Mendes' star turn in The Chainsmokers' new video for "Side Effects," where she plays a disgruntled hotel employee who decides to blow off some steam by throwing a solo dance party. The choreography (by Juri Onuki) may be relatively simple, but Mendes' commitment is 💯. And honestly, we'd expect nothing less from Veronica.


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Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

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Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

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Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


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