Catapult Entertainment Lives in the Shadows

Here's the thing about competition shows: It seems like runners-up often go on to do just as well, if not better, than the winners. Take "So You Think You Can Dance" for example: tWitch, Travis Wall, Kathryn McCormick, Mark Kanemura...none of them were crowned "America's Favorite Dancer." But let's be real—America's obsessed with them, and they've been hugely successful.

Catapult and YMCA teamed up to teach kids valuable life lessons

Turns out, "America's Got Talent" is no different. After competing on the show last season, Connecticut-based dance troupe Catapult Entertainment has experienced a huge surge in popularity and demand, both in the U.S. and internationally. (In other words, "AGT" really catapulted their careers...amiright??)

Founded in 2008 by dancer-choreographer Adam Battelstein, Catapult specializes in shadow dancing, which is exactly what it sounds like: a super, mega, deluxe version of shadow theater. One of the coolest things about the company is that it's made up of freelance dancers from all different backgrounds (which, as Battelstein points out, makes scheduling rehearsals tricky!). Regardless of their backgrounds, what these dancers can do with their bodies is pretty incredible.

Another unique thing about this company? Notice how it's called Catapult Entertainment? That's because it started out as a corporate entertainment company. Various companies—such as Girl Scouts USA, IBM and Project Hope—have hired Catapult to perform custom presentations. They use their bodies to communicate their clients' messages. This spring, for example, they worked with YMCA to teach kids valuable lessons, like supporting your neighbor and leading a healthy lifestyle.

But now that they've got the national recognition (and a growing international fan base—the troupe just finished a tour in Germany), they should able to branch out from the corporate sphere and communicate some messages of their own. It'll be interesting to see! Look out for announcements on Catapult's U.S. tour, then check out this video, where Battelstein shares some of the secrets and thought processes behind their work:

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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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