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:
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!