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The DS Cover Model Search has been highlighting up-and-coming dancers since 2006—and we’ve had some stellar standouts, including April Giangeruso (2006, now dancing with ABT II) and Madison Keesler (2008, now an apprentice with Hamburg Ballet). In 2007, we met Sara Michelle Murawski, then a full-scholarship student at The Rock School. With her mile-long legs (she’s 5' 9.5"!) and incredible flexibility, we knew this ballerina would be going places soon. And now she’s taking the ballet world by storm!

Last year, Sara Michelle was a finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix competition, and this year she was accepted to compete in the New York International Ballet Competition and the Prix de Lausanne. Now, she’s putting her ballet training from The Rock School, Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts and the Kirov Academy of Ballet to use as a corps de ballet member at Dresden
Semperoper in Germany. Congrats, Sara Michelle! —Alison Feller


Photo by Gene Schiavone

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Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

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Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

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