Quiz
Angela Sterling

Bunheads, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and we fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what?

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Dancer to Dancer
Courtesy Jacob Guzman

When Jacob Guzman takes the stage in the latest Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof this month, he'll be among some pretty strong dancers. That's because contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter, whose work has been performed by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, is reimagining the choreography. (Jerome Robbins set the musical's original dance numbers in 1964.) But Guzman, a former comp kid who trained at The Gold School in Brockton, MA, isn't a stranger to dancer-heavy ensembles: He made his Broadway debut in Newsies in 2012. Guzman also appeared in NBC's “Peter Pan Live!" and has performed at Dancers Responding to AIDS' Fire Island Dance Festival. Want to know more about Guzman? Read on for The Dirt. —JO

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Dance News

You know who throws a really great party? The PULSE on Tour. Last night marked the culmination of The PULSE's 10th anniversary season, after the convention's week-long Summer Intensive in NYC. From celeb appearances to spectacular guest performances (including dancers from Ballet Hispanico), the choreographers, producers, students—everyone!—put on a heck of a show. Dance Spirit was there to soak in all of the standing-ovation action. Here's a quick rundown of what made the evening so special.

1. The wedding themes. Chris Judd used his wedding song (a variation of Amos Lee's "Sweet Pea") as inspiration for his Summer Intensive large group piece. It was jazzy, uplifting and fun to watch. But On the Other Hand, choreographed by Teresa Stone and set to Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," took a slightly darker turn. Stone, who's a brilliant storyteller, created a wedding party gone awry in which the bride and groom are fighting and probably rethinking their nuptials. It made for an uncomfortable viewing experience—but only because the dancers were so committed to the story and movement. I don't think I was the only audience member on the edge of my seat. Here's a previous performance of Stone's On the Other Hand:

2. The 2014–15 Elite Protégé piece, choreographed by Dance Spirit cover star Ian Eastwood. This piece was about feeling like the odd-man out: Superstar Charlize Glass played a dancer who couldn't quite fit in. Then one day, the others notice her talents, and she becomes part of the group. It wasn't the most subtle or compelling plot, but with Eastwood's lightning-fast choreo and the (now former!) Elite Protégés' performance ability, the storyline didn't really matter.

Behind the scenes with Ian Eastwood (center) and the 2014–15 Elite Protégés (via @Ian_Eastwood)

3. Tricia Miranda's CAMP PULSE number. Oh, the littles. Miranda certainly knows what she's doing when it comes to kid-friendly choreography. This time, Miranda costumed the dancers in their jammies and set the stage for a boys vs. girls' slumber party. Anytime there's a cypher with dancers in footie pajamas, you know it's going to be good. And of course, these fabulous young talents (hi, Brooklyn Nets Kids Fiona Krkuti and Alex Rubiano!) delivered. Best. Sleepover. Ever.

4. Getting to see The PULSE faculty dressed to the nines. Sure, these choreographers look super-cool in class attire. (Can anyone else rock a pair of sweats quite like hip-hop teachers? Nope.) But getting to see their out-of-class fashion sense is pure fun.

So fancy! (The PULSE on Tour faculty; photo via @Cjudd)

5. Kyle Hanagami's choreography for the 2014–15 Protégés. I'm not sure how Hanagami created a cohesive piece for 100 students—but he did. Dancers entered and exited the stage so quickly, but there was never a break in the action. That's also a testament to the dancers, who performed Hanagami's intricate choreo flawlessly.

Congrats, dancers, for such truly fantastic performances! And a special shout out to The PULSE's new 2015–16 Elite Protégés:

The PULSE on Tour's Kristen Plant (center) with the new 2015–16 Elite Protégés (via @kc13dance)

Dance News

Can everyone please just stop retiring? This spring alone, we've seen the company departures of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Carla Körbes and American Ballet Theatre's Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes. On Saturday night, Julie Kent will also take her final bow with ABT.

And now comes the news that not one, not two, but three Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater stars will leave the company after this season? I can't. #Allofthefeels.

Back in April, it was announced that husbands Kirven and Antonio Douthit-Boyd would be heading to St. Louis, MO, to direct the Center of Creative Arts, where Antonio trained growing up. They'll take their last bows with AAADT this July in Paris.

These two, amirite? (From left: Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd; photo by Andrew Eccles, courtesy AAADT)

And we just heard that on Sunday night, the goddess that is Alicia Graf Mack will say farewell to AAADT, too, dancing in Alvin Ailey's Revelations at NYC's Lincoln Center.

We'll miss those legs. And feet. And everything. (Photo by Richard Calmes, courtesy AAADT)

I know what you're thinking: How can Graf Mack be retiring right now?? Especially since she just returned from a leave of absence, which she took to recover from an injury and give birth to her adorable son. But there's a silver lining here: Like the Douthit-Boyds, Graf Mack isn't truly leaving the dance world behind. In addition to leading one-day intensives with her sister Diasha and the D(n)A Arts Collective, she's joining the faculties of both Webster University and Washington University in St. Louis.

We'll miss you Antonio, Kirven and Alicia!

Please don't ever leave us (again), Jamar! (From left: Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Alicia Graf Mack, Jamar Roberts, and Kirven Douthit-Boyd; photo by Andrew Eccles, courtesy AAADT)

Dance News

If you're a "Dance Moms" fanatic, you might be feeling a little blue today. The Season 5 midseason finale aired last night, and although there'll be more mom madness to come, you'll have to wait a little while for the rest. Luckily though, the true stars of the shows—the dancers—are seemingly everywhere these days. Chloe Lukasiak recently teamed up with dance video maven Kyle Hanagami and singer Jess Godwin. And just last night, Maddie Ziegler performed on "Dancing with the Stars," augmenting Josh Groban's sweet yet snoozy rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

For those of you on Team Nia Sioux Frazier, the teen recently debuted her first single, "Star in Your Own Life," complete with a pretty fab music video choreographed by Mikey Minden. I caught up with Nia Sioux to ask about the show and her burgeoning singing career.

Nia Sioux Frazier, age 13 going on 14 (on June 20!) going on 26 (Photo by David Hofmann, aka @sharkcookie)

Dance Spirit: With more than 1.6 million Instagram followers, and hundreds of thousands on Twitter, you're becoming quite the celebrity.

Nia Sioux Frazier: Well, I don't really think of myself as a celebrity—I think it's just being well-known. But that's been my dream since I was little, and it's incredible how my dream is coming true.

DS: Who are your favorite people to follow on social media?

NSF: Beyoncé and Zendaya, all of my friends from school and my dad. He posts funny things about my family.

DS: What's the best part about being on "Dance Moms"?

NSF: Getting to perform as much as we do. And also having so many fans. It's amazing to think about how many people are out there supporting me.

DS: What's been challenging?

NSF: Not getting to see my family that much. Since I'm in L.A. now, I'm away from my dad, my brothers and my dogs. I miss my friends back at home, too. But we try to keep in touch with Skype and FaceTime.

DS: What do you love about singing?

NSF: It makes me feel good. I love hearing something on the radio and singing along—it makes me feel like I can just be me. I love when the music gets in me and I can just flow with it. It's similar to the feeling I get when I'm dancing.

Headed for pop-star stardom (a still from "Star in Your Own Life")

DS: Is there a message behind "Star in Your Own Life"?

NSF: It's about self-confidence. You're already a star, and no one can take that away from you. Know your own worth and be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

DS: What are your goals for the future?

NSF: To be myself and to keep inspiring others to be who they are. I'd love to be on Broadway, in movies or on Disney or Nick. I'd love to have my own reality show. But my dream job is just to perform. That's what I love.

Watch Nia Sioux's "Star in Your Own Life" below, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram to get all her latest news.

Choreography

Kyle Abraham is on fire. In the past few years, he’s been named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and honored by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Ford Foundation. College dance departments across the country can’t get enough of the young choreographer—and neither can major dance companies: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Martha Graham Dance Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago have all commissioned work from Abraham. He was even the resident commissioned artist at New York Live Arts, NYC’s postmodern dance hub. Dance Spirit caught up with Abraham to find out what drives his historically  and emotionally charged work. —Jenny Dalzell

“Many of my works have some sort of Pittsburgh influence in them, since that’s where I’m from.”

(Photo by Steven Schreiber, courtesy Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion)

The Radio Show was initially inspired by two things: the one urban radio station in Pittsburgh going off the air, and my father, who had Alzheimer’s and aphasia. I was thinking about what happens when a community loses its voice, as well as my memories of the songs I grew up listening to. The radio station had both AM and FM feeds—the AM station played old soul music, by artists like The Shirelles, and the FM station played music by Jay-Z and Kanye West. So my work was broken in two parts, using music from both stations.”

"David Dorfman, whose company I danced with, always said to live in the uncomfortable and divorce the familiar when improvising or choreographing. Sometimes choreographic block hits—and when nothing is coming, you can’t force it. You just have to be patient. That can be frustrating when you’re paying for studio space, but patience can also be really rewarding in the long run."

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion dancers in Pavement (Photo by Steven Schreiber, courtesy Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion)

Pavement evolved from looking at the 1991 film Boyz N the Hood; reading W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk; and thinking about my experience in Pittsburgh in 1991, which was my freshman year of high school. I wanted to create a work that explored the time period between the film and the book, as well as the history of Pittsburgh’s black community.”

Wendy Whelan and Abraham in Restless Creature (Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion)

“I’m a big fan of mythology, and I’ve been a history geek since elementary school. The piece I created for Wendy Whelan’s Restless Creature, ‘The Serpent and the Smoke,’ came from a myth I thought I’d heard: A snake becomes enchanted with smoke and thinks it’s seeing another snake. As it turns out, this myth doesn’t actually exist—I made it up.”

“I love working with Chalvar Monteiro, who was in my company for a little over four years, and with one of my current dancers, Tamisha Guy. I love their versatility: They’re trained in Cunningham and Graham techniques, and they’ve worked with Kevin Wynn, who’s a huge influence on my work. They’re great movement generators, too.”

Abraham (center) rehearsing Another Night with AAADT's Jamar Roberts and Jacqueline Green (photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy courtesy Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion)

“I created Another Night for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater while I was making Pavement. It all stemmed from the same ideas. But Another Night was much lighter. It addressed the vitality and the community of an earlier era—the time when jazz artists like Art Blakey and Billy Strayhorn were performing in Pittsburgh.”

“I was initially inspired to dance by Joffrey Ballet’s Billboards, with music by Prince. I was a huge Prince fan, and I identified with the music first—that’s what pulled me in to dance. I’d never experienced that before, and it stuck with me."

When the Wolves Came In (photo by Ian Douglas courtesy Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion)

“The repertory program When the Wolves Came In and the evening-length The Watershed were both inspired by Max Roach’s album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite. The subject matter—the civil-rights movement, the Emancipation Proclamation and apartheid in South Africa—was tricky. I didn’t want to tap into all of that too literally. Instead, I wanted to create work that nodded to the album.”

 

 

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Dance News

OK, guys. We're at T-minus 148 days until Summer 2015, the unofficial premiere date for "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 12!

Yes, it's a long way off. Luckily, though, the fine folks at FOX have been generous with the teasers, releasing little bits of news to keep us all happy. For instance, you already know this season will operate a little differently—separating the dancers into two camps, "street" and "stage," for the preliminary rounds. And you already know that the auditions for Season 12 kick off today in NYC (come say hi—we'll be there!). But late last week, "SYT" producers announced some news:

The judges for Season 12 will include Nigel Lythgoe (natch), Paula Abdul (!!!) and Jason Derulo:

Introducing the new judging panel for "SYTYCD" Season 12! Photoshop is a wondrous invention, amirite? (both images: Adam Rose/FOX) Photoshop is a wondrous invention, amirite? (original images: Adam Rose/FOX)

Abdul is a clear replacement for Mary Murphy. (We'll miss you, Hot Tamale Train conductor!) Abdul was first a guest judge on "SYTYCD" Season 10, and has since been the lead judge on "So You Think You Can Dance Australia." But more than that, she's a dancer, through and through. From her days as a L.A. Laker Girl to choreographing for artists like Janet Jackson to starring in her own classic videos, Abdul has the background it takes to recognize star power in the next generation of dancers.

Abdul (left) showing Janet Jackson a thing or two (via thatgrapejuice.net)

Derulo comes from an entirely different world: songwriting. He's crafted lyrics for lots of artists, including Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Diddy and Sean Kingston. He's also racked up some impressive accolades himself: "Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dogg, is Derulo's eighth song to reach the Top 10 on the Top 40 list, and he's been nominated for numerous MTV Music Video Awards and Teen Choice Awards. You might remember Derulo's appearance on "SYTYCD" Season 11 as a guest judge and musical guest—he and Snoop performed "Wiggle."

Derulo performing "Wiggle" on "SYT" Season 11 (Adam Rose/Fox)

Apparently Derulo's joke-filled guest-judging stint made a big impression on Lythgoe, who in a press release said, "Jason’s insight, humor and creativity will add a new perspective to the panel that we haven’t had before.” And while we can't argue with that, truth be told, we're a little sad the third permanent judging spot didn't go to Jesse Tyler Ferguson, aka The World's Best Guest Judge. Here's hoping JTF drops in for an episode or two.

What do you think about the new judges? Let us know in the comments.

Dancer to Dancer

It all started with a question in an old issue of Pointe magazine: “I feel bad sending all of my dead pointe shoes to a landfill. Is there any way to recycle them?” When Katarina Jakimier read the answer—“Currently, there are no specific pointe shoe recycling programs”—her mind started to churn.

“I really care about the environment,” says Katarina, 13, a student at Texas Ballet Theater School in Dallas. “And since dancers go through so many pairs each year, I was pretty surprised they didn’t have a way to recycle them.” After all, “they’re basically made out of cotton, satin and jute. Those are all natural fibers, so they’re excellent candidates for recycling.”

Katarina, then 12, decided to take matters into her own hands. In February 2014, she began working on the Dallas Pointe Shoe Recycling Project. Now, thanks to her work, the Dallas dance community can breathe easier knowing it’s doing its part for the environment: Instead of sending worn pointe shoes to the dump, dancers in the area can drop them off in recycling containers around town. From there, the shoes get picked up, broken down and eventually made into something else.

Katarina shows off a pointe shoe recycling bin at the Ivivva by Lululemon showroom in Dallas, TX (photo courtesy Mary Jakimier)

Putting a Plan in Place

Katarina knew starting a recycling initiative wasn’t

going to be easy. But she had another driving factor. A longtime Girl Scout, she had been searching for the right project to submit for the Girl Scout Silver Award, the most prestigious prize for Scouts in sixth through eighth grades. And because the rules state that candidates must spend at least 50 hours on their projects, Katarina wanted to choose something related to her passion: dance. A pointe shoe recycling project seemed to be the perfect fit.

“My first step was visiting the major dance companies, dancewear stores and studios in town to find out if any of them had recycling programs,” Katarina says. “They didn’t—but they all said to let them know if I found anything. So I became even more convinced our community really needed this.”

A Test of Perseverance

Katarina began calling recycling centers, but finding a local company that recycled textiles—not just glass, plastic or metal—proved challenging. “It was even harder to find a textile recycling plant that accepted shoes,” Katarina says. Many times, she’d reach out to a representative who would, in turn, tell her to call three other people—who would then point her in other directions. And each time, she’d have to start at square one: explaining the pointe shoe cycle. “A few people thought ‘Oh, well, all shoes can be reused,’ ” she says. “I really had to be clear that once pointe shoes are dead, they’re dead.”

By March, Katarina had started forming a backup plan. “I got in touch with a company called World Wear Project,” she says. “They don’t quite recycle—the plan was to collect old but still wearable ballet slippers and redistribute them.” But the reuse idea wasn’t really what Katarina was hoping for. She also thought about collecting worn pointe shoes and mailing them to a center across the country for recycling, but that system was faulty, too. “I didn’t like the idea of asking a dance studio to package the shoes and pay for shipping,” she says. “It would’ve been a big burden.”

The Pointe Shoe Recycling Project

Just when she was getting desperate, Katarina received an email from American Textile Recycling Services. Its representative was able to point Katarina in the right direction: a recycling bin in Dallas that would accept pointe shoes. “My project was back on!” Katarina says. “Even better was that the ATRS collection bin wasn’t far from my house or the dance studios I’d reached out to initially.”

Katarina set her plan in motion. She placed pointe shoe collection containers—with posters and information sheets about pointe-shoe recycling—in three dancewear stores and two studios. “The containers are airtight, so the smell of old shoes won’t leak out,” she says. Once the containers are full, the store or studio owners take them to the recycling bin, empty the contents and bring the containers back to their businesses to reuse.

Later that summer, Katarina found out that her project had earned the Silver Award. But she’s not done yet: She wants to spread her green toes even farther. “I really hope people will see the project and contact me,” she says, “or start recycling projects of their own. I’m happy with how this turned out and I’m excited to help in other areas, too.”

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Dancer to Dancer

It’s not easy to land a spot on Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience world tour. But armed with fluid moves, dynamic versatility and a sly sense of humor, 24-year-old Matt Aylward did just that—and much more. He started training at Fancy Feet Dance Studios near Charlotte, NC, at age 13, and went on to perform with Usher and Rihanna and to appear on “Glee” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In addition to dancing live with Justin every night, he was featured in Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” video. Read on for The Dirt.

(Photo by Vince Trupsin, courtesy Clear Talent Group)

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A Power Ranger.

What dancer would you drop everything to see?

Anthony Morigerato.

If you could work with any performer, past or present, who would it be?

Gene Kelly.

What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag?

A small brush for my beard. #Fearthebeard.

Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits?

I tend to look down while I dance. I'm trying to stop that immediately.

What was your most embarrassing onstage moment?

Having my pants split all the way on stage with Usher.

What’s the most challenging thing about touring?

Being away from my dogs and anything that has to do with luggage!

 

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Headed to The Big Apple? The endless number of studios, shops, shows and restaurants can seem overwhelming. Let Dance Spirit and a few NYC dance insiders be your guides.

Clockwise from top left: Alex Lopez/NYC & Company, Clayton Cotterell/NYC & Company, Alex Lopez/NYC & Company, Joe Buglewicz/NYC & Company, Marley White/NYC & Company, Joe Buglewicz/NYC & Company

 

(Photo by Peter Hurley, courtesy Paloma Garcia-Lee)

Paloma Garcia-Lee: Broadway dancer Garcia-Lee has performed in Phantom of the Opera and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She says: “Follow your workouts with sweaty Yin yoga classes at Modo Yoga NYC. Some of the instructors are also dancers, so you might end up taking with someone you’ll see onstage.”

 

 

 

(Photo by Paul B Goode, courtesy Kaitlyn Gilliland)

Kaitlyn Gilliland: A former New York City Ballet corps member, Gilliland dances with Ballet Next. Her food picks: “Kefi is a great Greek restaurant on the Upper West Side, and Good Enough to Eat is a brunch favorite.”

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy Paul Taylor Dance Company)

Laura Halzack: Halzack is a member of Paul Taylor DanceCompany. Her cure for a sweet tooth: “You have to go to Doughnut Plant near the Taylor Studios at least once. I could eat one of their doughnuts every day—they have unique flavors.”

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo by Mathieu Young/FOX, courtesy Alex Wong)

Alex Wong: A “So You Think You Can Dance” All-Star, Wong is a former Newsies dancer. His training tip: “Broadway Dance Center has an ever-changing list of guest teachers. It’s a great way to take class from working choreographers who aren’t always in town.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a ballet dancer? Start your uptown adventure here.

You wake up in the morning craving…

…something hearty. Head to one of NYC’s top bagel joints, ABSOLUTE BAGELS (Broadway, btwn W 107th and W 108th Sts)…something light and nutritious. Grab a cold-pressed juice and a yogurt parfait from JUICE PRESS (W 82nd St, btwn Columbus Ave and Central Park West).

(Logo courtesy Steps on Broadway)

You’re ready for your first class of the day. You head…

…right to the barre. “Take advanced ballet with Wilhelm Burmann or Nancy Bielski at STEPS ON BROADWAY,” Gilliland says (W 74th St and Broadway)…to Pilates first. Take a mat class at UPTOWN PILATES (W 72nd St, btwn Amsterdam and Columbus Aves). Now I’m ready for ballet...Take Kathryn Sullivan’s class at STEPS ON BROADWAY. She stresses proper placement and quick footwork.

 

How’s the weather today?

The sun is shining. Catch some rays in RIVERSIDE PARK on Manhattan’s West Side (Along Riverside Dr, from W 72nd to W 158th Sts). It’s raining. Head to PINKY’S SALON, Gilliland’s favorite spot for a manicure (Columbus Ave, btwn W 74th and W 75th Sts). Hot! But it’s perfect in the shade. Walk to CENTRAL PARK. Stroll through John Lennon’s memorial, Strawberry Fields, for a break from NYC’s hustle and bustle (Near W 72nd St and Central Park West).

Metropolitan Museum of Art (photo by Joe Buglewicz/NYC & Company)

Is that your stomach grumbling?

Let’s stay in the neighborhood. “ ’WICHCRAFT, across from the David H. Koch Theater, serves indulgent sandwiches and tasty cookies,” Gilliland says (W 62nd St and Broadway). I want to explore the East Side. Grab a falafel from a street vendor and have lunch on the stairs of THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART—then head inside to see some of the exhibits (5th Ave and E 82nd St).

 

When it comes to afternoon adventures, you prefer to…

…stay outdoors. Walk to the BOAT BASIN CAFE and enjoy a lemonade while looking

out over the Hudson River (W 79th St, in Riverside Park)…find the nearest museum. Visit the Hayden Planetarium at the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (Central Park West and W 79th St)…get sweaty! Sign up for a “Figure 4 Barre” conditioning class at PURE YOGA, where many of the instructors are former dancers (E 86th St, btwn 2nd and 3rd Aves).

Let’s stop for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Indulge my sweet tooth! Stop by TREAT HOUSE and grab some gourmet crispy treats (Amsterdam Ave, btwn W 81st and W 82nd Sts). I’m thirsty. Sip an iced tea at CAFE LALO (W 83rd St, btwn Broadway and Amsterdam Aves).

Ready for an early dinner before a show?

I want lots of options. Head to ZABAR’S CAFE for some tasty deli specialties (Broadway and W 81st St). I’m on a tight budget. Grab a $1 hot dog (or two!) at GRAY’S PAPAYA (Broadway and W 72 St).

On clear summer nights, enjoy a free LINCOLN CENTER OUT OF DOORS show with music and dance from around the globe (Columbus Ave at W 63rd St).

 

Do you dream of Broadway? Start your midtown tour here.

What’s your preferred morning meal?

I’m a full-breakfast kind of girl. Try a savory breakfast pie from PIE FACE (Broadway and W 53rd St). Something small and to-go. Order a croissant from GREGORYS COFFEE—one of Garcia-Lee’s favorite spots for a morning fix (W 44th St and 6th Ave).

Whether I’ll be tapping, strutting or popping…

…I need a soothing warm-up. Wake up your senses in a Gyrotonic session at CIRCULAR POWER INC (7th Ave, btwn W 54th and W 55th Sts)…my day starts with an intense workout. Sweat, tone and feel the burn in a dance-inspired PHYSIQUE 57 class (W 57th St, btwn 5th and 6th Aves)…nothing gets me centered like a ballet class. Take Deborah Wingert’s class at MANHATTAN MOVEMENT & ARTS CENTER. “I always take ballet at MMAC,” Wong says. “The studios are beautiful” (W 60th St, btwn Amsterdam and 11th Aves).

Now I’m warm!

(Logo courtesy Broadway Dance Center)

I want to really let go. Learn a detailed contemporary jazz combo in Slam’s mid-morning class at BROADWAY DANCE CENTER (W 45th St, btwn 8th and 9th Aves). I want a technical challenge. Take Sue Samuels’ Broadway jazz class at BROADWAY DANCE CENTER.

 

 

 

Famished?

Yes! Let’s get lunch. “GREEN SYMPHONY is my favorite quick stop,” says Garcia-Lee. Try a veggie wrap or a kale salad (W 43rd St, btwn 7th and 8th Aves). I could go for a small snack. Head to the signature NYC grocery store DEAN & DELUCA (W 56th St, btwn 6th and 7th Aves).

Time for some sightseeing. 

Let’s stay outside. Tour the CENTRAL PARK ZOO and visit the two super-cute snow leopard cubs (E 64th St and 5th Ave). Let’s go to a museum. Soak in the bizarre and the beautiful at THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (W 53rd St, btwn 5th and 6th Aves).

What’s on your afternoon agenda? 

I can’t leave NYC without doing a little window shopping. Stroll down 5TH AVE for the best displays in town (5th Ave, btwn E 59th and E 42nd Sts). I’m ready for some fun cardio. While THE AILEY SCHOOL is known as a mecca for modern dance, its ZUMBA FITNESS classes are some of the most popular in NYC (W 55th St and 9th Ave). I want to get cheap Broadway tickets. Head to the TKTS BOOTH in Times Square. Garcia-Lee’s advice: “Get in line early!” (Broadway and 47th St).

I’m starving! Before a night on the town, I want…

…a trendy dinner. “Get the Adobe Salad from EATERY,” says Garcia-Lee. “It’s my favorite salad in Hell’s Kitchen” (W 53rd and 9th Ave)…a classic pastrami sandwich. Go to CARNEGIE DELI for sandwiches big enough to split with a friend (W 55th St and 7th Ave).

New York City Center (photo by Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects)

Head to THE GREAT WHITE WAY. Check out our “Broadway Show Guide” to see what’s playing. See what musicals may be Broadway-bound at “Encores! Off-Center” at NEW YORK CITY CENTER (W 55th St, btwn 6th and 7th Aves).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a downtown diva? Modern or contemporary dancers, start here.

I always start the day with…

…fruits and veggies. Try a PB Açai Bowl and a green juice from JUICE GENERATION (Prince and Crosby Sts, in the Equinox Gym)…a protein-filled punch. Head to DAVID’S BAGELS for one of the city’s best egg-and-cheese sandwiches (1st Ave, btwn E 15th and E 16th Sts).

Let’s get moving!

A modern class starts my day on a positive note. Take class from Paul Taylor Dance Company members at THE TAYLOR SCHOOL (Grand St, btwn Jackson and Lewis Sts). I’m craving a full-body workout. Hop into a conditioning session with Rachel Piskin at CHAISEFITNESS (E 23rd St, btwn Madison and Park Aves). I want to sweat before dance class. Try a spin class at SOULCYCLE (SoHo location: Crosby St, btwn Spring and Broome Sts).

(Logo courtesy Gibney Dance)

Now I’m ready for class. 

I want to explore a postmodern style. See who’s leading a contemporary workshop at the new downtown GIBNEY DANCE CENTER (Broadway and Chambers St).

 

(Photo courtesy Peridance Capezio Center)

I want something classic. Get a lesson in Limón Technique at THE PERIDANCE CAPEZIO CENTER (E 13th St, btwn 3rd and 4th Aves).

Time for lunch!

Let’s get a burger. Head to SHAKE SHACK—and try a custard, too. “My favorite is the Urban Lumber-Shack,” says Wong. “It’s vanilla custard with Belgian waffles, bananas, bacon and peanut brittle” (Madison Square Park, E 23rd St and Madison Ave). I love PB & Js. Try a crazy concoction from PEANUT BUTTER & CO., like The Heat Is On Sandwich: spicy peanut butter with grilled chicken and pineapple jam (Sullivan St, btwn Bleecker and W 3rd Sts).

Let’s get lunch outside.

I want to head downtown. Take the subway to the newly renovated SOUTH STREET SEAPORT (Pier 17, at Fulton and Front Sts). I want something fresh. Taste locally sourced produce and baked goods as you stroll through the UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET (E 14th St and Broadway). OK, but let’s go for a ride first. Pedal a CitiBike across the BROOKLYN BRIDGE and get a pizza from GRIMALDI’S (Front

and Old Fulton Sts).

Next, I’d like to...

…take a moment to reflect. Visit the new WORLD TRADE CENTER and The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (Albany and Greenwich Sts)… see the sights. You can take the free ferry to Staten Island and enjoy incredible views of THE STATUE OF LIBERTY (Hop the 1 train to South Ferry station).

For an afternoon break, I want to…

Washington Square Park (photo by LittleNY/Thinkstock)

…hang out with friends. Listen to street musicians in WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK (5th Ave, btwn W 4th St and Waverly Pl)…get something sweet. Visit the home of the original cronut—a croissant and doughnut hybrid—DOMINIQUE ANSEL BAKERY (Spring St, btwn Sullivan and Thompson Sts).

Before a show, I want…

…something hearty. “THE MEATBALL SHOP is fun, and not crazy-expensive,” says Halzack. “I love the traditional Bolognese Ball” (Greenwich Ave, btwn W 11th and Perry Sts)…dessert for dinner! “CHIKALICIOUS DESSERT BAR in the East Village has the best desserts in the world,” says Wong. “And the owners are big dance supporters” (E 10th St, btwn 1st and 2nd Aves).

See companies including Pilobolus and RIOULT Dance NY this summer at THE JOYCE THEATER (8th Ave, btwn W 18th and W 19th Sts). For the latest postmodern and contemporary work, head to DANSPACE PROJECT (E 10th St and 2nd Ave).

 

 

Dance News

(Before we begin—have you heard that we're giving away tickets to the "So You Think You Can Dance" season finale?! GO. ENTER. NOW.)

Wow. "SYTYCD" Season 11 is going to be pretty darn spectacular. This week, we watched 157 dancers travel to L.A. to duke it out for a spot in the Top 20. Guest judges this week included tWitch, Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman and ballerina Irina Dvorovenko. It was pretty hard to know who would advance and who would be sent packing—the level of talent was just that high. There were also A LOT of cuts: Dancers had to make it through seven rounds, and there were even a couple dance-for-your-life performances. I'm not sure how the show's editors managed to get the entire week of callbacks into one jam-packed, action-filled episode—but they did. Here are my top five moments from last night:

1. Cameron. OK, OK, he’s not a competitor, he’s a newborn. But he was definitely part of one of my favorite “SYTYCD” stories of all time: Steven, a phenomenal hip-hop dancer from New Orleans, got news that his girlfriend had gone into labor right as callbacks began. Obviously, Steven was a little distracted. I mean, THERE WAS A BABY ON THE WAY. Somehow he managed to pull it together for the first few rounds…and then, Cameron arrived! Steven didn't make the cut after Sonya Tayeh’s choreography, but I think he’s already won, regardless.

Awwwwwwwww

2.  Jaja, the red-headed wildcard. So, OK, she didn’t make Top 20. But to see this girl go from crazy krumper to slinky ballroom dancer just made me smile.

Let's hope Jaja auditions again next year. I know I'd love to see more of her transformations.

3. All the awkwardness. First, there was contestant Amanda’s, um, hiccup, when she said she felt lucky to have Marcquet as a hip-hop partner because, duh, he’s there for hip hop. Well, sorry Charlie, he’s a ballroom expert, and you’ve just learned what happens when you assume things—on national TV. Oops! (Disclaimer: In Amanda's defense, Marcquet can do it all—amazingly. My prediction? Top 4, easily.)

Next, we said goodbye to poor contestant Christopher’s front tooth. During the ballroom routine rehearsals, Chris got smacked in the face by his partner’s elbow. She lost quite a bit of skin and blood, and he lost half a tooth. OUCH.

Thankfully, the judges were kind to this (partially) toothless wonder of a dancer. He made it through the ballroom round.

And finally, did anyone else feel just a little guilty for laughing at the judge’s nasty comments during the group choreography round? Over the first four episodes this season, we’ve applauded the judges for not berating the auditionees who gave sub-par performances. Apparently, though, their snide remarks have been brewing, and after One Love’s group debacle, there was a firestorm of snark. My favorite zinger came courtesy of Adam Shankman: “I see you got your routine from those children on ‘Dance Moms.' " BOOM, roasted.

This face.

4. The surprise endings. A lot of our favorites from the audition rounds didn’t make it. This week, we unfortunately—and unexpectedly—bid adieu to Trevor Bryce, Marie Poppins, Megan Marcano, Erik “Silky” Williams, and DS cover beauty Kamille Upshaw.

5. The TOP 20, REVEALED! Without further ado, may we present—in the order they were introduced during the show’s credits—the 20 candidates vying to be America’s Favorite Dancer: Malene, Zack, Emily, Serge, Carly, Emilio, Tanisha, Stanley, Valerie, Nick, Bridget, Marcquet, Jacque, Rudy, Brooklyn, Teddy, Jessica, Casey, Jourdan and Ricky. Congrats, dancers! We can't wait to see what you bring this season!

What did you guys think? Are you happy with this season's Top 20? Was anyone sent home unfairly? Let us know in the comments—and check back here next week for our recap of the first live episode!

Dance News

The Dance Camera West Film Festival kicks off tonight in L.A., celebrating and promoting dance in film. The festival runs through June 13, though the majority of events take place this weekend. Super-cool highlights? Performances by L.A.'s BODYTRAFFIC and L.A. Contemporary Dance Company; a YouTube panel discussion with Tony Testa, Vincent Paterson, Jon Chu and Ian Eastwood; and screenings of films that feature artists like Storyboard P, Daniel Cloud CamposSergei Polunin, Daniel Ezralow and Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith. To say the least, it's going to be awesome. (Get the full schedule here.)

This year's festival also marked the inaugural CalArts@Dance Camera West Emerging Artists Competition. Sponsored by Dance Camera West and the dance and film divisions of California Institute of the Arts, the competition welcomed films from high school and college dancers. Four winners were announced earlier this week: Ohio State University's Daniel Diller was named first runner-up for his film Up. Side. Down. exploring skateboarding movements; second runner-up Amber Schmiesing from Elon University presented Concert in D Minor, a film inspired by Mozart's life; and Palo Alto High School student Kristen Carey received special recognition for Inside My Mind, a work that dives deep into the world of Irish dancing. Juilliard dancer Nobel Lakaev took home first place and a cash prize for his film Behind Closed Doors.

The winners' work will be screened June 8 at REDCAT, in Downtown L.A. Can't make it? Watch a few excerpts from Nobel's Behind Closed Doors below. (FYI: The video goes dark for a little over a minute at 1:30...but it picks back up. Enjoy!)

Dance News

Wowza.

Last night's "Dancing with the Stars" episode—round one of the two-part finale—was a lot of things. Fully clothed was not one of them. We got a 90-minute show chock full of makeout sessions, bare chests, lingerie, and gold unitards. Oh, yeah, and a whole lotta dancing. This show meant business: Each of the four remaining couples took the stage twice. Here are the top moments you may have missed:

James Maslow and Petra Murgatroyd's onstage kiss: From the rehearsal clips it wasn't exactly clear who was directing whom, especially when James choreographed a passionate kiss mid tango. The performance itself was pretty steamy (the kiss was no exception), and featured a bare-chested James under a silver blazer. (I'm not complaining.)

Are we sure Mark's OK?

Mark Ballas' injury: When we saw Mark at the top of the show, his arm was in a sling, and in the behind-the-scenes footage before his quickstep with Candace Cameron-Bure we found out why: Rehearsing with a strained rotator cuff Sunday morning, Mark went down after a bad lift and was rushed to the hospital. He took it like a champ though, and during one of last night's commercial breaks, he was cleared to dance.

The awkward video when figure skaters Tara Lipinski, Evan Lysacek, and Kristi Yamaguchi talked about Meryl Davis', um, blossoming, since dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, plus the duo's sizzling freestyle. Forget Romeo and Juliet's bedroom scene—this routine took passion to a whole new level. Maks was shirtless, Meryl was in lingerie, and even co-host Erin Andrews asked why they didn't make out at the end—they so wanted to. (I, however, would like to know why the gorgeous Meryl didn't point her toes?)

I want one.

When DJ Tanner (yes, Candace was introduced that way!) and Mark took on Center Stage:  I may prefer Cooper Nielson's choreography to Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat," but Candace looked stellar in that gold unitard, and Mark didn't collapse—everybody wins!

Amazeballs.

Amy Purdy's ridiculously amazing aerial feat. During Derek Hough and Amy's freestyle routine set amid what seemed like 18 fog machines, Amy took to the sky—literally. Seriously: She spun around in the air holding a rope with ONE HAND. I don't think I was the only one whose jaw dropped.

The results: Only three couples can perform tomorrow night during the two-hour finale event. Ultimately, James and Petra bid adieu. Something tells me America will miss James' torso.

Be sure to tune in tonight at 8pm/7pm central for the finale!

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