Conan O'Brien Shows Off His Dance "Skills" at The Ailey School
Late night goofball Conan O'Brien has brought his "Conan" hijinks to NYC this week, to the delight of all New Yawk peeps. Though he's in town a tad too early to enjoy Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's fall season (it kicks off November 30 at New York City Center), O'Brien decided to get his Ailey on anyway. And we mean that rather literally: He donned a dance belt (props for that, Coco) and took class with a bunch of advanced students at The Ailey School.
We're not going to say O'Brien has ZERO dance skills—we'll admit to being fans of his weirdly mesmerizing "string dance"—but it's close. Which makes his attempts to execute a lateral T alongside Ailey's best and brightest pretty, pretty, pretty funny. Ailey School co-director Tracy Inman serves as Coco's ever-patient guide to the world of modern dance, and the perpetually good-natured AAADT artistic director Robert Battle even stops by to, um, evaluate O'Brien's skills.
It's all very cute and endearing—and it shows a mainstream audience just how fiercely talented Ailey dancers are. Also, can we talk about the fact that O'Brien seems to have a bit of a Fosse fetish? You go, Coco!
After all that silliness, O'Brien invited AAADT dancers Solomon Dumas, Sean Aaron Carmon and Kanji Segawa to show the world how Ailey is really done: The trio performed the showstopping "Sinner Man" from Revelations onstage at the Apollo Theater. Take a look at Conan's class capers, and the Ailey dancers' performance, below.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.