Akira Armstrong Proves Dance Is for Every Body

Let's face it: Body shaming and size shaming in the dance world is pervasive and incredibly harmful. And while we know many wonderful teachers, studios and competitions have a zero-tolerance policy around any form of bullying, there are ways that dancers with non-traditional bodies can be made to feel unwelcome—even when no one says anything negative to them.

Akira Armstrong had already been in two (count 'em) Beyoncé videos when she started seeking an agent, yet she still got shade when she auditioned in L.A. In a video for The Scene, she talks about how judged she felt by commercial industry folks, before they said a word to her.

 

So Armstrong became the change she wanted to see, founding Pretty Big Movement as a company and educational resource for full-figured dancers. We think the slayage speaks for itself. #girlpower

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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 by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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