Jasmine Harper with Neil Haskell on "So You Think You Can Dance." (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX, courtesy FOX)
Every year, our friends over at Dance Magazine select 25 standout dancers, choreographers, and companies for their "25 to Watch" feature. The list is always overflowing with talent, but this year's iteration was especially exciting—four of the featured dancers have graced the pages of DS at one point or another: former cover star Aran Bell, DS Cover Model Search semi-finalist Sophie Miklosovic, Jasmine Harper, and "You Should Know" alum Easton Payne. It was a totally full-circle moment to see each of them score a coveted spot on this list. Check out their profiles below (which originally appeared in Dance Magazine), and major congratulations to everyone else selected this year!
The Nutcracker has become an essential part of the holiday season—not to mention a part of most dancers' DNA. These days, the ballet is a beloved tradition, and the lifeblood of many dance companies, whose budgets depend on its reliably great ticket sales. But did you know that it was a flop when it first premiered in Russia? Or that George Balanchine himself once played Drosselmeyer on TV? Here's a timeline of the rich history of The Nutcracker.
Photo by Donna Ward, courtesy Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
On March 30, 1958, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, dancer Alvin Ailey and a group of African-American dancers performed onstage together for the first time. Since then, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the company Ailey formed, has become legendary in the dance world. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, Ailey has dubbed its annual City Center season "Ailey 60." From Nov. 28–Dec. 30 choreographers including Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang, and Rennie Harris will present premieres, alongside the works of current artistic director Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, and over two dozen pieces by Alvin Ailey himself. We asked a few of the company members to share what the anniversary means to them.
Dance Spiritis beyond excited to announce the first round of 2018 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability. The second round of winners will be featured in our January issue, so stay tuned.
Sky Brown and JT Church in the finale of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" (via @dancingabc on Instagram)
Last night was a Christmas miracle of epic proportions for one lucky couple on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" as they took home the Mirror Star Trophy. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Four couples competed for the title of champion and each and every performance was lit! With two routines—one holiday themed freestyle and one repeat dance from the season that included their mentors (plot twist!), these dance darlings battled it out on the dance floor. It was truly a night to remember as we enjoyed some of the best performances of the season that got us in the holiday spirit.
Josefina Scaglione as Maria (with Jeremy Jordan as Tony) in the 2008 Broadway revival of "West Side Story" (via @thelightsonbroadway on Instagram)
Every scrap of news coming from the highly-anticipated West Side Story remake has been nothing short of thrilling, tbh. First, there was the open casting call here in NYC for dancers to play the Jets and Sharks. Next, we heard the unsurprising-yet-awesome news that Justin Peck will choreograph the new movie. Now, there's possibly the most exciting news flash yet: You (yes, YOU) could play the star-making role of Maria opposite the dreamy Ansel Elgort as Tony!
Nia Sioux and her co-star from North Carolina Theatre's production of Aladdin and His Winter Wish (courtesy North Carolina Theatre)
Nia Sioux has been entertaining audiences with her fab dance skills since 2011, when "Dance Moms" first aired. Now, two music videos and an acting gig (on the daytime TV series "The Bold and the Beautiful"), later Sioux is proving that she's more than just a triple threat—she's a star. And last week when Sioux debuted in North Carolina Theatre's production of Aladdin and His Winter Wish, she was every bit that star. Sioux opened up to Dance Spirit about her transition from comp kid to a triple threat and offered advice for young dancers hoping to follow in her footsteps.
Sky Brown and JT Church perform the tango (via @dancingabc on Instagram)
We're nearing the end of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" and we're more than a little sad about that. But as the end of the competition nears, the dancing has been taken to the next level. The technique is pretty close to perfect and the performance quality from these little dance darlings is equal to that of the pros! We'll admit we're not jealous of the judges as they score these dance prodigies. It was hard enough to pick one stand-out performance of the night. These kids are talented dancers and the winner is anyone's guess at this point!
If you've ever seen Disney Channel's "Coop & Cami Ask the World," you know 13-year-old Ruby Rose Turner can bust a move. And having appeared on "Dancing with the Stars", we're certain Ruby has a lot more moves that are just waiting to be performed. So when we heard she released a dance video we lost our chill. Now the dancing machine wants to help you learn the moves to Ruby Rock.
The holidays are just around the corner and that means it's time to get your wish lists finalized. And while we have no doubt that stylish leos and cozy warm-ups will find their way onto your list, we think you'll want to consider adding some of these lit dance books to your holiday lineup, too. From revamped Nutcracker tales to biographies of your favorite dance stars, we've rounded up the latest and greatest books that every dancer will want to see in their stockings this season.
Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold performing their 1950's themed jive (via @dancingabc on Instagram)
This week on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" the five remaining couples showed off their dancing chops as they time traveled to different decades and performed the signature dance styles of each era. These little dancing machines covered everything from the Charleston of the roaring '20s to jazz from the '80s and learned a thing or two about history along the way. Mandla Morris and Brightyn Brems even performed a futuristic paso doble.
Photo by Eva Nys Photography, courtesy Yolanda Walmsley
When you hear Elliana Walmsley's name, your first thought is probably "Dance Moms," but that's far from the tween's only claim to fame. Since first appearing on Season 6 of the show, Elliana's won Youth America Grand Prix's Hope Award and starred in the off-Broadway musical Dance Divas Nutcracker. Most recently, she won the title of 2018 Mini Female Best Dancer at The Dance Awards—and started work on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" the following day.
Winning 2018 Mini Female Best Dancer was a dream come true. I used to watch the dance-offs and solos, thinking it would be so cool just to get to the improv round. But a teacher told me that it was out of my reach, that I'd never be able to do it. I never forgot that comment, and I'm so glad that I proved her wrong.
Of all the "Dancing with the Stars" finales, we're sure this one is bound to go down as one of the most surprising ones yet. And though only one couple was awarded the Mirrorball, we think everyone performed like champions last night! Improvement from all four stars was apparent. What was even better? The celebs were really enjoying themselves up there.
There's nothing like pint-size performers to remind us how much we have to be grateful for, and thanks to this week's performances on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors," we have a few more things to add to the list. The theme for this week was "Giving Thanks" and these young dancers embodied gratitude as they each dedicated their routine to people who have inspired them. The sweetest part about these dedications was watching the stars dedicate their dances to their families—we're all about showin' the love to your tribe, especially when you can show it on the dance floor.