Imagine this scenario: You get a text from a friend just as you're heading into ballet class, and have to answer as quickly as possible. Now, if you were heading into a juggling class, or water polo match, or fencing practice, you'd be able to send a quick emoji in response. But alas, you're forced to type out a full sentence. Because, to the ballet world's collective frustration, There. Is. No. Ballet. Emoji. Until now...
According to Emojipedia, the site for all things emoji-related, a ballet shoe emoji is slated to come out later this year (the exact date hasn't been announced yet) as part of Emoji Version 12.0. The proposal came from Australia-based tech company manager and ballet fan Rüdiger Landmann. Landmann proposed three separate ballet emojis: a ballerina, a male ballet dancer and a pair of pointe shoes. Only the pointe shoe emoji was approved, and we'll be honest, it doesn't look like any pointe shoe we've ever seen. It's more like a pink loafer with ribbons attached. But we're trying not to complain, as this is definitely a (wobbly, given the shape of that shoe) step in the right direction.
At the tender age of 9, Destiny Wimpye moved cross-country with her mom so she could train at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. The leap of faith paid off: Destiny's spent summers training at the School of American Ballet, the Ailey School, and Pacific Northwest Ballet; performed for Michelle Obama at the White House; and danced beside Mariah Carey in a TV special for Disney. Now she's a full-time student at the Colburn Dance Academy under the direction of former New York City Ballet principals Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, and it seems fated that Destiny will one day dance her dream role, Dewdrop in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. "I'm a jumper and a turner," Destiny says, "so I think it fits me pretty well."
The classic Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate dazzled audiences when it first opened on The Great White Way in 1948. It went on to win the very first Tony Award for Best Musical, and it's seen London and NYC revivals almost every decade since. Tomorrow (Valentine's Day!), previews begin for its latest Broadway revival, this time by Roundabout Theatre Company. The high-energy romantic comedy based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew features iconic tunes, including "Too Darn Hot," "So In Love," and "Another Op'nin, Another Show," and the revival will star Broadway veteran Kelli O'Hara as Kate/Lilli Vanessi, Will Chase as Petruchio/Fred Graham, and Corbin Bleu as Lucentio/Bill Calhoun. There will also be brand-new choreography by Warren Carlyle. Dance Spirit got the inside scoop on the production from dancer Christine Cornish Smith, who will also be understudying the role of Lois Lane/Bianca.
It's no longer just Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and the few pointe-clad male character parts, like in Cinderella or Alexei Ratmansky's The Bright Stream. Some male dancers are starting to experiment with pointe shoes to strengthen their feet or expand their artistry. Michelle Dorrance even challenged the men in her cast at American Ballet Theatre to perform on pointe last season (although only Tyler Maloney ended up actually doing it onstage).
The one problem? Pointe shoes have traditionally only been designed for women. Until now.
When we asked what her proudest accomplishment so far is, Kiarra Waidelich paused for a moment. That's because she has so many to choose from: In the past two years, Kiarra's earned Mini and Junior Female Best Dancer at The Dance Awards, snagged Youth America Grand Prix's Hope Award, and made it to the divisional finals on Season 2 of "World of Dance." Equally gifted in ballet ("I love the mental and physical challenge") and contemporary, it's the latter that made Kiarra realize dance was her passion. "If something bad or stressful happens in my day, I use contemporary as a way to express and release what I'm feeling," she says. "Dance is a way for me to emote and let things go."
When American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt's phone lit up with a message from Julian MacKay last summer, she never could have imagined the journey it would set her on. Brandt barely knew the Mikhailovsky Ballet soloist—they'd met briefly in St. Petersburg a few months earlier—but he wrote that he had a project he thought she'd be perfect for. Brandt was flattered, but assumed she'd be unavailable. She'd just come off an eight-week season with ABT and was in Los Angeles finishing up a tour. But MacKay was insistent. The next morning, Brandt was brushing her teeth when his sister, Maria Sascha Khan, called. "She explained that Julian was in Paris rehearsing for a Russian TV show called 'Big Ballet' and his partner had gotten injured. She asked if I could come to Paris immediately, as the show started filming in Moscow in one week."
Colorado Ballet Studio Company dancer Robbie Downey has had her website, robbiedowney.com, for 10 years—nearly half her life. It's changed through the years, but in that time, she's relied on it to help secure auditions, network within the dance community, and find her own voice as a young performer at the start of her professional journey.
It's easy to see why having a website is a good idea for any dancer hoping to go pro. At the most basic, "it's a marketing tool," says Andrea Jasper, founder of the creative design and management company Urbane Collective, who has created sites for dancers including Kaelynn "Kay Kay" Harris and Will "WilldaBeast" Adams. Jasper likens a website to a business card—it's a way for casting directors, dance companies, and agents to get an idea of who you are and what you're capable of.
But even if you're not ready to go pro, a website is still a good idea. It's a great way to compile and prepare information that will eventually be a part of college applications, for one. It's also a way to steadily build and fine-tune your portfolio and learn how to market yourself for any career—even one outside of the dance world. Whatever your goals, building your own website can be a valuable experience.
It's game day, dancers! We're talking, of course, about the Super Bowl—but maybe more importantly, about the always hilarious and thought-provoking commercials that air in between all the, um, sportsball. (Sorry, not a football person!) This year, it looks like we'll be blessed with at least three ad spots highlighting dance. Without any further ado, here's all the best dance going down later today during the commercial "breaks." (As if we'd take a break from watching, PLEASE.)
To say it's been a great few weeks for dance movies is an understatement—we found out mere days ago that "Driven to Dance," starring Juliet Doherty, was streaming on Netflix. And now, in what can only be described as the single best way to start the weekend, "I Dream of Dance" is streaming on Netflix.
Get Dance Spirit in your inbox
We all emitted a collective groan when the phrase "Previously Recorded" appeared during the first seconds of Fox's "Rent: Live" broadcast last night. Yup: After cast member Brennin Hunt, playing Roger, injured his foot, the network was forced to air their recording of the dress rehearsal. (Apparently understudies aren't a thing in the world of the live television musical??) #RentNotLive and #RentKindaLive immediately started trending.
But while the recording may have lacked some of the electric energy that comes from live performance (and suffered from some weird sound issues), it still showed us the full genius of Sonya Tayeh's choreo, as performed by a thoroughly fabulous cast of dancers.
Hi there, fans of the Ballerina Project (so, all of you). Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
The bad? We were afraid of that. OK:
The Ballerina Project—an 18-year labor of love by photographer Dane Shitagi, featuring images of gorgeous dancers in striking settings—is coming to an end.
The good? Many of those stunning images will be featured in a Ballerina Project book, set for release in the fall of 2019.
Every January, students, parents, professionals, and lovers of dance all gather for the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation's annual fundraising performance "Destiny Rising" at The Joyce Theater. And every year we fall a little bit more in love with the foundation's mission: "Investing in the next generation of professional performers by offering scholarships for secondary and college education." Since its founding in 2010, the foundation has awarded over 2.5 million dollars in scholarships. Because of the program (and its uber-generous donors), kids across the country literally get to attend college and pursue their dance dreams. What could be better than that?! Not much...
Are you a college student curious about what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite magazine? You're in luck—because Dance Spirit is searching for an editorial intern for summer 2019!
We'll be accepting applications through March 1. Internships pay an hourly stipend and require a minimum two-day-a-week, onsite commitment in our NYC office from June to August. (We do not provide assistance securing housing.)
If you're interested, please send a cover letter, resumé and two writing samples to Margaret Fuhrer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put "Summer Internship Application" in the subject line. All attachments must be formatted as PDFs.
We will interview selected candidates in March in person or by phone, and let candidates know by mid-April if they have been chosen. Please note that we do not accept high school students, or any students under 18, and that we give preference to college juniors and seniors.
We can't wait to meet you!