We caught up with dancing social media standouts who know how to self-promote, develop a presence, and share their experiences without letting the platforms take over their lives. Here's what they have to say about being wise social media mavens.
Cat Cogliandro's genius is turning paradoxes into powerful art. In her gestural contemporary choreography, vulnerability becomes strength and imperfection is beauty. Born and raised in Houston, TX, Cogliandro earned a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase before moving to L.A. Cogliandro now teaches in L.A. and nationally, and choreographs for her company CATASTROPHE!, which was the second runner-up at the 2015 Capezio A.C.E. Awards. Here, Cogliandro tells DS where she finds inspiration. —Helen Rolfe
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.
It's pretty much undeniable that today's social-media-obsessed culture expects you to build your brand online—even as you're still building your skills in the studio. The positives of gaining exposure as a student are obvious, and posting your dance accomplishments may feel natural if you're already personally prolific on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Hope Boykin shares the best tips she learned. (via Instagram, @hbdance)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater recently hosted their first Choreography Unlocked Festival, where artists in the business of creating dance gathered to immerse themselves in workshops, performances, and panel discussions. Young choreographers learned tips, tricks, and all about the creative process of choreographing from Ailey's Artistic Director Robert Battle and other choreography experts, including Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Walnut Hill School for the Arts students (photo by Liza Voll, courtesy Walnut Hill School for the Arts)
For some high school students, the thrill of dancing away from home doesn't end when the summer is over. In fact, those who attend residential performing arts high schools live in dorms, work with esteemed guest artists and faculty, and spend half of every school day in a dance studio—from September to May. Offering a true conservatory experience, these schools can transform your technique and provide unique performing and choreographic opportunities.
As dancers, we're a group of super-passionate people. And because of that, we can sometimes snap when people judge us unfairly or do something we just can't stand. Here are 10 things that make all dancers really angry.
Contemporary dancer Chantel Aguirre's powerful presence and regal, fluid movement can enchant audiences in seconds—and have helped make her a commercial-world icon. The Santa Cruz, CA, native started dancing at age 2 at her mother's studio, Ballet Repertoire Theatre. When she was a freshman in high school, she enrolled at the San Francisco Ballet School while also competing with the Dance Company of San Francisco. Since then, she's worked with artists including Taylor Swift, Christina Perri, Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, and Adele, and with companies including Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Justin Giles' SoulEscape, Billy Bell's Lunge Dance Collective, and Stacey Tookey's Still Motion. Currently, you can catch her touring with Travis Wall's Shaping Sound and teaching at NUVO.—Courtney Bowers
For contemporary dancer Jaxon Willard, having over 57,000 followers on Instagram comes with the territory of being a top contestant on "World of Dance" last season. The 17-year-old American Fork, UT, native watched as tons of fans flooded his account after his first national TV appearance—people around the world connected with Jaxon's emotional and super-vulnerable performance expressing his feelings about being adopted. But what's it really like to become an Instagram sensation overnight? And how is Jaxon's life different now? Here, he tells his social media story. —Courtney Bowers
Spirit of America Dance Star dancer Liliann DeVos (far right) on her way to the perform in the parade (courtesy DeVos)
Nothing kicks off the holiday season quite like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. From boppin' elves to singing Christmas trees, the parade is one to watch—and definitely one to dance in. Every year, the famed Spirit of America Dance Star team performance gathers tons of dancers from high schools and studios from across the country. So what was it really like to dance in the parade last Thursday? We caught up with Spirit of America dancer Liliann DeVos to hear how the day big day went, and what she had to do to prepare. Liliann is a 17-year-old dancer from Frisco, TX, who serves as the captain of the Wakeland High School Legacy Line and is a member of the Next Step Dance Senior Drill Company. Read on for the deets!
Natalie Reid's precise technique and bubbly personality have earned her veteran status with the Radio City Rockettes—this is her eighth season! A Seattle, WA, native, Reid attended Chapman University, majoring in public relations and advertising. While in school, she also trained with Mandy Moore and at Edge Performing Arts Center. She's danced with companies including Justin Giles' SoulEscape, Anaheim Ballet, and Odyssey Dance Theatre, and she joined the Rockettes in 2011. Catch her on the Radio City stage this season—and read on for The Dirt! —Courtney Bowers
Kent Stowell's snow scene for Pacific Northwest Ballet (by Angela Sterling, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Nutcracker season is upon us, guys, and the time has come for never-ending rehearsals and like 10 shows a day. So sure, there's a lot of emphasis on all the negative aspects of performing in the show and how to survive this nutty season, but let's be real: There's also a ton of REALLY fun things about this holiday classic. Like getting to dance in the most dreamy costumes you can imagine. Here are the 7 absolute best parts of dancing in a production of The Nutcracker.
Mikaela Kelly (left) and Jordan Pelliteri (right) (photos by Kenneth Edwards and Ed Flores, courtesy Kelly and Pelliteri)
Two young American dancers, Mikaela Kelly and Jordan Pelliteri (a former DS Cover Model Search finalist!), recently landed their dream jobs with the prestigious second company NDT 2, of Nederlands Dans Theater. So they packed up and headed abroad, ditching NYC subway trains for bicycles in The Hague, Netherlands.
Dancing abroad becomes about so much more than just working (although these girls work 13-hour days most of the time). It's also about traveling, being homesick, dealing with unexpected cultural differences, and potential language barriers. So, what's it really like to dance in Europe? We caught up with the pair to find out.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you're enjoying this wonderful day of feasting. In the spirit of the holiday, we thought we'd reflect on the dance things we're grateful for this year. Here are our editors' top picks.
It's finally Thanksgiving and us dancers truly have so much to be thankful for! But we're not just talking about all that sentimental, predictable stuff like families and friends. I mean, don't get us wrong, family and friends are great and all, and really deserving of gratefulness, but tbh, so are naps. And bobby pins. And protein bars. Yep, we went there. Here's a list of 10 things dancers can't help but be thankful for because without them we'd literally be nothing.