"World of Dance" judges (NBC)

7 Junior Dancers to Watch on "World of Dance"

Dancing kween Jennifer Lopez is preparing us for the second season of "World of Dance" by dropping an insane World of Dance promo that has her slaying the dance floor like we've never seen before. If America wasn't on the edge of their seats for the May 29th premiere they are now—wondering how the contestants of "World of Dance" could possibly outdo such a performance—but there's no doubt they will. This season's roster of dancers really takes the show's name to heart cause it's out of this world, with each dancer as ferociously talented as the rest! (We don't envy J. Lo's job of having to pick just one.) We've rounded up 7 young dancers you won't want to miss.


Madison Brown

Contemporary dancer from Wellington, Florida

You might recognize the contemporary queen Madison Brown from our April "You Should Know" feature. This dynamic dancer will blow your mind with her effortless extensions and jaw-dropping balances. Earning the title of National Junior Female Outstanding Dancer for the past two years, its clear that this dynamo is one to keep an eye on.


Eva Igo

Contemporary dancer from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

Eva Igo is back, having already won the junior division in "World of Dance's" inaugural season, this precise and emotive dancer already has an advantage. With the "WOD" live tour under her belt and additional mentoring from J.Lo and Derek Hough, Eva is bound to be even more spectacular than before, captivating viewers and possibly earning the title of "WOD" champion.


Ruby Castro

Ballroom dancer from Miami, Florida

Having already earned a spot as a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, Ruby Castro is no stranger to television dance. And though she's a versatile dancer with experience in everything from contemporary to lyrical, Ruby really shines in ballroom. Her fiery-fast footwork and feisty flair make her an undeniable force on the dance floor. Watch Ruby and her partner Jonas Terleckas as they put a fresh new flair on ballroom this season.


Kaycee Rice

Hip Hop Fusion from Los Angeles, California

Dance Spirit cover star Kaycee Rice is a dance darling we've had our eyes on for quite a while now. From performing at the Super Bowl to crazy cool class videos with WilldaBeast, Kaycee has an impressive dance resume that makes you think she's much older than 15. Quirky and creative, this fearless dancer isn't afraid to be herself, which is one of the things that makes her so much fun to watch. It's safe to say that Kaycee and her partner Sean Lew will be a formidable dancing duo on "WOD."


Sean Lew

Hip Hop Fusion from Los Angeles, California
Sean Lew has been turning heads with his sensational dancing since a video of him dancing a Miguel Zarate combination to Lady Gaga's 'Applause' went viral. He's appeared on multiple TV shows including 'Glee' and 'Kid's Choice Awards' has toured the US with "The Pulse." Known for attacking each and every move with both technique and charisma, this dancercharisme, the dancer is branching out and trying his hand at choreography. Audiences of 'WOD" will be in for a treat when Sean and Kaycee hit the floor.



Lucas Marinetto

Tap dancer from Leesburg, Virginia

As one of the few tappers on "WOD," 15-year-old Lucas Marinetto is already a standout among the junior division. Lucas is no stranger to dance competitions, having won titles on the comp circuit and even making it to the Academy on "So You Think You Can Dance" in 2016. We're curious to see how the talented tap dancer who's dabbling in hip hop will fuse his passion for such contrasting styles.


Kaeli Ware

Contemporary Ballet dancer from Herndon, Virginia

This ballerina babe has trained with some of the best ballet schools out there out there, including American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She's well known on the competition circuit and has even appeared in reality television show "Dance Moms." On top of dancing, she's signed with the world-famous Wilhelmina modeling agency. This elegant artist is a legend in the making and it will be exciting to see her take on a new challenge on "WOD."

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Photo by Lindsay Thomas

Ashton Edwards Is Breaking Down Gender Barriers in Ballet

When Ashton Edwards was 3 years old, the Edwards family went to see a holiday production of The Nutcracker in their hometown, Flint, MI.

For the young child, it was love at first sight.

"I saw a beautiful, black Clara," Ashton says, "and I wanted to be just like her."

Ashton has dedicated 14 years of ballet training in pursuit of that childhood dream. But all the technical prowess in the world can't help Ashton surmount the biggest hurdle—this aspiring dancer was assigned male at birth, and for the vast majority of boys and men, performing in pointe shoes hasn't been a career option. But Ashton Edwards, who uses the pronouns "he" and "they," says it's high time to break down ballet's gender barrier, and their teachers and mentors believe this passionate dancer is just the person to lead the charge.

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All the Hollywood and Broadway Musical Moments to Look for in “Schmigadoon!”

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of about two dozen dancers got the rare opportunity to work on an upcoming Apple TV+ series—one devoted entirely to celebrating, and spoofing, classic 1940s and '50s musicals from the Great White Way and Hollywood. "Schmigadoon!", which premiered on AppleTV+ July 16, stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, who get stuck inside a musical and must find true love in order to leave. The show features a star-studded Broadway cast, including Aaron Tveit, Ariana DeBose, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski and Dove Cameron, and is chock-full of dancing courtesy of series choreographer, Christopher Gattelli.

"The adrenaline was pretty exciting, being able to create during the pandemic," says Gattelli. "I felt like we were representing all performers at that point. There were so many who wanted to be working during the pandemic, so I really tried to embrace this opportunity for all of them."

Gattelli says it was a dream come true to pay tribute to the dance geniuses that preceded him, like Michael Kidd, Agnes de Mille, Onna White and Jerome Robbins, in his choreography. Each number shows off a "little dusting" of their work.

Dance Spirit spoke with Gattelli about all the triumphs and tribulations of choreographing in a pandemic, and got an inside look at specific homages to look out for.

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Shouldering the Load: What kind of dance bag should dancers use?

Walk into any dance convention, audition or class, and you'll see a vast variety of dance bags lining the walls. But can the style of bag you use (and how you wear it) have an impact on your dancing?

Don't worry—you won't have to shoulder the load alone. Dance Spirit spoke with two physical therapists who specialize in working with dancers to find out what dance bag is best.

What should dancers look for in a dance bag?

Dr. Meghan Gearhart, physical therapist and owner of Head2Toe Physical Therapy in Charlotte, NC, recommends dancers opt for a backpack-style dance bag rather than a duffel or cross-body bag.

"A bag that pulls the weight all to one side creates a side bend and rotation in the trunk," Gearhart says. "That is going to lead to muscle imbalances that will affect dancers while they're dancing, as well as just in regular everyday life." Muscle imbalances can mean limited mobility on one side of your body, as the muscles on one side are overly contracted and the other side is overly extended to compensate.

Gearhart suggests dancers pick a backpack made from a lightweight yet durable and breathable material, such as cotton, linen, nylon or polyester. Straps should be wide enough to not dig into your shoulder muscles, so avoid drawstring styles with rope straps. Adjustable and padded straps are best, so you can wear the straps at a length where the bag rests at the middle of your back.

Dr. Bridget Kelly Sinha, physical therapist and founder of Balanced Physical Therapy and Dance Wellness in Matthews, NC, emphasizes the importance of finding an even weight distribution when choosing a dance bag.

"If a dancer has a lot to bring, like when heading to the theater for a full day of rehearsals and performances, then I recommend a rolling suitcase to offset the load," Sinha says.

How should dancers wear their bags?

Even if you've selected the perfect dance bag, it's important to be mindful of how you wear it.

Gearhart advocates wearing both straps when carrying your backpack. She also suggests placing heavier items towards the back of the bag, where they will sit closer to your body. A bag with straps that are too loose (or a bag that is too heavy) can create an increased arch in the lower back or cause a dancer to compensate for the weight by leaning forward. Ideally, Gearhart recommends a dancer's dance bag weighing no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

"I usually tell dancers to use their common sense. If you don't have tap today, you don't need to bring the tap shoes," she says. "If your water bottle makes the bag too heavy, just carry it." If your studio offers lockers, take advantage of that storage space to lessen the number of clothes, shoes, and dance accessories that live in your dance bag.

And if you think your bad dance-bag habits have given you alignment issues, seek out a dance physical therapist to prevent further injuries.

"As a dancer, your body is working so hard all day," Sinha says. "It does not need excess strain from your bag."

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