Major Yule Ball vibes from "Harry Potter" alumna Evanna Lynch and her pro partner Keo Motsepe (screenshot via YouTube)
Televised dance competitions are downright notorious for mercilessly manipulating the emotions of contestants and audiences alike. But there's perhaps no other reality-TV phenomenon with the tearjerking potential of the Most Memorable Year tradition on "DWTS." The always-emotional episode comes around super-early each season, letting us get to know intimate, often painfully sad details of each celeb's life, just moments before an unlucky couple gets eliminated. That's right: It's only Week 3, but here come the waterworks already.
Juan Pablo Di Pace & Cheryl Burke — 30/30
Di Pace's tears last night were definitely of joy, after deservedly netting the season's first perfect score for his red-hot samba alongside "DWTS" legend Cheryl Burke. It definitely didn't hurt that Di Pace's Most Memorable Year story—in which he left Argentina as a teen to pursue his dream of becoming an entertainer—really tugged at the heartstrings.
Milo Manheim & Witney Carson — 27/30
This adorable Disney kid stole everyone's hearts with what was possibly the most upbeat, joyful jive ever. With the help of pro Carson, Manheim was channeling the energy of this year, in which his first-ever movie was released and he graduated high school. Not bad at all, Milo—and we loved the backflip off the judges' table!
Evanna Lynch & Keo Motsepe — 27/30
Luna Lovegood gave Potterheads everywhere the Yule Ball vibes they were waiting for with this gentle waltz to "Hedwig's Theme" (or, as Motsepe called it, "the Harry Potter theme song"). 2006 was Lynch's most memorable year, as that's when she won the part of Luna in an open casting call, an achievement made all the more meaningful because HP and J. K. Rowling herself had offered hope and support to young Lynch as she battled an eating disorder.
"The Facts of Life" alumna Nancy McKeon was sent home along with pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy after an earnest, but disappointing, rumba that she dedicated to her husband and two daughters. Tinashe/Brandon Armstrong were also in jeopardy last night, but squeaked by in the end thanks to the 27/30 their rumba attained last night, as opposed to Nancy/Val's 22/30.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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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.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.