In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
Even after a big growth spurt last year, I'm still barely 5 feet tall. I hate being short! My arms and legs look so stumpy. Is there any hope for me in the professional dance world?
I'm guessing you know the names Maria Kochetkova, Alina Cojocaru and Iana Salenko, right? All three of them are gorgeous, successful professional dancers—and all three of them are tiny! But they don't let their height limit them. They dance tall, moving expansively and projecting upwards and outwards.
Use them as your inspiration. Make everything bigger, all the time. Stretch your limbs to the fullest. Instead of breaking your wrists or winging too much at your ankles, focus on creating continuous lines, which will help your arms and legs look longer.
Practically speaking, being shorter isn't a bad thing. Sometimes it's even an advantage. Finding a partner, for example, will never be an issue for you. And you're probably great at lightning-speed choreography—the smaller you are, the easier it is to move quickly. There's definitely hope for you in the dance world!
(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.
We also want you to
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.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?