December 2016 Table of Contents

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Kida the Great
As the first winner of "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," 14-year-old Kida Burns is skyrocketing toward stardom.

The Wide World of Contemporary Dance
Take a spin around the globe and get to know the companies expanding what contemporary dance means today.

C'mon, Get Happy
Why choreographers are exploring the lighter side of contemporary dance.

Ready, Set–Places!
Six pros share what they do precurtain to make sure they're at their best onstage.

Up Front: Buzz
Derek Hough talks "Hairspray Live!"

Up Front: The Dirt
The Joffrey Ballet's Nicole Ciapponi.

Letter to My Teenage Self
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Vernard J. Gilmore.

Dear Katie
Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions.

Choreographer's Collage
Where Annabelle Lopez Ochoa finds inspiration.

Diary
Rockette newbie Laura Jakowenko details her first performance on the Radio City stage.

Body Buzz
The surprising nutritional benefits of Nutcracker-inspired treats.

Health
Are you just run down, or suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome?

Fashion
Our 2016 holiday gift guide.

Style Lab
Stay cozy in chic sweaters.

Spotlight: Ballet
How to make your pointe shoes last all the way through Nutcracker season.

Spotlight: Competition
The toxic personalities you might encounter at comp—and how to handle them.

Get a Job
A glossary of must-know commercial career terms.

Future Star
Meet the first batch of our 2016 winners.

You Should Know
Old-school charmer Lior Melnikov.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

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Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

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Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


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