Destiny Rising, or Why College Is Awesome

Here at DS, there's nothing we like better than a good gala. Actually, scratch that: There's nothing we like better than a good gala for an especially great cause.

The New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted its fourth annual Destiny Rising show last night to benefit the organization's pretty incredible college scholarship program. We would've watched paint dry if we knew it'd help NYCDA's super-talented kids achieve their college dreams. But we were treated to a world-class show instead—hosted by Complexions co-founder and fabulous dancer-about-town Desmond Richardson, no less.

Here's the great thing about the Destiny Rising gala: Every year, it features performances not only by professional companies filled with college graduates, but also by college dance groups. Over the course of the evening, the show offers dance students different visions of their futures—and all of them involve higher ed.

Last night was no exception. Are you dreaming of joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? Southern Methodist University graduate Jamal White, now a member of  Ailey II, blazed through a powerful solo choreographed by Ailey II director Troy Powell. Hoping to keep performing innovative contemporary works in college? The Dean College Dancers showed that's definitely possible in Strange Invisible Perfume, a tribal-style showcase for its versatile performers. Obsessed with the ingenious dance-gymnastics blend of groups like Pilobolus Dance Theater? Alison Chase/Performance—led by Chase, a former Pilobolus director, and made up of very well-educated dancers—displayed superhuman feats of strength in Chase's Tsu-Ku-Tsu. Hoping to keep up your serious ballet training while you get a degree? The women of Mercyhurst University Ballet Theatre, who are doing just that, showed off strong pointe work in Terra Firma.

Long story short? Thanks to organizations like NYCDA Foundation, more and more talented dancers are choosing to go to college. And last night proved that that decision pretty much always pays off.

Dance News
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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 by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

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.

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Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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