If you've been dying to answer the phone with, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" all year, we've got a show for you! Elf, the Broadway musical, has returned to the Great White Way just in time for the holidays. Based on the hilarious Will Ferrell flick, Elf promises lots of laughs, holiday cheer and great dancing. We caught up with associate choreographer, dance captain and swing Callie Carter to learn a little more about being in Broadway's most joyful show of the year.
Dance Spirit: What's the dancing like in the show?
Callie Carter: There's quite a bit of dancing in Elf. "Sparkle Jolly" is a full-impact dance number that make me feels like I'm being shot out of a cannon! But my favorite piece in the show is "Just Like Him." It's a jazzy number where I get to let my hair down and have a lot of fun.
DS: Tell us about your role as associate choreographer.
CC: I got to help director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw put the show together. I would take the choreography Casey created and put it on the cast—cleaning it and making it flow. It was a lot of work, but it was really fulfilling to be part of the creative process.
DS: How do you keep your stamina up when performing multiple shows a week?
CC: I try to take yoga and Pilates classes every week. I'm very injury-prone, so I have to be conscious about staying strong and keeping myself fit. When I was on tour I would go to the gym a lot, but now that I'm in the city, there are more classes to choose from. I also frequent Body By Simone for killer cardio classes.
DS: Talk about being a swing in the show.
CC: Being a swing means I have to know all the tracks in the female ensemble and be ready to go on at any given moment for any one of them. It's a lot of work, and it's really scary going on for the first time in a new "track." But the great thing about it is that once you're finished with a show, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment because you got through it!
DS: What's your advice for DS readers who want to be on Broadway?
CC: Take voice lessons! So many dancers forget that when they come to NYC they're going to have to sing. If you can sing and dance, you're already way ahead of the pack. There's so much competition here and having an edge is really helpful. Sing all the time, and get used to singing in front of people.
Catch Carter in Elf through January 6 at the Hirschfeld Theater. Click here for tickets.
(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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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?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.