Divine Devine

Bon Jovi, Journey and STYX rocked the 1980s with a huge sound, poufy hair and leather jackets. Even if you weren’t born during the era of excess, you still probably know all the words to songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Since the decade is ripe with trademark style, it’s an easy pick for a jukebox musical (real pop songs strung together to create a narrative and score). One of the newest of the bunch is Rock of Ages about a legendary rock club in danger of closing. It hit off Broadway’s New World Stages in October and has been amping up the scene ever since. To get inside what makes
the heart of the show groove, DS chatted with choreographer Kelly Devine. —LK

 

DS: How did you prepare to tackle a decade as vivid as the 1980s?
KD: I did tons of research! Thankfully, you can find any song or clip on the internet now. Plus I grew up in L.A. in the ‘80s—we would go to Tower Records and you could make your own mix tape! So I used inspiration from my own experiences, too. And, in contrast to right now, when movement for R&B artists like Chris Brown is so intricate and slick— ‘80s movement was really big and I’m pulling from that super-high energy.

 

DS: What is the vibe of the dance numbers?
KD: There’s an athletic, sexy but tough number inspired by “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. Also there’s a huge ensemble number called “The Final Countdown.” It’s when the club may or may not be truly closing and it’s a really strong vibe.

 

DS: What will surprise us when we see the show?
KD: I think people will be surprised that this is not a spoof on the ‘80s. It definitely has humor, but it is a slice of life from that time instead of a joke about it, because it isn’t a joke to the people who lived it. For example, I’ve met Slash from the band Guns N’ Roses, and he really does wear a top hat, leather jacket and super-tight pants—all the time. This show is authentic. And awesome!

Latest Posts


Martha Graham Dance Company's Xin Ying (James Jin, courtesy Ying)

How to Dance Outside

We've all been stubbing our toes and whacking our elbows dancing in less-than-roomy indoor spots lately (hello, 5' x 8' patch of bathroom tile). If you're lucky enough to have access to a backyard or other big green space right now, you're probably itching to take your grand allegro outside, especially as the weather gets warmer. But how can you dance safely and productively in the great outdoors? We got pro tips from Mike Tyus of Jacob Jonas The Company and Xin Ying of Martha Graham Dance Company, both of whom were dancing outside long before COVID-19 hit.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search