Don't Mess with Boston (Ballet)

In a battle of East Coast vs. West Coast, who reigns supreme? For many Americans, the answer to this question came on February 1, when the New England Patriots (#teameast) defeated the Seattle Seahawks (#teamwest) in Superbowl XLIX. But the dancers among us were not so sure.

Earlier this week, we raved about Pacific Northwest Ballet's triumphant manège to Boston, the outcome of a Superbowl bet with Boston Ballet. PNB artistic director Peter Boal laid down the smack talk, claiming his dancers' superiority in all things feet, turns and jumps. He had us wondering: Is West Coast really the best coast? The plot thickens...

Bostonians are nothing if not tough (I mean, what other city could handle the crazy winter they've been having?), and Boston Ballet didn't let PNB have the last word. A handful of BB dancers filmed themselves dancing to same song (Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"). There's no smack talk and no fancy graphics. It's just one take of raw Bostonian awesomeness.

We're calling a tie here, folks. 'Tis the season of love, after all, and we LOVE BB and PNB.

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Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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