From now on, we're not dancing unless a giant pair of Elton John-style sunglasses is involved. (Via ABC)

"DWTS" Week 3 Recap: A Trip to Tinseltown

Last night was Movie Night on "Dancing with the Stars," which marks the first themed night of the season! And boy, was it ever themed—but, of course, we totally loved it. The show began with a dazzling opening number from Kathryn Burns (of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" fame), and from there, the dancing couples went on to re-create a whole bunch of iconic movies, from Titanic to Saturday Night Fever.


Of course, it wouldn't really be Movie Night without a dramatic twist, and this one was major: After suffering a serious tendon injury, Ray Lewis was forced to leave the competition. We're going to miss Ray and his partner Cheryl Burke, but we loved seeing them in the ballroom last night, still supporting their fellow dancers.

The silver lining? Because of Ray and Cheryl's untimely departure, no couples were sent home last night, which meant we got to enjoy all of the amazing dancing unburdened. In case you missed it, we rounded up the episode's highlights.

Karamo Brown and Jenna Johnson: Jive

This was far and away our favorite dance from Karamo Brown thus far. We're not sure if it was the Elton John song, the amazing piano-themed tux, or just that high-octane nature of the jive itself, but Karamo finally brought the energy we've been looking for. The judges may have given Karamo and Jenna a total score of 16 out of 30, but he got bonus points in our book for making us smile.

Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov: Quickstep

We're calling it now: Kate Flannery is the one to watch. Week after week, she and pro Pasha Pashkov have wowed the judges (and everyone else) with totally textbook, technically impressive, personality-filled numbers. This week, the pair brought the house down with a Dolly Parton-inspired quickstep, giving Kate the chance to show off her elegant hold and tidy footwork—and a little bit of her comedic side. The judges gave Kate and Pasha a 24 out of 30, placing them at the top of the leaderboard.

Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Tango

Honestly, give us a classic Chmerkovskiy tango set to "Mamma Mia" any day of the week, and we'll be happy. But on top of that, Sailor Brinkley-Cook really brought it to the ballroom this week with her clean footwork and jaw-dropping high-kicks. The duo earned an impressive 23 out of 30.

What did you think? Who made movie magic?

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These Dance Comps and Conventions Are Coming to a Living Room Near You

While dancers all over the world are sharing the heartache of canceled classes, shows, and projects, our hearts hurt especially hard for a group of dancers we at Dance Spirit couldn't admire more: comp and convention kids. Determined to challenge your artistry and learn from cutting-edge faculty, you dancers normally brave crowded ballrooms and nonstop schedules all year long. But just because you might not be in one of those crowded ballrooms for a while doesn't mean that part of your dance life has to grind to a halt.

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Troy Ogilvie, who teaches dance improvisation classes in NYC (Franziska Strauss, courtesy Ogilvie)

Stay Creative with These 5 Improv Exercises You Can Do at Home

If social distancing has you feeling unusually restless right now (cabin fever is REAL), a good improvisation session could be the dance remedy you need. Improv, which is the simultaneous creation and performance of movement without any preparation, doesn't require a dance studio or stage. In fact, sometimes working in an unconventional space—like your own home—can prompt even more interesting movement. And when done right, improvising is seriously liberating.

"Improvisation can be uniquely healing if you give yourself time to listen to your body without judgement," says Troy Ogilvie, who teaches improvisation classes at renowned institutions like SpringboardX and Peridance in New York City. "It allows us to interact with our surroundings and emotions more directly."

Here are five improvisation exercises you can do at home to keep your body and mind moving.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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