"DWTS" Week 4: Disney Night

I have no greater weakness than old-school Disney, so for me, last night's "Dancing with the Stars" Disney theme was super important. Each couple's dance was inspired by an iconic character or movie (Tarzan to Mary Poppins to The Little Mermaid), and it was wild, to say the least. But enough nostalgia—time to talk about the dancing!

At this point in the competition, with a number of the weaker dancers having gone home, the talent becomes more apparent. There are several contenders for the Mirror Ball this season, which makes each week that much more intense. Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd's Tarzan-inspired Samba blew away the audience and judges (and OMG those costumes—I can't).

And we must talk about Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas' Toy Story dance to the *iconic* song, "You've Got A Friend In Me." It was the most nostalgic, adorable and wonderfully choreographed routine—and clearly an audience favorite. VanZant is especially on point with her athletic footwork, proving she has the dancing chops.

But every story must come to an end, and last night that story was Marla Maple's. Despite her solid performance with Tony Dovolani in a Little Mermaid-inspired waltz, she was sent home by the judges. Do you agree with this choice? Sound off in the comments and check back next week for our recap.

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(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 on their profile pages, 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.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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?

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Photo by Erin Baiano

Click here to vote for Emma.

There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "

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