Elf on Broadway

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with the beloved Buddy the Elf?

 

Well, give your DVD player a rest, because now you can catch Buddy and his pals on Broadway! I checked out the show last week and I'm happy to report back saying I loved it.

 

I went into the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in NYC feeling a bit skeptical. How could someone ever recreate the iconic character, so brilliantly portrayed in the film by love-of-my-life Will Ferrell? I was nervous the lead actor, Sebastian Arcelus, wouldn't be able to pull it off.

 

Verdict: He was awesome! The thing I liked about his portrayal of Buddy was that, while he held onto many of the same mannerisms as the original Ferrell character, he made Buddy his own.

 

Amy Spanger took on the role of Jovie, Buddy's love interest, and though admittedly she's not my favorite Broadway gal (shout out to Savannah Wise!), she was pretty hilarious playing the deadpan, sarcastic Macy's employee.

 

The dancing, choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, was fun, lively and super-energetic. It reminded me a bit of the playful moves from Shrek The Musical. Lots of high kicking, twirling, partnering and jumping. Bravo to the dancers! Their energy was incredible.

 

Overall, the show was entertaining and pretty hilarious. There were some great original lines that you won't know from the movie and (spoiler alert!) the show's ending is quite magical. Hint: it involves snow.

 

Click here to read more about Elf on Broadway!

(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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