Amar Ramasar (second from right) and some of Carousel's incredible ensemble men (Julieta Cervantes)

7 Broadway Ensemble Dancers Who Deserve Their Own Tony Awards

The Broadway community was #shook on Tuesday morning as "Smash" alums Leslie Odom Jr. and Katharine McPhee announced the 2018 Tony Award nominations. (We were so happy to see our friends from Mean Girls honored with 12 noms!) But—sadly—there's no Tony Award category for ensemble dancers. Which feels especially unfair right now because this season's dancers are, in a word, killer.

So we went ahead and chose 7 of 'em who deserve Tony Awards of their own. Ladies and gentlemen, our picks for 2018's Best Ensemble Dancers:


Ryan Steele of "Carousel"

RYAN! DESERVES! EVERYTHING!

Seriously, though, Ryan Steele is the real deal. Carousel is this star's fifth Broadway show, having just come off a run in the national tour of An American in Paris. TBH, Steele deserves a Tony Award for every single one of the iconic fouettés he did back in Newsies.

Oneika Phillips of "SpongeBob SquarePants"

The only thing better than Oneika Phillips' outrageous costume in SpongeBob is her incredible dancing. Seeing her break it down in a bright green wig and rainbow-colored costume is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ben Cook of "Mean Girls"

In case you couldn't tell, we LOVE Ben Cook. We really feel like we've watched him grow up, following him from Billy Elliot to Newsies to Tuck Everlasting. Now, he's absolutely slaying it each night in Mean Girls.

Samantha Farrow of "Escape to Margaritaville"

After touring the country in Wicked and Evita, Samantha Farrow—who's also a super-hardcore fitness instructor—is making her Broadway debut this season. And we're already obsessed with her next-level dancing.

Ricky Ubeda of "Carousel"

I mean, c'mon! How could we not include Ricky on this list? He went straight from winning over America on "So You Think You Can Dance" to slaying Broadway in On the Town, and his portrayal of Mistoffelees in the revival of Cats was the most twirl-tastic thing we've seen in years.

Afra Hines of "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical"

Hamilton, Shuffle Along, Motown, Soul Doctor, Ghost, In The Heights, Wicked: The fabulous Afra Hines is, to put it mildly, no stranger to the Broadway stage. She's won both Astaire and ACCA Awards for her past work—let's add a Tony to that list!

Corey John Snide of "Carousel"

From Broadway to Juilliard and back again! Corey John Snide made his Broadway debut in 13 the Musical as a pre-teen before enrolling at Juilliard. Since graduating, he's covering multiple tracks in the revival of Cats and now takes on the roles of swing and dance captain in Carousel. He's well on his way to taking over the Great White Way.

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All photos by Jayme Thornton. Wardrobe styling throughout by Chloë Chadá Van for The QUIRK Group.

Lizzo's Leading Ladies: Meet the Big Grrrls

Rising pop superstar Lizzo is changing the game in all kinds of ways. (A singer who also raps and plays the flute? You'd better believe it.) But she's become an especially important leader in the body-positivity revolution. And that emphasis on diversity and self-love extends to her fabulous group of backup dancers, known as The Big Grrrls.

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7 of the Best TikTok Dance Challenges to Learn While Stuck at Home

Right now, a lot of us are social-distancing. Which is a good thing for the community. But for dancers, being at home—read: not in the studio—can be especially tough.

Enter TikTok. The app is blowing up right now, with everyone from Hailey Bieber to LeBron James to former Bachelorette (and "Dancing with the Stars" champ) Hannah Brown making accounts to stave off the stir-craziness.

To get you started on your TikTok journey, Dance Spirit rounded up seven of the best dances for you to learn. And when you're ready to share the fruits of your TikTok labors, be sure to tag us @dancespiritmagazine—we'll repost some of our faves!

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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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