Five Things I Learned During My First Week at Dance Spirit

Me (on the left) with the DS Team!

On Tuesday morning, I cut my knuckles on a kitchen knife. My roommates and I just moved into our new apartment in the big city, and since we all like to cook, we thought it’d be fun to hang our fancy chef knives on the wall of our tiny kitchen. But as I held my two fingers, jumping up and down and trying to stifle a yelp, I realized how not fun that decorating idea was. After about thirty seconds of heavy sighing, I sucked it up, threw on a couple of Band-Aids, and walked out the door. There was no time for whining (or redecorating). It was time to go to my first day of work as assistant editor at Dance Spirit.

By the time I walked into the office, I had pretty much forgotten about the morning’s incident. Instead, I kept thinking to myself—Smile. Don’t trip. Don’t say something dumb! Getting a job at Dance Spirit was a dream come true, and I was not about to let the swarm of butterflies in my stomach ruin it for me!

It’s hard to believe that was less than a week ago. I may still have cuts on my fingers, but I’m glad to say those butterflies are gone, and I’m already starting to feel at home here at DS. More importantly, I’ve already learned A LOT.

So here it is—Five things I learned during my first week at Dance Spirit:

1. I have a lot to learn!

As a former subscriber to DS, I guess I never really considered how much work goes into producing this magazine. On the one hand, I’m terrified (I can do this right?). On the other, I’m excited. I get a behind the scenes look at how DS is made… every day!

2.  Work can be fun!

This is my first job out of college. I am so lucky to have my introduction to the “real world” occur in such a friendly, warm and fun environment!

3. The talent out there is ridiculous.

This week, I’ve had the pleasure of going through tons of YouTube videos of insanely talented young dancers. It makes me so happy to see the future looking so bright!

4. I love NYC.

Like I said, I just moved here. And as I sat in Lincoln Center watching New York City Ballet with associate editor Margaret Fuhrer on Thursday night, I knew that I was finally home.

5. Dance is so cool.

Okay, so I obviously already knew this. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be working here! But getting to spend every day surrounded by all things dance just reaffirms my love for this art.

Needless to say, “excited” is an understatement for how I feel about this new job!

Latest Posts

Trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey in his work Boys in Trouble (Keegan Marling, courtesy Sean Dorsey Dance)

8 Phenomenal Trans and GNC Dancers to Follow

Whether through color-specific costumes, classes separated by sex, or the "traditional" view of the roles boys and girls should play in ballet, most dance students are taught that their gender determines their role in the studio beginning in elementary school. And, especially for those struggling with their own gender identity, that can cause harm and confusion. "From a very young age, I did not see myself reflected anywhere in the modern dance field," says trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey. "There was a really intense message I received, which was that my body and identity don't have a place here."

Despite significant societal progress in regards to gender representation, the dance world has trailed behind, and many transgender and gender nonconforming teenagers still feel lost within the world of dance. Prominent trans and GNC professional dancers are few and far between. "Being a Black trans woman means I have to work extra, extra, extra hard, because I have to set the tone for the people who come after me," says Brielle "Tatianna" Rheames, a distinguished voguer.

But the rise of social platforms has given Rheames, Dorsey, and other trans and GNC dancers a path to visibility—and that visibility helps create community and change lives. "Social media plays an extremely big part," Rheames says. "You can't just hide us anymore." Here are eight incredible trans and GNC dancers to add to your own Instagram feed.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search