Five Things I Learned While Working at Dance Spirit
DS editor in chief Alison Feller (far left) and me at "So You Think You Can Dance" auditions in NYC.
Yesterday was my last day as a Dance Spirit editor. I'm so sad to be leaving my dream job, but I'm thrilled to welcome a darling baby ballerina into the world. So naturally, I've been thinking a lot about my time at DS.
When I began my DS internship four and a half years ago, I never could've imagined how much I would fall in love with dance and my favorite dance publication. At the time, I thought I knew a lot about dance—I'd grown up training in most styles and competing at competitions like New York City Dance Alliance, JUMP, Starpower, etc. Plus, I had a National Dance Alliance championship ring on my finger from my college dance team days.
Boy, was I wrong.
After four years of working at DS and attending countless amazing dance events in NYC and around the country (New York City Ballet at least 5 times a season—this job definitely has its perks!), I still don't know everything about dance (really, who does?). But, my eyes have been opened to styles and companies I never even dreamed of.
Without further ado, five things I learned at Dance Spirit:
1. If you have a dream job, go for it! My teenage self never would've dreamed that in 10 years I'd be living in NYC and writing for the magazine I obsessed over every month.
2. Don't be afraid to admit you don't know who a dancer/choreographer/producer is. This may be the best piece of professional advice DS editor in chief Alison Feller ever gave me. The dance world is extensive and there are always emerging choreographers and performers. If you pretend to know someone you actually know nothing about, chances are you'll end up looking ridiculous. Just say: "I'm not familiar—tell me about him/her." You'll learn so much!
3. If you think you're not a "modern" person, think again. You probably just haven't seen your kind of modern performance yet. The first time I saw KEIGWIN + COMPANY perform Megalopolis I flipped out I loved it so much. I couldn't wipe the goofy grin off my face for hours.
4. Dance can always be a part of your life, even if you stop performing. It's a strange transition to go from the stage to the audience, but it's also wonderful. Figuring out who your favorite ballerinas/tappers/Broadway performers are is so much fun! Go to dance events, watch dance videos and, of course, keep reading Dance Spirit!
5. No one's ever too old to love Dance Spirit. Technically DS is a teen magazine, but I know I'll continue to read it cover to cover for the rest of my life. It's such a fun, exciting tool to help you grow as a dancer and stay involved in the dance community.
Can you tell I love DS? Thank you for being such loyal readers!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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.
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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?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.