Get Into The Groove: DS assistant/fashion editor Michael Anne Bailey dishes about the latest Madonna audition
One rainy day in September, I set out for NYC’s Broadway Dance Center to watch some of the city’s hottest performers audition for a shot to dance on Madonna’s next tour. The contest, a part of the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project, will conclude with a dance off (between the BDC live-audition finalist and 10 web finalists) at the project’s main event—a giant dance party!—in NYC on November 12.
As I turned onto 45th Street, dancers were lined up all the way down the block in front of the studio, some anxiously waiting to get inside, others busting a move for the camera crews. One girl with super-teased ‘80s curls and a cropped, sequined jacket went full-out, giving her best “Material Girl”-inspired freestyle. Upstairs, dancers were taken to a prescreening room where they were given one minute to improvise. Based on their performances, it was decided whether they would move forward and dance for Madonna’s head choreographers Rich and Tone Talauega (DS May/June 2011).
The first few dancers on the floor lacked energy and technique, leaving me wondering if I was in for a very long day. Then, in walked Hurricane. I chuckled as he introduced himself, but when the music began, energy exploded from every limb—he definitely lived up to his name. Hurricane’s flirty smile and out-of-this-world tricks bumped him to the top of my list and, as expected, he was sent directly to audition for Rich and Tone.
Though there were few like Hurricane, I was impressed by the performers who gave it their all—and those are the kinds of dancers we see tearing it up behind Madonna on tour. So at your next audition—whether it’s for Britney or The Nutcracker—don’t hold back!
(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?