Most of the remarkable videos Sia has made with dance muse Maddie Ziegler explore the singer's personal struggles. We've seen intimate, heart-rending portraits of Sia's battle with addiction and troubled relationship with her dad. But Sia's latest Maddie collaboration, the video for "The Greatest," transcends the personal: It's a tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Sia's own anger and sadness about the terrorist attack—which Maddie portrays so eloquently—become a moving expression of a larger community's fury.
"The Greatest" also includes some of Ryan Heffington's most compelling choreography yet. In addition to Maddie, the video features a cast of 49 young dancers—to mirror the 49 victims of the Orlando tragedy—who swarm and writhe and, finally, fall to the floor as if shot. (The group includes a lot of our favorites, by the way: Look for Larsen Thompson, Sean Lew, Kerrynton Jones and Stephanie Mincone in the grey-faced crowd.)
The cast of "The Greatest" (screenshot via YouTube)
Heffington's choreography has always made dancers seem like pots about to boil over, bubbling with barely-contained frustration. Here, that distinctive style feels especially apt. You'll probably recognize a few of the signature steps from his fun-crazy "Cheap Thrills" choreo, but they take on a totally different shading in this context.
(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.