Highlights of the 2013 New York City Dance Alliance Gala
On Saturday evening, Dance Spirit editor-in-chief Alison Feller and I attended one of our favorite summer dance events: The New York City Dance Alliance closing-night gala. It's always jam-packed with dance celebs (Oh hey, Jakob Karr!) and is never lacking for awe-inspiring talent.
Here are a few highlights from the night:
The Rockettes opened the show with an instrumental version of Shine (one of my favorite numbers from the Radio CityChristmas Spectacular!). They wore gorgeous silver dresses that had the NYC skyline across the bust—I was in love. And the crowd went nuts when they showed off their perfect kickline.
The NYCDA Foundation and multiple colleges and universities from across the country awarded high school juniors and seniors 3.4 million dollars in college scholarships. That's right, folks—3.4 MILLION! Lives were changed.
Kolton Krouse, the 2012 National Teen Male Outstanding Dancer, and Alexia Meyer, the 2012 National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer, danced two of the best solos (their farewells) I've ever seen. I'm not kidding—as soon as they finished the entire audience jumped to its feet in applause. I can't wait to see what they do next.
Three of the Top 5 senior female dancers were former/present DS Cover Model Search finalists! Last year's CMS winner Megan Skalla was fourth runner-up, 2013 CMS finalist Madi Hicks was third runner-up and 2012 CMS finalist Alyssa Ness was crowned the 2013 National Female Outstanding Dancer! We couldn't have been more proud of all three.
(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?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "