Dancer to Dancer

Hollywood's Favorite Tap Duo, Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr, Talk Dance Role Models and Embarrassing Moments Onstage

(From left) Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr in Postmodern Jukebox's "Sunday Morning" video (via Youtube)

Tap duo Kelsey McCowan and Caley Carr have been blowing up Hollywood with their classic, sophisticated tap moves. McCowan recorded the tap sounds for the film La La Land, choreographed all of Derek Hough's recent tap performances (one of which was nominated for an Emmy), and privately coached Bette Midler for her Tony Award–winning performance in Hello, Dolly! Recently, they've both been coaching actor Jeremy Piven of Entourage fame. McCowan and Carr first met on a dance gig. Six months later, they were officially dating; now, four years later, they're about to get married—on the very stage they first performed on together. Read on for The Dirt!

What's your favorite dance movie?

Kelsey: Singin' in the Rain

Caley: Billy Elliot

What's the most-played song on your playlist?

Kelsey: Right now, it's "On The Sunny Side of the Street," by Steve Tyrell.

Caley: "Tighten Up," by Archie Bell & the Drells

Who's your dance role model, and why?

Kelsey: Keone and Mari. I think they are two of the most gifted dancers/choreographers of our generation.

Caley: Bob Carroll. He always knew how to make people smile, on- and offstage.

What makes you nervous?

Kelsey: I'm a complete hypochondriac and always get nervous about activities I can get injured doing.

Caley: Kelsey getting injured doing activities.

What's your advice for young performers?

Kelsey: Don't "Dance like nobody is watching." I say, "Dance like it's your last time and EVERYONE is watching!"

Caley: Always have fun when you're dancing. It's my escape and my favorite way to explain how I'm feeling.

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?

Kelsey: During our Halloween show "Tapworx" at Universal Studios, I was supposed to transform into a vampire midway through. I had 15 seconds to put my two molded vampire teeth in. I couldn't get one of the teeth to stick, so when I was unveiled, I had one tooth that fell out on the floor right in front of the audience.

Caley: Dancing in the 4th of July parade in Huntington Beach in a sailor suit. I was flipping off of this WW II–era Jeep and my pants ripped right in the crotch. I had to use a little American flag to cover myself.

What are your pet peeves?

Kelsey: When I hear people say "Tap dance is a dying art form."

Caley: People showing me the couple tap steps they remember from when they were kids; all the while I'm performing.

If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?

Kelsey: Gene Kelly, Hermes Pan, or Gregory Hines.

Caley: [arrow up to Kelsey's answer]

What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Caley: Kiss Kelsey!

Kelsey: [arrow up to Caley's answer] He thinks he's cute.

What's the strangest thing in your dance bag?

Kelsey: A screwdriver

Caley: Chopsticks

What's one food you can't live without?

Kelsey: My veggie pot pie.

Caley: [arrow up to Kelsey's answer] Her veggie pot pie. So good!

What's something no one knows about you?

Kelsey: I've been a vegetarian my entire life and have never eaten meat before.

Caley: My first name is John. So, my name is John Caley-Ryan Carr. I know, crazy town.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Kelsey: A dancer

Caley: An astronaut. Just like Tom Hanks.

What non-dance thing would you consider yourself an expert at?

Kelsey: I don't know about "expert," but I would say either makeup or doing vintage hairstyles.

Caley: Shaving…with my straight razor. Old-school barber style.

What dance item can you not live without?

Kelsey: Our mini tripod to film on our Iphones.

Caley: My foam roller. An every-night must!

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Kelsey: Pastries, chocolate, and anything breakfast-related.

Caley: Pastries, bowls of cereal, night surfing off Huntington Beach pier, PB&J's, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

Who's your dance crush?

Kelsey: Hands down Gene Kelly.

Caley: Jason Janas…don't tell Kelsey.

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

Kelsey: To be able to read minds or go back in time.

Caley: Able to fly and able to breath underwater.

What performer would you drop everything to go see?

Kelsey: Anthony Morigerato.

Caley: Jared Grimes, Sam Weber, and every tapper who inspires me.

What's your biggest fear?

Kelsey: Deep, murky water.

Caley: Spiders, people with sweaty hands, friends showing you videos they think are funny but aren't.

What's your go-to stress reliever?

Kelsey: Watching Bob Ross videos.

Caley: Getting in the ocean or jumping on my fixie (a track bike with no brakes).

Where do you feel happiest?

Kelsey: At home with my cats…and Caley.

Caley: In the studio/in the ocean.

What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Kelsey: I actually watch YouTube makeup tutorials. They're very soothing and put me to sleep.

Caley: Kiss Kelsey!

What's your most-watched TV show?

Kelsey: "Breaking Bad" or "House of Cards."

Caley: I love my cartoons. "Family Guy," "Simpsons," "Futurama"—anything like that. I also have been loving "Game of Thrones."

Who would play you in a movie?

Kelsey: Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones."

Caley: Jeremy Piven…will need to get him a mustache.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Kelsey: I love cooking and secretly wish I owned a vegetarian restaurant.

Caley: I can knock down some cool flips/break-dance a bit.

Do you have any pets?

We have four pets—three cats named "Mommy," "Alfie," and "Little Miss." We also have a betta fish named Finn. P.S. They're all rescues! Even the betta!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Kelsey: Venice

Caley: Nicaragua—I hear the surf has been super-good the last couple of days. After surf time, Sweeden.

Do you have any nicknames?

Kelsey: Kelser, Toots, Green Eyes

Caley: The name Caley for a guy doesn't need a nickname.

What would you be if you weren't a dancer?

Kelsey: A professional makeup artist.

Caley: Sad or a barber.

A version of this story appeared in the December 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Kelsey McCowan & Caley Carr."

Show Comments ()

Summer dance camp season will be here before you know it and you might be starting to wonder what you need to pack in your bag. Don't stress, we have 5 of the top must haves for camp this summer!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
n RWS Entertainment Group Audition (courtesy RWS Entertainment Group)

Figuring out how to avoid getting cut in a musical theater audition can feel like a mystery. "It's not just about your technique, it's about the whole package of the person," says Justin Bohon, a casting director at Binder Casting, whose clients include The Lion King on Broadway. But how do you present yourself in the best way possible, and avoid making a faux pas that distracts from what's most important—your dancing? Bohon and three other casting directors gave us the scoop on their biggest audition pet peeves.

Keep reading... Show less

We caught up with former Rockette Trina Simon at Showstopper's Myrtle Beach dance convention to get her expert advice on how to work as a professional dancer. Trina's work on Broadway has given her insight into the key things to focus on as a professional dancer looking for jobs and making a name for yourself, whether you are new to the world of professional dance or you have been making your way from one audition to the next for a while.

Keep reading... Show less

Where to begin?! We're still picking our jaw up off the floor after last night's insanely impressive "World of Dance" episode, one that was so jam-packed with standout performances and familiar faces, we don't even know how to recap it in all its glory! (!!!) Without further ado, here's what went down last night:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Including SpongeBob SquarePants! (Joan Marcus, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

Every good trip to NYC should include a Broadway show (or three!), and there are a TON of brilliantly dancy musicals to see right now. But Bway tix can be expensive, especially on a dancer's budget. Which is why we are allll about Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual event that brings some of the greatest stuff happening on the Great White Way to the great outdoors—for free.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

Christopher Wheeldon is going to be giving Michael Jackson some new moves: The Royal Ballet artistic associate is bringing the King of Pop to Broadway.

The unlikely pairing was announced today by Jackson's estate. Wheeldon will serve as both director and choreographer for the new musical inspired by Michael Jackson's life, which is aiming for a 2020 Broadway opening. This will be Wheeldon's second time directing and choreographing, following 2015's Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Via Instagram

Ballerina Sara Michelle Murawski and her looooooong legs have taken to the streets. And the grocery store. And the subway. And the Brooklyn Bridge. The reason for her epic journey: A new Insta account, @danceinthebigapple, featuring Murawski and her "ballet twin," Saverio Pescucci, as they dance their way through NYC.

Keep reading... Show less


Want to Be on Our Cover?





Get Dance Spirit in your inbox