How Cute Are Our Cover Model Search Finalists?

It's finally time! You can vote right now for your favorite 2013 Cover Model Search finalist. Who do you want to see on the cover of our October issue?

I'm actually not jealous of you guys, because we've got an amazing lineup this year. Our last girls standing—Madi Hicks, Hayden Hopkins, and Alexa Luke—are all lovely, phenomenally talented ladies. They're also all blessed with some of the most fantabulous feet we've ever seen.

No, but seriously—not a biscuit in sight! (L to R: Madi Hicks, Hayden Hopkins and Alexa Luke. Photos by Nathan Sayers.)

You can read each girl's bio and watch their solo videos here, here and here. But you can also see the terrific three strut their stuff together in this behind-the-scenes video from the days they spent in NYC with Dance Spirit. (Warning: May cause cute overload and/or extreme talent envy.)

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Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

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In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a strong dancer, but I don't have a lot of flexibility. I stretch every day, but it feels like I'm getting nowhere. What can I do to get more flexible?

Meghan

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