You know the saying, less is more? Well, sometimes, more is more—and that's most certainly the case when it comes my new favorite hip-hop crew, Cookies Dance Team (aka Choreo Cookies). With 32 members and counting, this crew doesn't just perform dances—they create all-out productions. (We can't really be surprised: Keone Madrid co-directs the crew with Carlo Darang—and his wife Mari is a company member.)
Pulling off a successful hip-hop routine with so many dancers is certainly a feat. Think about it: It takes rehearsal after rehearsal to polish the seemingly endless line of uniform arabesques in La Bayadère. But at least every member of the corps de ballet is already intimately familiar with the basic step. Hip hop, on the other hand, isn't a codified style—there's no guarantee a dancer will have a pre-established relationship with any particular movement. Dancers essentially have to start from scratch every time they learn new choreography.
In other words: Clean, massive hip-hop group routines are SO IMPRESSIVE. (Remember The Company's VIBE XIX 2014 performance??) And that's just what you get with Cookies. Take a look at one of their pieces, "The Silent Cookie." It rolls hip hop, musical theater and silent film into one wildly entertaining routine that took home first place at Body Rock this summer. Check it out, and then scroll through their other YouTube videos. (Warning: You may lose several hours of your Friday, but it'll be totally worth it.)
(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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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer