I misSU Danceworks!

I spent this past weekend at my alma mater, Syracuse University, screaming, reminiscing and missing the stage. I’ve anticipated seeing 2008 Danceworks, a student-run dance showcase, since my final bow last year. Marnie, my co-choreographer, and I spent two hours being razzled and dazzled by our old friends and fresh faces. Danceworks isn’t just some dance show. It’s one of the biggest clubs at SU and most widely attended performances. The audition process begins in September and the practices continue until the show in late February/early March.

Last year, Marnie and I picked our 18 dancers (12 girls and 6 guys) from the hundreds of students who auditioned. Tryouts can be vigorous and extremely competitive. But once the choreographers have selected their dancers, the creative juices start flowing and the bodies start moving. As choreographers, we chose and cut the music—a mix of Bodyrockers “I Like the Way” and Bob Sinclair’s “Rock This Party—created the lighting concept and styled the costumes. Our dance emulated a massive dance party at a nightclub, complete with vintage t-shirts, sassy partnering and even a fake “live DJ” on stage. I danced in three other numbers including Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Idioteque” and Britney Spear’s “(I Got that) Boom, Boom.” Because Danceworks dominated our lives last year, we’ve been counting down the days until we could participate in the show again—this time sitting on the other side of the curtain.

It was a bittersweet night for us. We had to hold each other back from running on stage and apologized numerous times for blowing the eardrums of the people in front of us. Overall, we were so proud of what the ’08 cast and choreographers accomplished. The satisfaction of knowing that we took chances on dancers who are now stars helped us let go. Legacies don’t necessarily graduate when you do. So for all those seniors (high school or college) whose final recital with your studio, dance team or theater troupe is approaching—know that when it’s over the beat goes on and you will too.

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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,

When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?


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Dear Katie
Via Twitter

Would that we could all live in Taylor Swift's Pride-topia, booty-popping with Todrick Hall and sharing snow cones with Adam Rippon in our rainbow-flag-bedecked RV park. But much as we're loving "You Need to Calm Down" and other similarly upbeat celebrations of Pride month, this is also a time to recognize the battles the members of the LGBTQIA+ community have fought—and are still fighting. That's one of the reasons why "I'm Gay," a new dance video by Eugene Lee Yang of The Try Guys, is so important.

The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.

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