Fun fact: According to several sources, Chance the Rapper has seen The Lion King on Broadway like 20 times. Adorbz.
If you haven't already heard about the Chi-Town native, chances are, you will soon. (See what I did there?) He's been making major waves on the music scene ever since the 2013 release of his double platinum mix tape Acid Rap. There's a lot you can say about Chance—his lyrics are smart (while not always PC), his musicality is on point, his taste is eclectic—but the most striking thing about him is his appetite for working with other artists within the music world and beyond.
Case in point: In addition to his solo work, Chance is a member of a group called The Social Experiment, which includes trumpet aficionado Nico Segal, aka Donnie Trumpet. Last month, the crew released a short film featuring the song "Sunday Candy," directed by Chance, Austin Vesely and a guy by the name of Ian Eastwood. That's right—the PULSE on Tour idol, hip-hop video expert, Dance Spirit 2014 Hot Young Choreographer, soon-to-be movie star, Ian Eastwood.
That's Eastwood boogying with Chance the Rapper. Casual.
Naturally, Eastwood also served as head choreographer and dancer for the project. And we we were thrilled to see this multifaceted dance maker show off yet another side of his creative brain. You see, Chance wanted the production to be heavily theatrical. (Apparently he was inspired by long hours spent in The Lion King audience...) Eastwood expertly molded his characteristic old school swag into fast-paced, joyful, sweet-as-candy, bop-your-socks-off choreo that brought us straight back to the 1950s. Pair that with Chance's ever-clever lyrics and a gospel-inspired track, and you're guaranteed to smile like a goof for the entire three-minute-fifty-second video. Enjoy!
In our "Dear Katie" series, MCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I'm 14 and have been studying ballet seriously for about three years. Even though I feel ready,my teachers haven't put me on pointe yet. Am I doing something wrong? Should I ask them about it, or is it pointe-less?
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Samantha Figgins (Andrew Eccles)
Samantha Figgins is currently in her fifth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (and was a Dance Spirit cover girl back in 2013!). But what many people don't know is that the gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. Now, after getting her first pair of hearing aids, she opens up about her path to success. —(As told to Courtney Celeste Spears)
Sara Esty as Maggie in "A Chorus Line" (courtesy Esty)
Sara Esty's ethereal grace and sophisticated charm have won over ballet and Broadway audiences alike. The bunhead-turned-Broadway-baby began training near her hometown in Gorham, ME, at the Maine State Ballet's School for the Performing Arts (with her equally fabulous twin sister, Leigh-Ann). She enrolled full-time at the Miami City Ballet School in 2004, and joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2005. In 2006, Esty won the Princess Grace Award, and she was promoted to soloist at MCB in 2011. After leaving MCB in 2014, she made her Broadway debut in An American in Parisas the understudy for Lise, and went on to share the role of Lise with her sister on the show's national tour. Most recently, she was seen in 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Marie, Dancing Stillin Seattle, WA. —Courtney Bowers