Catching Up with Cover Model Search Finalist Jacalyn Tatro
We're thrilled for our Cover Model Search winner Sydney Burtis—but we also love our two runners-up, Jacalyn Tatro and Shelby Patterson! We talked to Jacalyn about how life has changed since her NYC visit for the contest.
You could forgive Cover Model Search runner-up Jacalyn Tatro for resting on her laurels a bit. After all, by May of this year, the 19-year-old was already a three-time New York City Dance Alliance National Outstanding Dancer winner and a member of The Juilliard School's Class of 2022. But this superstar lives in the moment and focuses on the process.
Over the summer, that process included preparing to head off to college in NYC and soaking up every minute of one last Nationals season with her home studio, Inspire School of Dance. "I think it was a great ending to my competition career, if you will," she says. "We had two other seniors at my studio too, so it was a good send-off to college for all three of us."
Now almost a month into classes at Juilliard, Jacalyn's enjoying the intensely dance-focused environment and looking forward to all the learning opportunities that the next four years have in store. Read on to find out what's changed for Jacalyn post-Cover Model Search!
What have you been up to since your trip to NYC?
Jacalyn receiving the Dance Magazine College Scholarship at NYCDA Nationals (courtesy Tatro)
A lot of training and last-minute practicing with my studio to get ready for NYCDA Nationals, which was awesome! I didn't do any of the Outstanding Dancer stuff because I won National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer in 2016, but I ended up winning the Dance Magazine College Scholarship at the college scholarship audition, which was amazing.
How did you campaign during the voting period?
Jacalyn (second from right) at graduation (Tatro)
It was fun to do all that stuff on social media! I hope it was a nice change of pace for followers who usually just scroll through a bunch of pictures—it gave them something to participate in. I know my friends had a lot of fun with it. I got so many awesome texts and calls from people, saying "we're rooting for you, how do we vote, how can we help." All my family members are on Facebook, so I tried to post as much as I could there. Instagram was fun, too, especially the Stories. And I loved seeing what my fellow finalists, Sydney and Shelby, posted.
What was your favorite part of the Cover Model Search experience?
Photo by Erin Baiano
I really loved meeting Shelby and Sydney and all of the people who work for Dance Spirit. I always love making new connections. Sydney's actually going to be in NYC with me, and we've already planned to meet up here in the city.
How do you think you’ve grown since the trip?
The trip marked my first time taking class at Broadway Dance Center, which was a big deal for me. Now I love the studio vibe here in the city, taking classes from people I've never heard of and being with dancers I've never seen before. It's really eye-opening to see the other dancers out there, beyond the 20 people at your studio.
What are your goals for the coming year?
Jaclyn is a freshman at Juilliard (Tatro)
To take in as much as possible! People say freshman year is overwhelming because the faculty strip you down and teach you all this new stuff, but I'm excited about that. I've watched my sister, Abby—a junior at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC—grow during her two years in a college dance program, and I'm looking forward to seeing that kind of improvement in myself. I love learning new ways to dance, because you get so used to your studio's way and the convention way.
What advice do you have for future CMS hopefuls?
Jacalyn (second from left) and friends receiving the Dance Magazine College Scholarship at NYCDA Nationals (Tatro)
Take advantage of all the opportunities, and have fun with social media. You can either be overwhelmed and stressed-out, or you can just enjoy it! Get to know the other two finalists, understand what their experiences are like, and make a lot of connections. Connections are so important as a dancer—it's such a small world.
From competing on "So You Think You Can Dance" to performing on "Dancing with the Stars" for seven seasons (and earning an Emmy nomination for her work on the latter), Chelsie Hightower has lived the pro dance dream. Though Hightower retired from "DWTS" several years ago and now teaches and choreographs in her home state of Utah, she admits that her dance career exceeded even her own high expectations. "I've accomplished things that I didn't know were possible," she says.
But most fans of "DWTS" would never have guessed that while filming, the talented and seemingly fearless ballroom pro was facing her fiercest competitor off-camera. Hightower has struggled with anxiety for most of her life, but the issue became especially severe during her years on the show.
With the help of therapy and other coping exercises, Hightower has found healthy ways to manage her anxiety. Now, she hopes that sharing her experience will inspire other dancers struggling with mental illness to get help.
More fabulous TWall routines. More passengers on the Hot Tamale Train. MORE CAT DEELEY BEING DELIGHTFUL.
That's right, y'all: "So You Think You Can Dance" was just renewed for a 16th (!) season, to air this summer on Fox. And audition dates have already been announced.
Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?
Those iconic lyrics have basically been our #mood ever since we first heard a remake of the West Side Story film, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck, was in the works. THE CASTING. THE CASTING WAS COMING.
Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.
The Super Bowl is America's most-watched television event. Last year, when the incomparable Justin Timberlake took center field for the halftime show, more than 106 million viewers were watching his every move—and that's not even a record!
What's it like to perform for such an incredibly huge audience? Dancer Tony Bellissimo has plenty of experience with high-pressure dance gigs, having worked with artists including Rihanna, Britney Spears, John Legend, and Chris Brown. But stepping out alongside Timberlake during last year's halftime show was a next-level experience. We talked to Bellissimo about how he scored such a coveted job—and how he handled the pressure.
Y'all, it's time to call a spade a spade: The first month of any New Year kind of sucks. It's way too cold, you're probs failing at one or two of those ambitious resolutions, and spring (with its exciting performing opportunities) feels so very far away. And yet, in the midst of so much darkness, a hero has emerged. His name is Donté Colley, and you're about to double-tap every single thing he's ever posted.
It's almost 2019 and the ballroom dance scene is positively booming! From prestigious world championships to TV shows, kids are at the core of all this hip-shaking action—and we're so here for it. These eight up-and-comers in particular are shaping the field. They're the next generation of superstars to make the leap from technically exquisite ballroom-ites to bona fide celebrities.
Think back to your newbie dancer days. Can you remember your introduction to spotting? It might've involved staring hard at your own reflection in the mirror as you wrestled with your first pirouette. Or maybe your teacher had you put your hands on your shoulders as you attempted a series of half-chaînés across the floor.
Get Dance Spirit in your inbox
Dance teachers have to deal with a lot. While open communication with your teacher is obviously key, lame excuses for less-than-great behavior are guaranteed to get on her nerves. Always avoid these seven excuses that will 100 percent get your dance teacher's blood boiling.
Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?
There are dance routines, and then there are dance routines. Andrew, a 21-year-old dancer with Down Syndrome, performed the latter on the new British reality dance show "The Greatest Dancer." He brought the audience to tears as he unabashedly freestyled to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling."
Today, January 11, is #AlexanderHamiltonDay: A very happy 264th birthday to Alexander Hamilton! Thanks to this most unlikely of Founding Fathers—a brilliant and ballsy orphaned immigrant who dramatically rose, then fell, then rose again—we have possibly the most successful musical of all time. We also, of course, got priceless GIFs such as this one:
Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, while we can't get you "in the room where it happens" with tickets to the show's current Broadway, touring, or Puerto Rico productions—the last of which opens tonight!—we CAN offer up some fun ways to fête A.Ham's day of birth. Just you wait:
Every once in a while, the stars align, things fall precisely into place, and the perfect marketing campaign is born. Such is the case with New York City Ballet's new trailer for their upcoming run of The Sleeping Beauty, which was conceived and directed by company soloist Sean Suozzi.
Washington Ballet's Nardia Boodoo is turning heads these days, and not just at the barre. The brilliant ballerina shines in Tory Sport's latest commercial and we can't help but feel a little bit of pride as our March 2018 cover star brings ballet to the masses. What better way to show off stylish and comfy athletic wear than with Boodoo's strong and luminous dancing?
As the name suggests, summer intensives are, well, intense, encouraging you to eat, sleep, and breathe dance for a significant chunk of the summer. But they're not for every dancer—or every summer. Maybe you're not ready to be away from home just yet, or you want to spend your last summer with family before going off to college. Intensives can also be expensive, and not every household has the financial flexibility to cover the high cost of auditions, travel, room and board, and tuition. Whatever your reasons for seeking alternatives, it's important to recognize that, when it comes to summer study, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. "The most important thing is to keep dancing," says Lindy Mandradjieff, owner of the Dance Conservatory of Charleston in South Carolina. "Without the added stress of school, you can improve as much in one summer as you would in an entire school year." Here's how to keep up your training even if you don't plan on attending an intensive.