All the Details on Janelle Monáe's Dance-Filled Oscars Performance

Historically, the Academy Awards aren't a super-dancy event—after all, there's still no award for best movie choreography. But this year, pop icon Janelle Monáe brought all the next-level dancing (and over-the-top theatricality) we ever could have dreamed of in her opening number.


In a performance choreographed by the fantastic Jemel McWilliams, Monáe revamped her 2010 song "Come Alive," and shouted out every major movie from 2019—even films that didn't receive Oscar nominations, like Queen & Slim, Us, and the Eddie Murphy-led Dolemite Is My Name.

"We had a unique opportunity to celebrate artists, share love, and be our most authentic selves," says McWilliams. "These are the moments that inspire me most as an artist!"

It was true movie magic getting to witness Monáe's troupe of backup dancers, costumed in everything from Joker makeup to Little Women period dresses to Midsommar flower crowns, getting down alongside both Monáe and the ever-fabulous Billy Porter, who joined her onstage for a quick rendition of "I'm Still Standing." And the backup featured a slew of our favorite commercial phenoms, including Alex Wong, Maycee Steele, Sherrod Tate, Ryan Ramirez, and Vincent Noiseux.

As always, we're totally here for awards shows featuring lots of talented professional dancers.

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All photos by Joe Toreno. Grooming throughout by Lisa Chamberlain for The Rex Agency.

How Mark Kanemura—Artist, Activist, and All-Around Icon—Became Our Internet Dance Mascot

Twelve years ago, a baby-faced Mark Kanemura appeared on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 4. The Hawaiian-born dancer—whose winningly quirky style found a perfect vehicle in Sonya Tayeh's creepy-cool "The Garden" routine—quickly became a fan favorite. Kanemura made it to the Top 6 (Joshua Allen took the title that season), and a star was born.

But the world didn't know how bright that star was going to shine.

Fresh off "SYTYCD," Kanemura started booking jobs with Lady Gaga: first the MTV Video Music Awards, then the Jingle Bell Ball. Soon, he was a staple on Gaga's stages and in her videos, and he began to develop a dedicated fan base of his own.

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#SocialDisDancing: A Look at Rockette Taylor Shimko's At-Home Dance Life

From the most famous choreographers to the newest of dance newbies, we're all going through the same pandemic-related struggles right now. So, how are the pros coping with it all? To find out, we've started a new interview series, #SocialDisDancing. Over the next few weeks, we'll be catching up with some of your favorite dancers to see how they're step-ball-changing their way through this unprecedented moment in dance history. We had the chance to speak with Taylor Shimko, who's been a Radio City Rockette for more than 10 seasons. (Be sure to check out Taylor's takeover of our Instagram for an inside peek at her day in the #SocialDisDancing life.)

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Taylor Goldberg, Jordan Goldberg, and JT Church attending REVEL's virtual convention (courtesy Leslie Church)

What It's Like to Attend a Virtual Dance Convention

During this new era of social distancing, the dance world has gotten pretty creative. Tons of teachers, studios, competitions, and conventions have stepped up to the plate to help fill our living rooms with virtual dance content. But what's it really like to attend a dance convention online?

Dance Spirit followed JT Church, "Dancing With The Stars: Juniors" pro and "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" runner-up, as he spent the weekend attending REVEL's "Rev-Virtual" online convention experience.

Hey guys! I have been a special guest faculty assistant for REVEL Dance Convention for the last four years. So I was excited to find out they'd be hosting a series of online convention weekends. With everything that's going on, I've been missing conventions so much. I knew it'd be great to be able to keep up my training.

Two of my best friends, Jordan and Taylor Goldberg—I dance with them at Club Dance—asked me to come over to their home studio so we could take REVEL's online classes together. Here's how it all went.

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