Janelle Monáe's New Video Is Crazy in a Good Way

If you're like me, you've been a diehard Janelle Monáe fan ever since her breakout performance on "So You Think You Can Dance" three years ago. The forward-thinking diva recently released the video for her newest single, "Q.U.E.E.N."—and like pretty much everything Monáe creates, it's full of quirky surprises.

The mini-film takes place in a futuristic universe. Monáe and her collaborators play time-traveling rebels who have been frozen and imprisoned in a "living museum." Naturally, they don't stay frozen for long. Before you know it, Monáe is breaking it down with a crew of slinky dancers in mod dresses and fist-pumping with guest singer Erykah Badu (aka "Badoula Oblongata," my new favorite nickname ever).

There isn't a lot of heavy-duty choreo in this video, but I kind of love that. It's just Monáe and her crew doin' what they do. Also, this may be the first time we've ever seen Monáe break out of her signature rockabilly-tux-and-pompadour look, and it's kind of nice to see her embrace her girly side.

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Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

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Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

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Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


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