Jason Samuels Smith has made everlasting scuff-marks on the tap world. At 15 he joined the Broadway cast of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk as an understudy and soon scored a principal role and understudied the lead. He toured internationally with Savion Glover’s dance group, Not Your Ordinary Tappers, and starred in Imagine Tap! at the Harris Theater in Chicago. In 2003, the number he choreographed for the Jerry Lewis/MDA Telethon earned him an Emmy and an American Choreography Award. That same year, he created the First Annual L.A. Tap Festival, for which he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the city. He also founded the company A.C.G.I. (Anyone Can Get It). Shreveport, LA, even declared April 23 “Jason Samuels Smith Day.” That’s one holiday DS will definitely celebrate! —Monica Levy
You’re entering a new and exciting stage of life where the people you meet and the experiences you accumulate will help shape your future forever. You’ll make some tough decisions, but carry no regrets, hold no grudges and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The tap community will become more significant to you over time, and the elders will become your mentors. Listen to their stories, value their wisdom and cherish their enthusiasm. Take time to spend with your grandparents— they can teach you a lot about who you are. Your mother and sister have made major sacrifices for you, as well, work hard and make them proud. Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy every moment and practice hard. You’ll need lots of humility and patience. You said you wanted to travel the world, right? Keep doing what you’re doing—I have a feeling you will get many opportunities....
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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 by clicking on their names here:
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Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.