Kate's Note

Many years ago, I attended an open call for a Broadway show. As part of union requirements all shows on the Great White Way must have calls every six months, whether they need  dancers or not. There were hundreds of young women decked out in great outfits, perfect makeup and quaffed hair. They were completely jazzed about getting their 15 minutes to show the casting directors why they should be hired. Dressed very classically in all black, ballet shoes and very little make up, I stood out for all the wrong reasons. I had hoped that directors would look at my resumé (which was not bad), but they never did. I was cut before I could blink.


The good news? I took so much away from the experience! Most importantly, I learned that at a Broadway or commercial audition, you’ve got about 30 seconds to show the people who matter most not only what you can do, but the essence of who you are. They’ve got to see your spark—fast!


Case in point: Danielle Polanco, this month’s cover girl. Danielle is a prolific commercial dancer with a versatile dance background, and in March she’ll make her Broadway debut as Consuela in West Side Story (see “Who’s That Girl” by Abigail Rasminsky, p. 48).She doesn’t have the classical background many of the other lead dancers in the show have, but she is bold! Choreographer Joey McKneely noticed her zesty personality immediately, and she was hired after only two auditions!


This issue of Dance Spirit is packed with audition advice—from a short Up Front interview with “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mary Murphy (p. 24) to choreographer Julia Adam’s “Letter to My Teenage Self” (in which she talks about what she looks for in a dancer, p. 28) to “Impress and Be Your Best,” our 10 must-read audition tips (p.66). On page 46, check out our first-ever audition makeover! Then, read through our fabulous Auditions Guide (p. 68) to get the 411 on more than 100 auditions you can attend!


Also, don’t miss our fashion coverage on page 38 featuring the Pretty Girls of Dance (counterpart to the Bad Boys of Dance).


Enjoy! And remember: Enter your next audition with confidence about who you are and what you have to offer. Train hard beforehand so that once you’re there, you can fully concentrate on the choreography, proper audition etiquette and your performance.


Good luck!

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?

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Cover Story
Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated remake of West Side Storychoreographed by Justin Peck, and starring a bevy of very good dancers—is in production, hooray! And that means it's finally time for us to get a look at the film's cast members in character. Let's break down the first photo from the project.

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