Kate's Note

What do Michele Wiles, Blake McGrath, Rasta Thomas and Julianne Hough have in common? They’ve all strutted their stuff on the competition stage! And this past summer at Nationals, from California to NYC, Dance Spirit editors caught the performances of a future generation of dance stars. Not only did we see some great talent, we also gathered insight from top judges, coaches and teachers so that we could pack this issue with tips.


In “What the Dance Stars Wore” (p. 104), we divulge the 37 hottest trends in choreography, costuming, music, accessories and team spirit that defined this year’s Nationals competitions. Look closely at our photos to see if we snapped you or your friends!


Think “comp kids” aren’t versatile? Think again. In “A New Day” (p. 120), writer Kathryn Holmes catches up with four former comp kids to find out what their careers are like now. They range from dance-team member to professional ballet dancer.


But if your ultimate dream has nothing to do with gold medals and everything to do with Brian Friedman plucking you from a huge convention crowd, leading him to cast you in his next big project (hey, it happened to Tony Testa, p. 138!), then look no further than “Over Here!” Writer Kristin Lewis reveals the nine things every driven dancer should know before walking into their next convention master class. For real!


Plus, we’ve got our comprehensive 2009 Competition and Convention guide. With over 175 entries, you can start making next year’s plans now! Want to know who’s teaching where, what competition categories each company offers or if scholarships are given? Turn to page 162 and start reading!


A few of my other issue faves: In “The New Wade Robson Project,” this very charismatic and unbelievably talented—have you seen him teach at The Pulse? MOG!—choreographer opens up to DS editor Lauren Levinson about his latest work in Cirque du Soleil’s CRISS ANGEL Believe (p. 132). As always, he doesn’t disappoint. And Pennsylvania Ballet principal Julie Diana talks to five rising ballet stars to find out about the moments that separated them from the pack in “Big Breaks” (p. 126).


So kick off your dancin’ shoes, find a comfy spot on the couch and dig in! And please, don’t forget to give us a shout and let us know what you think! Write to me directly at klydon@dancespirit.com/ or log onto dancespirit.com/ and click “Talk to Us.” We’re dying to hear what you have to say!

TTFN (ta ta for now),

(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 by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

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.

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Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe

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