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 ANGELBelieve (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 firstname.lastname@example.org/ or log onto dancespirit.com/ and click “Talk to Us.” We’re dying to hear what you have to say!
(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:
vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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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.