From the first moment Russell Ferguson appeared on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 6, he seemed to have all of the qualities it takes to win: the mastery of an aggressive, hard-hitting dance style, authenticity, humility and a killer smile. Not surprisingly, he became the first krumper ever to make it to Vegas Week.
Even though Russell was not the most technical dancer on the show—Jakob Karr was pretty hard to beat in that department—his charisma, charm and ability to morph into each style with earnestness made him a favorite throughout the season. And after eight weeks of delving into dances from samba to contemporary with an array of partners, Russell walked away with the prize: the title of America’s Favorite Dancer, $250,000 and a cover and feature in Dance Spirit! To hear the truth about his training and how he became America’s favorite, turn to “It’s Russell!” (p. 40).
Every March, DS shines a special spotlight on ballet, and this year is no different. Chances are, if you’re a young, preprofessional ballet student, you have been to or thought about going to a competition. But have you considered which one is really right for you? In “Ballet Competitions 101” (p. 46), we look at the four major competitions completely devoted to ballet: Youth America Grand Prix, the International Ballet Competition (this year in Jackson, MS), the Prix de Lausanne and the New York International Ballet Competition. Not only can you win medals, company contracts and scholarships to leading schools at these competitions, but they’re also great performance opportunities.
To truly succeed at these competitions, you need serious ballet training backing you up. One famous school that we’re profiling in this issue is the Beijing Dance Academy. This school boasts one of the largest and most impressive facilities in the world! To step inside and see how BDA is creating dancers such as Miami City Ballet’s Haiyan Wu, turn to p. 60.
To top off our ballet coverage, we’ve got candy. Lots of it! Turn to p. 30 to see 12 costumes that made us think of our favorite sugary treats. Modeling our finds are five students from NYC’s Ballet Academy East. Then, if you’ve been meaning to try a new ballet or pointe shoe but haven’t gotten around to exploring what’s out there, check out “Shoe Candy” (p. 38). You can never have too many shoes!
To round out our issue we’ve got something for everyone: “Flipping Out” (p. 64) takes a look at acrobatics and whether or not you need to add aerials and roundoffs to your weekly routine; “Broadway’s Spooky Starlet” (p. 54) profiles The Addams Family’s bright new star, Krysta Rodriguez; and tapper Jessica Vetrano lights up our You Should Know column (p. 72).
Without further ado…let’s get started!
Photo of DS staff with Russell Ferguson by Joe Toreno