Kate's Note: Ya Gotta Have Heart

Picture this: It’s preliminary day at the NDA Division I Collegiate National Championship in Daytona Beach, FL. You’re backstage with your teammates, mentally and physically preparing to nail your routine on the dance floor while subtly sizing up your competition. Then, in walks the Towson University Dance Team—the girls to beat. Even though they’re friendly, you’re intimidated and slightly in awe. As 11-time national champions, they know what it’s like to win.

 

So what makes Towson so tough to beat? Alison Feller’s cover story, “A Winning Streak” (p. 40), tells the tale of a team that’s quietly confident, driven, talented, willing to take risks and full of heart. While some teams compete for the glory of winning, Towson seems to thrive on “getting there”—the effort that goes into being a contender—and that’s what you see when they perform.

 

As dancers, we know that anything’s possible when you put heart into your work. At Dance Spirit we put our hearts into every issue and this one is packed with information for dancers of every genre.

 

Ballet dancers, turn to “A New Era for The Joffrey Ballet” (p. 44), to learn all about The Joffrey Ballet’s inspiring past, its dazzling present and promising future under the direction of Ashley Wheater. Have your scissors ready because the photos on p. 48 are worthy of taping to your bedroom walls.

 

Modern dancers, take note of the gifted and talented Fanny Gombert, who is this month’s You Should Know (p. 72). Fanny moved to NYC from her native France to study the Graham technique, and now she’s dancing with Graham II!

 

Aspiring musical theater mavens, brush up on your time steps with “It’s About Time” (p. 56), then flip to our Choreographer’s Collage with the amazing Andy Blankenbuehler (p. 22).

 

Hip hoppers, the Letter to My Teenage Self this month is from Antboogie (p. 20). Love him!

 

And everyone will love “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s The LXD!” (p. 50), which gives an exclusive peek inside Jon M. Chu’s latest project, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. After appearing on “So You Think You Can Dance” last season, The LXD is garnering buzz for its groundbreaking style, which brings together accomplished dancers of every genre.

 

And as always, there’s plenty more. So sit back, relax and take it all in.

 

Kate Lydon

 

Email me (klydon@dancemedia.com) and tell me what having heart means to you.

 

What Does It Mean To Have Heart?

I asked three dance pros—Keltie Colleen, Ellenore Scott and Mia Michaels—who are known for putting their hearts into their work. Here's what they said:

 

“To me, putting my heart into my work is loving what I do 100 percent and knowing that there will be many times that it will not love me back.” Keltie Colleen, dancer and choreographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dance that doesn’t come from a real place looks empty. When I let go, live in the moment and dance from my heart, the connection with the audience is honest and they’re in the dance with me, not just watching.” Ellenore Scott, "So You Think You Can Dance," Season 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I believe it’s a lifestyle. You’re either an artist or you’re not. It’s always on the mind and in the heart.” Mia Michaels, dancer, choreographer and teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from top to bottom: The Towson University Dance Team by Daniel Bedell; Eduardo Patino; Kelsey McNeal/Fox; Joe Viles/Fox

Latest Posts


Meet the dancers of MDC3: Madi Smith, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Mather (left to right). Photo by Joe Toreno. Hair by Marina Migliaccio and makeup by Lisa Chamberlain, both for the Rex Agency.

Meet MDC3: The "World of Dance" Winners Who Defied the Odds

In March 2020, the same day the "World of Dance" cast got word that production would be shutting down due to a global pandemic, MDC3 artists Madison (Madi) Smith, Diego Pasillas and Emma Mather stood shoulder to shoulder onstage, bracing to hear the final results of the competition. The champion title and $1 million prize money were within reach, decided entirely by the three celebrity judges sitting in front of them. As their competitor's scores dropped from the lips of Derek Hough, Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo at roughly 2 percentage points below their own, viewers watched realization dawn. MDC3's mouths dropped into gigantic Oh's before their hands slapped over their faces in disbelief. Sparklers shot up while confetti rained down, and the announcer shouted, "MDC3, you are the winner of 'World of Dance'!"

It was an impressive accomplishment for any group of dancers, let alone three teenagers who'd faced rejection from the show three times over. Despite their youth (Madi is 18, Diego is 17 and Emma is 16), this moment was hard earned through years of dedicated patience.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Mason Evans assisting at New York City Dance Alliance in Orlando, FL (Evolve Photo & Video, courtesy Mason Evans)

5 Dancers Share What It's Really Like to Return to Competitions Right Now

For the first time since the coronavirus hit the U.S., competitions and conventions are meeting in-person once again (brimming with safety precautions, of course), and dancers couldn't be more thrilled.

We asked five standout comp kids about their recent experiences attending competitions around the country—and how they're taking advantage of these long-lost opportunities.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Because the future of Black dance is happening right now (Braylon Browner photographed by Rhiannon Lee, courtesy Braylon Browner)

Celebrating Black Futures Month: 4 Up-and-Coming Black Dancers Making History Right Now

Throughout the month of February, many Americans celebrate Black History Month, a period of the year dedicated to honoring the contributions of Black figures to American culture and society.

The lesser-known Black Futures Month, which is also celebrated in February—and often in conjunction with BHM—looks to art and artists to envision an equitable future for Black Americans. At Dance Spirit, we're celebrating #BlackFuturesMonth by spotlighting four young Black dancers whose dance journeys are proving that the future of Black dance is bright.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search