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.
Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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