Kayla performing at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals
Offstage, 9-year-old Kayla Mak is like any other 4th-grader. She's a happy kid who likes math and watching TV. (Her favorite show is “So You Think You Can Dance," of course.) But get her onstage and you'll see a whole different Kayla—a girl who's anything but ordinary.
At the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation's fall show, Bright Lights Shining Stars, in NYC, Kayla performed in a large group number with her studio, Westchester Dance Academy. Though the senior dancers kicked off the ballet routine, it wasn't until Kayla bourréed out from the wings that the crowd went wild. Kayla was the smallest dancer out there, but it wasn't just her size and extra-large smile that commanded attention—she wowed the audience because she more than kept up with girls twice her age. Kayla nailed her pirouettes with ease and showed off massive leaps, crazy flexibility and stunning penchées.
Kayla has trained at WDA in Mount Kisco, NY, since she started dancing at age 4. “My mom was a dancer, and she said, 'You're dancing all over this house, let's get you into a studio,' " Kayla says. Soon, she was enrolled in her first ballet class. “I love using ballet to express my feelings," she says. Kayla also studies lyrical and jazz, and started competing when she was 5. In addition to solos—her “Arabian Waltz" contemporary ballet solo earned her the National Mini Female Outstanding Dancer title at NYCDA and the Young Dancer of the Year title at American Dance Awards this past summer—Kayla performs in group routines, which she says are “fun because I get picked up a lot, but it's a little scary dancing with the older girls." If she's intimidated, it doesn't show: Kayla performs with the utmost confidence. This year her training will go beyond WDA as she tours with NYCDA, assisting and taking classes.
What's next for Kayla? “I want to be a professional dancer," she says. “Any kind of dancer." A simple answer from an exceptional young girl.
Most-played on her iPod: “Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
Favorite food: “My mom's spaghetti with meatballs"
If she were a superhero, her superpower would be: Flying. “I'd get to see the world. The first place I'd go is Japan. My cousins live there."
Favorite movie: Step Up Revolution. “One of my teachers from JUMP was in it—Misha Gabriel!"
Three words that describe her: “Smart, flexible, kind"
Ralph Lauren is kicking off the celebration bright and early with a gender-neutral capsule collection featuring a rainbow version (naturally) of its pony logo. And the brand chose a bunch of influential LGBTQIA+ community members to model the looks—including our favorite danseur in heels, Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters.
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancyFX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.