Watching Keone Madrid on the dance floor, it’s no surprise the 24-year-old’s first love was basketball: He exudes athleticism. But look closer and you’ll see hints of Michael Jackson and even Gene Kelly. This juxtaposition is true of his choreography, too. He uses music ranging from hardcore hip hop to Adele, and alternates between syncopated hits and smooth control, with the occasional Fosse-esque isolation.
Keone grew up a self-proclaimed jock in San Diego, CA. He was always a fan of dance, reenacting Michael Jackson and *NSYNC videos with friends. But he didn’t train formally until age 15, when he followed a friend to a hip-hop class taught by KJ Gonzales. “I started taking that one class every week, but it wasn’t enough,” he says. “I would go home and choreograph on my own so I could dance more.”
A natural mover, Keone found that performance opportunities came quickly. Soon after his first class, he joined Future Shock San Diego (the apprentice crew of Culture Shock San Diego) and eventually became its director. There, he trained with Jabbawockeez member Rynan Paguio and began to expand his skill set from “’90s party dancing” to include jazz, contemporary and even salsa and tango. After Keone graduated from high school, his FSSD students started encouraging him to get his choreography out into the world. At first, he resisted posting videos online, but one of his students started uploading clips from class that garnered Keone fans around the world—and earned him his first international gig, teaching workshop classes in Norway.
Soon, the offers began flooding in. Keone traveled the world, including much of Europe and Asia—eventually meeting his dance partner, collaborator and wife, Mariel, at Urban Legends in Temecula, CA, where she was also teaching. He joined the San Diego–based dance crew Choreo Cookies, which he now co-directs, and choreographed for musical artists in the U.S. and Asia.
Today, Keone and Mari (who were married in June) have signed with Go 2 Talent Agency as a choreographic team and are well on their way to becoming the next Nappytabs. Their collaborations are not only packed with smooth, intricately woven moves, but the narratives behind them are heartfelt and relatable, often leaving you feeling as though you’ve just watched a romantic comedy rather than a dance number. The duo have also put humanitarian plans in motion, founding Kingdom Made, an arts charity that sells clothing and accessories to fund its international missions, during which they plan to build homes and offer dance and art workshops for the locals. “I’ve been given so much through dance,” Keone says. “It’s time to give back.”
Birthday: June 30, 1988
Favorite food: Korean barbecue
Most-played on his iPod: “At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Frank Ocean. And I’m pretty sure MJ is the top-played artist on my iTunes.”
Artists he’d love to work with: “Justin Timberlake Chris Brown, Usher—all those guys who can really get down.”
His style in three words: “Athletic, smooth, experimental”
(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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer