Nigel Lythgoe's new dance reality series, "A Chance to Dance," follows the British BalletBoyz Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt on their journey to create a contemporary company in America. On tonight's finale, we'll find out which dancers will join the Season 9 "So You Think You Can Dance" contestants on tour. We talked with Joni Tuttle, a ballet and contemporary dancer, about how she secured her spot on "A Chance to Dance" and what it was like working with the BalletBoyz.
Dance Spirit: Where did you train growing up?
Joni Tuttle: The Jacqueline Colledge School of Classical Ballet in Utah. I also took jazz, modern and contemporary. Right out of high school I joined Utah Regional Ballet, and danced with them for six seasons before moving to Portland, OR to join Northwest Dance Project. I had just moved back to Utah and was figuring out my next step when I heard about the "Chance to Dance" audition.
DS: The Ballet Boyz only had 28 days to put together the company. How did the time crunch affect the process?
JT: It definitely made it more intense, especially at the beginning: They did almost all of the cuts within the first five days. It's hard to put a show together that quickly, but because we were so engrossed in the process, the muscle memory came quicker and easier.
DS: What was your favorite part of being on the show?
JT: The finale performance. I love performing more than anything and the movement we were given was very much what I love to do. It was an honor to dance the duet at the end of the show. Plus, being at the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet theater was amazing--it's such a beautiful space.
DS: What do Michael and Billy expect technically from their dancers?
JT: They're from The Royal Ballet, so they're classically trained (they're the most beautiful male dancers I've ever seen!). They expect a high level of ballet technique and dancers who can really move.
DS: What are your dance dreams?
JT: To have as many different experiences I can. Each one shapes me as a dancer.
(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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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.