Who do you picture when someone says female pop star?
Probably someone like Taylor Swift or Rhianna. They're both beautiful, powerful and talented. And despite their different looks and style, one thing they have in common is ability.
When I say "ability" I don't mean the talent required to sing well (we know they have that!), but the ease with which they move through the world. Despite being rich and famous, they're normal. They're "able" to do what most people are able to do, which is walk, talk and function without assistance of any kind. Can you think of a single pop star who has publicly defined herself through her "dis"ability? I couldn't either—until now.
(Photo by Ewelina Stechnij)
Meet Viktoria Modesta. She and her incredibly fierce prosthetic leg are bursting through the barriers of able-bodied beauty, showing the world that different body shapes can be as sexy as the ones we're used to seeing. She sings. She dances. She struts. And she stars in a music video that publicly declares a campaign to confront the narrow definition of beauty that we're comfortable with—and also imagines a future where differently-abled women are revolutionary leaders. Heck yeah, #girlpower.
I especially love that Modesta defines herself as "bionic." She leaves things purposefully vague, but it makes me think of some of my favorite ladies in pop: Janelle Monáe and her android concept albums, Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and "Yoü And I" videos, and Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)" video. These artists make themselves into robots or monsters as a metaphor for feeling shut out or excluded.
Modesta has taken a part of herself that might be perceived as scary or bad and turned it into a personal symbol of power—that's something that us performers can definitely relate to. In her words, Modesta's mission "is to promote individualism and futuristic image through art." And she's nailing it.
(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 by clicking on their names here:
vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.