Dance News

Meet Round 1 of This Year's Future Star Award Winners

Future Star winner Aislin Mitchell (photo by King Shots, courtesy Mitchell)

Dance Spirit is beyond excited to announce the first round of 2018 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability. The second round of winners will be featured in our January issue, so stay tuned.


Nick Alvino

Photo by DRC/Dancebug, courtesy Alvino

Age 17

Alexa's Dance Academy, East Meadow, NY

Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Ocean City, MD


Veronica Wilson

Photo by 4Star Productions, courtesy Wilson

Age 16

The Dance Connection, East Haven, CT

Spirit of Dance Awards, Hershey, PA


Julie Joyner

Photo by Platoon, courtesy of Joyner

Age 13

Dance Arts Centre, Suwanee, GA

Believe National Talent Competition, Fort Lauderdale, FL


Sara Verdi

Photo by Amy Nicole, courtesy Verdi

Age 16

K-Force Dance Academy, Manassas, VA

Starpower National Talent Competition, Atlantic City, NJ


Ciara Crough-Taylor

Photo by John Baud Photography, courtesy Crough-Taylor

Age 10

Dancers Burlington, Burlington, ON, Canada

Power Pak Dance Tour, Sandusky, OH


Erin Nipps

Courtesy Groove Dance Competition

Age 17

Jamie's Dance Odyssey, Deptford, NJ

Groove Dance Competition, Atlantic City, NJ


Jackie Hovis

Photo by Katie Goughan, courtesy Hovis

Age 17

Elite Dance By Damian, Warrendale, PA

Starpower National Talent Competition, Myrtle Beach, SC


Ava Sefcheck

Photo by Shutterstorm, courtesy Sefcheck

Age 10

Houck Dance Studio, Uniontown, PA

West Coast Dance Explosion, Orlando, FL


Gianna Newborg

Photo by Dance Bug, courtesy Newborg

Age 18

CaRu Entertainment Dance Complex, Pennington, NJ

Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Long Branch, NJ


Sofia Morales

Age 8

White Bear Dance Center, White Bear Lake, MN

Celebration Talent, Duluth, MN


Giuliana Justincic

Courtesy Starpower National Talent Competition

Age 12

North East Dance Academy, Commack, NY

Starpower National Talent Competition, Uncasville, CT


Jenna Jarboe

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Jarboe

Age 10

Expressenz Dance Center, Indianapolis, IN

Starpower National Talent Competition, Orlando, FL


Angel Davis

Photo courtesy Stephanie Berry, courtesy Davis

Age 16

New Castle Dance and Music Academy, Newark, DE

Imagine National Dance Challenge, Hershey, PA


Eve Juliani

Photo by David Hofmann, courtesy Juliani

Age 18

Underground Dance Company, Macomb, MI

Believe National Talent Competition, Ocean City, MD


Anaya Rae Stickel

Photo by Starpower Photography, courtesy Stickel

Age 6

The Next Jennaration, Lansing, NY

Starpower National Talent Competition, Ocean City, MD


Cole Channing LaFont

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Lafont

Age 15

Gerald Dishman's Academy of Dance, Houma, LA

Imagine Dance Challenge, New Orleans, LA


Samantha Behrens

Photo by Robert Ostry, courtesy Behrens

Age 18

Broadway Dance Theatre, North Plainfield, NJ

Power Pak Dance Tour, Orlando, FL


Trinity Baker

Courtesy Hall of Fame Dance Competition

Age 13

Starstruck Performing Arts Center, Lenexa, KS

Starpower National Talent Competition, Branson, MO


Giovana Reparto

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Reparto

Age 11

L.A. Dance NY, Staten Island, NY

Starpower National Talent Competition, Atlantic City, NJ


Randi Martinez

Photo by Lifetouch Photography, courtesy Martinez

Age 15

The Studance LAB, Avondale, AZ

Step Up 2 Dance, Phoenix, AZ


Sarah Subach

Photo by Team Creative, courtesy Subach

Age 14

Inner Prestige Dance, Itasca, IL

Starbound National Talent Competition, Chicago, IL


Maddie Garza

Courtesy Radix Dance Convention

Age 18

Dolce Dance Studio, Fresno, CA

Starpower National Talent Competition, Uncasville, CT


Kathleen Kerrins

Photo by DRC/Dancebug, courtesy Kerrins

Age 17

Step Ahead School of Dance, Rehoboth, MA

Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Cape Cod, MA


Natalie Mattson

Photo by Shutterstorm Media, courtesy Mattson

Age 18

Epic Dance Studio, Edmond, OK

Encore Performing Arts, Las Vegas, NV


Reagan Sheppeard

Photo by Kim Garcia, courtesy Sheppeard

Age 16

A Step Ahead Performance Academy, Yuma, AZ

LA Dance Magic, Anaheim, CA


Mallary Quaderer

Photo by Ashley Lodge Photography, courtesy Quaderer

Age 17

Elizabeth Williams School of Dance, Sevierville, TN

Celebration Talent, Orlando, FL


JR Valenti

Photo by Joe Duarte, courtesy Valenti

Age 12

Mia Bella Academy of Dance, Palm Coast, FL

Artists Simply Human, Orlando, FL


Ella D'Angelo

Photo by Jared Vollmann, courtesy Groove Dance Competition

Age 14

CSOD's Dance Empire, Spring Hill, FL

Groove Dance Competition, Myrtle Beach, SC


Emily Wagner

Photo by Bradley Schluter, courtesy Wagner

Age 9

Special Touch Talent Dance, Kettering, OH

Stage One National Dance Competition, Gatlinburg, TN


Christina DiStaso

Photo by Midcoast Photo, courtesy Distaso

Age 16

Strauss Performing Arts, Edison, NJ

Step Up 2 Dance, Atlantic City, NJ


Jacalyn LaLond

Courtesy Step Up 2 Dance

Age 18

Fontaine Academy of Dance, Duxbury, MA

Step Up 2 Dance, Manchester, NH


Aislin Mitchell

Photo by King Shots, courtesy Mitchell

Age 12

Dancensations Dance Center, Alexandria, VA

StarQuest, Virginia Beach, VA

The Conversation
Health & Body
Via @chelshightower on Instagram

From competing on "So You Think You Can Dance" to performing on "Dancing with the Stars" for seven seasons (and earning an Emmy nomination for her work on the latter), Chelsie Hightower has lived the pro dance dream. Though Hightower retired from "DWTS" several years ago and now teaches and choreographs in her home state of Utah, she admits that her dance career exceeded even her own high expectations. "I've accomplished things that I didn't know were possible," she says.

But most fans of "DWTS" would never have guessed that while filming, the talented and seemingly fearless ballroom pro was facing her fiercest competitor off-camera. Hightower has struggled with anxiety for most of her life, but the issue became especially severe during her years on the show.

With the help of therapy and other coping exercises, Hightower has found healthy ways to manage her anxiety. Now, she hopes that sharing her experience will inspire other dancers struggling with mental illness to get help.

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Past "SYTYCD" hopefuls at The Academy (Adam Rose/FOX)

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It includes this familiar face! (Erin Baiano)

Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?

Those iconic lyrics have basically been our #mood ever since we first heard a remake of the West Side Story film, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck, was in the works. THE CASTING. THE CASTING WAS COMING.

Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.

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Dancer Tony Bellissimo on the field at Super Bowl LII (via Instagram)

The Super Bowl is America's most-watched television event. Last year, when the incomparable Justin Timberlake took center field for the halftime show, more than 106 million viewers were watching his every move—and that's not even a record!

What's it like to perform for such an incredibly huge audience? Dancer Tony Bellissimo has plenty of experience with high-pressure dance gigs, having worked with artists including Rihanna, Britney Spears, John Legend, and Chris Brown. But stepping out alongside Timberlake during last year's halftime show was a next-level experience. We talked to Bellissimo about how he scored such a coveted job—and how he handled the pressure.

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Dance News
screenshot via @donte.colley on Instagram

Y'all, it's time to call a spade a spade: The first month of any New Year kind of sucks. It's way too cold, you're probs failing at one or two of those ambitious resolutions, and spring (with its exciting performing opportunities) feels so very far away. And yet, in the midst of so much darkness, a hero has emerged. His name is Donté Colley, and you're about to double-tap every single thing he's ever posted.

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Cover Story
Photo by Joe Toreno

It's almost 2019 and the ballroom dance scene is positively booming! From prestigious world championships to TV shows, kids are at the core of all this hip-shaking action—and we're so here for it. These eight up-and-comers in particular are shaping the field. They're the next generation of superstars to make the leap from technically exquisite ballroom-ites to bona fide celebrities.

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Just for Fun

Everyone loves a good meme, and dancers are no exception. Here are 10 of the best dance memes on the internet.

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Dance Teacher
Joanne Chapman teaching turns (photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy Joanne Chapman School of Dance)

Think back to your newbie dancer days. Can you remember your introduction to spotting? It might've involved staring hard at your own reflection in the mirror as you wrestled with your first pirouette. Or maybe your teacher had you put your hands on your shoulders as you attempted a series of half-chaînés across the floor.

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Dance News
It includes this familiar face! (Erin Baiano)

Something's coming, I don't know when
But it's soon...maybe tonight?

Those iconic lyrics have basically been our #mood ever since we first heard a remake of the West Side Story film, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck, was in the works. THE CASTING. THE CASTING WAS COMING.

Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun
Where did we put the much-debated Season 13? You might be surprised. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's crazy that "So You Think You Can Dance" is gearing up for its 16th season! Time flies when you're revolutionizing dance on TV, right? The show's definitely come a long way since its premiere back in 2005, and tbh, there hasn't been a single season we haven't loved. But which season did we love most? Here's our (sure-to-be-controversial) ranking of 14 seasons of "SYT" goodness.

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Thinkstock

Dance teachers have to deal with a lot. While open communication with your teacher is obviously key, lame excuses for less-than-great behavior are guaranteed to get on her nerves. Always avoid these seven excuses that will 100 percent get your dance teacher's blood boiling.

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via @dynamicdancestudios on Instagram

There are dance routines, and then there are dance routines. Andrew, a 21-year-old dancer with Down Syndrome, performed the latter on the new British reality dance show "The Greatest Dancer." He brought the audience to tears as he unabashedly freestyled to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling."

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Dance News
The Broadway cast of Hamilton (Joan Marcus, courtesy Sam Rudy PR)

Today, January 11, is #AlexanderHamiltonDay: A very happy 264th birthday to Alexander Hamilton! Thanks to this most unlikely of Founding Fathers—a brilliant and ballsy orphaned immigrant who dramatically rose, then fell, then rose again—we have possibly the most successful musical of all time. We also, of course, got priceless GIFs such as this one:

*When your crush walks over and you're trying to act natural but your friends are all like*

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, while we can't get you "in the room where it happens" with tickets to the show's current Broadway, touring, or Puerto Rico productions—the last of which opens tonight!—we CAN offer up some fun ways to fête A.Ham's day of birth. Just you wait:

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Dance News
Photo by 4Star Productions Courtesy Spirit of Dance Awards

The second round of 2018 Future Star winners showcases dancers with singular talent and ability. We're thrilled to celebrate their success!

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Screenshot via YouTube

Every once in a while, the stars align, things fall precisely into place, and the perfect marketing campaign is born. Such is the case with New York City Ballet's new trailer for their upcoming run of The Sleeping Beauty, which was conceived and directed by company soloist Sean Suozzi.

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via @torysport on Instagram

Washington Ballet's Nardia Boodoo is turning heads these days, and not just at the barre. The brilliant ballerina shines in Tory Sport's latest commercial and we can't help but feel a little bit of pride as our March 2018 cover star brings ballet to the masses. What better way to show off stylish and comfy athletic wear than with Boodoo's strong and luminous dancing?

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Dancer to Dancer
Hall works with students at Dance Conservatory of Charleston. (courtesy Dance Conservatory of Charleston)

As the name suggests, summer intensives are, well, intense, encouraging you to eat, sleep, and breathe dance for a significant chunk of the summer. But they're not for every dancer—or every summer. Maybe you're not ready to be away from home just yet, or you want to spend your last summer with family before going off to college. Intensives can also be expensive, and not every household has the financial flexibility to cover the high cost of auditions, travel, room and board, and tuition. Whatever your reasons for seeking alternatives, it's important to recognize that, when it comes to summer study, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. "The most important thing is to keep dancing," says Lindy Mandradjieff, owner of the Dance Conservatory of Charleston in South Carolina. "Without the added stress of school, you can improve as much in one summer as you would in an entire school year." Here's how to keep up your training even if you don't plan on attending an intensive.

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