Want the scoop on what it’s really like to be a dancer in the Big Apple? You’re in luck, because “Dance212” is back on the web for a sixth season. Starting this month, cameras watch as five young dancers traverse class, rehearsals and the NYC streets. DS caught up with the stars of the show so you could learn a little about them.
Daphne Lee (Photo by Kyle Froman)
Daphne Lee, 21, is a junior in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program and an apprentice with Ailey II.
Guilty pleasure: Cupcakes and gummy bears. “I have a really big sweet tooth.”
Fun fact: Daphne appears shy at first, but don’t be fooled. “When hanging out with my friends, I tend to be the clown of the group, doing silly things that no one would ever think I was capable of.”
Victoria Grempel (Photo by Eduardo Patino)
Victoria Grempel, 18, is a senior at the Professional Children’s School and studies at The School at Steps.
Favorite NYC activity: Victoria has great style and loves shopping at thrift stores in Brooklyn. “There are so many hidden treasures!”
Non-dance talent: “I was a competitive ice skater. I competed all around the metropolitan area, winning first place in Lake Placid two years in a row.”
Catherine Hurlin (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor)
Catherine Hurlin, 16, is a student at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.
Non-dance talents: “I can do a mean manicure and pedicure. I’m not really allowed to wear nail polish in class, but I collect it and do my nails when I have time off.”
Guilty pleasure: Shoes. “When I get my first paycheck from any job, I try my best to keep it away from my mother so I can shop for shoes instead of putting it in my bank account.”
Simone Gunderson (courtesy Simone)
Simone Gundersen, 20, is part of the Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center, concentrating on both hip hop and jazz.
Non-dance talent: Photography. “I’ve done headshots, family portraits, senior photos and decorative wall art.”
Fun fact: “I am a European soccer super-fan.”
Ashley Hod (courtesy School of American Ballet)
Ashley Hod, 16, is in level C2 at the School of American Ballet.
Favorite NYC activity: “I love watching NBA basketball games with my dad and brother. The New York Knicks are my favorite team.”
Fun fact: “I can sing like The Chipmunks. I’m always singing the latest pop hits with my chipmunk voice. My friends and family find it very entertaining.”
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!