Meet the Editors
Margaret Fuhrer, Editor in Chief
Photo by Erin Baiano
When I was 3, I told my mom that I wanted to be a ballerina. She thought I just wanted a tutu, so she made me one—but she quickly discovered I was serious! Two years later I started taking ballet classes, and I've been dancing ever since. During high school I attended summer programs at the Chautauqua Institution and Boston Ballet, and performed with a youth ballet company. Bad knees kept me from auditioning for professional groups, so I ended up at Princeton University, where I discovered choreography (and hip hop!) in a fantastic student-run dance troupe, diSiac Dance Company. College was also where I fell in love with writing. After graduation I pursued a master's degree in journalism as part of New York University's Cultural Reporting and Criticism program (where I met my idol, New Yorker dance writer Joan Acocella). Now I'm lucky enough to be combining all of my passions at Dance Spirit.
Courtney Bowers, Managing Editor
Photo by Nathan Sayers
For my first tap performance, at age 5, I wore the world's itchiest blue tutu—but I couldn't have cared less, because from that moment on I was absolutely in love with being onstage. A few years later, I got into musical theater dance and began attending summer programs at Broadway Dance Center. While studying at Georgia State University, I performed in regional productions—Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, 42nd Street—and also discovered my love of magazine journalism. After working for a few years at a publishing company in Atlanta, I decided it was finally time to make the move to NYC. Now, I'm beyond grateful to be merging my passions here at Dance Spirit.
Olivia Manno, Assistant Editor
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk
I was 4 years old when my mom thought it would be a good idea to put me on a pony rather than in a dance class. 18 years later, I have no regrets—I had an incredible competitive horseback riding career—but the itch to dance never really disappeared. So, instead of attempting an art form that takes a lifetime to master (not to mention some serious natural ability), I decided to admire dance as a spectator and a student. Attending New York University as a fine arts major was especially eye-opening. There was so, so much amazing dance within NYC. I started going to New York City Ballet and to shows at the Joyce Theater as much as possible, and was lucky enough to witness works of every dance genre by some insanely talented student-choreographers at NYU. Now I'm reading and writing about dance all day, and I couldn't be more excited!
Helen Rolfe, Assistant Editor
Photo by Erin Baiano
Because she knew I'd end up tall (I'm just over 5'10"), my mom thought I should learn to stand up straight and wear my height with pride. So she put me in a combination ballet/tap class when I was 4—and I hated it right off the bat. Everything changed a few years later, when I realized working hard meant improved technique and—even better—time in the spotlight! I tackled every style I could get my hands on in my hometown of Norfolk, VA, and on weekend trips to D.C. and NYC. During high school, I trained in musical theater at the Governor's School for the Arts and spent summers at the Rockettes Summer Intensive, Ballet Chicago and Interlochen Arts Camp before moving to NYC to model professionally. After four years studying Japanese, dance and philosophy at Connecticut College, I'm thrilled to be living my dance-writing dreams in the greatest city in the world. (Yes, that was a Hamilton reference!)
Katherine Beard, Assistant Editor
Photo by Jayme Thornton
I started studying ballet at three years old, and have been smitten with it ever since. When I was seven, my mom asked me why I liked dancing so much, and I told her that when I danced nothing else mattered and everything just made sense. (Although I 'm not gonna lie—the gorgeous tutus were a major draw, too.) Though I've tried to quit ballet a few times since, the little girl within just won't relent. After working at Marie Claire, U.S. News & World Report , and The New York Times, as well as a stint in Africa, I now get to combine my passion for journalism and my love of dance, working at the company that nurtured my dreams of tutus and pointe shoes to begin with.
Dancing kween Jennifer Lopez is preparing us for the second season of "World of Dance" by dropping an insane World of Dance promo that has her slaying the dance floor like we've never seen before. If America wasn't on the edge of their seats for the May 29th premiere they are now—wondering how the contestants of "World of Dance" could possibly outdo such a performance—but there's no doubt they will. This season's roster of dancers really takes the show's name to heart cause it's out of this world, with each dancer as ferociously talented as the rest! (We don't envy J. Lo's job of having to pick just one.) We've rounded up 7 young dancers you won't want to miss.
The Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center is the 54,000 square foot home of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, one of the largest facilities dedicated to dance on a private university campus. Designed for their innovative new curriculum, that supports a range of dance styles, the school's staff designated Harlequin to provide wall-to-wall flooring for the large 3,500 square foot Performance Studio as well as five dance studios in their new state-of-the-art building.
When watching Megan Skalla dance, several things are immediately obvious. She has legs for days and the archy feet to match. Her core is rock-solid, and her sweet smile is contagious. But the longer you spend with her, the more something else becomes clear: Megan’s got sass. Whether it’s a sharp shoulder roll during a hip-hop class or an intense stare during a sky-high développé, there’s a certain something extra that makes this 16-year-old pop. And her steadfast devotion to dance means she’s only getting better.
Megan started dancing when she was 3 at a small ballet studio near her hometown of Draper, UT, and was hooked immediately. At 7, she switched to a new studio, Pulse 31, and started to compete, but she still wasn’t dancing as much as she wanted. Finally, she came to The Dance Club in Orem, where she currently trains. She takes ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical, and sometimes supplements her training with private ballet classes at nearby Barlow Arts Conservatory. “I’ve always loved ballet,” says Megan, who has attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship for the past two years. “It’s the foundation for everything, and it makes me a stronger dancer in other genres.”
Though she dances from morning until night, Megan admits to boogying through her kitchen when she gets home, and would still do more if she could. “There’s a dance company that’s a big deal at my high school, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both,” she says. Devoting her time to The Dance Club, she says, is more conducive to her goal of dancing professionally. The studio is full of mega-talented dancers, and Megan shines among them. Her secret? “In class, some dancers will avoid going across the floor with someone they think is better than they are,” she says. “But I like to go across the floor with the best dancer in class. That way, I can push myself to come up to her level.”
Megan’s strategy is working. She won the Teen High Score Solo award at New York City Dance Alliance regionals and was a Top 10 Outstanding Dancer finalist at NYCDA Nationals. She has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was one of four Capezio NYCDA Model Search winners. As for the future, Megan knows one thing for sure: She’s going to keep dancing. “I want to go to college for dance, maybe to Brigham Young University, Marymount Manhattan or Juilliard,” she says. “But I still have a while to decide.” Until then, she’ll stick to her busy schedule. “It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says. “But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Birthday: March 6, 1996
Favorite food: Pasta
Most-played on her iPod: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
Dream dance role: “It would be really fun to be a Rockette. I want to do the Rockette summer intensive this year.”
Three words that describe her dancing: “Soft, passionate, aggressive”
Dream dance company: Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Favorite dance movie: Step Up
Who would play her in a movie: Nina Dobrev from “The Vampire Diaries”
First thing she does in the morning: “Hit the snooze button so I can sleep for 10 more minutes.”
Favorite dancers of all time: Travis Wall and Joey Dowling
Hidden talent: “I like to sing, but I’m only OK. I’d like to take voice lessons.”
Performer she’d die to work with: Celine Dion
Must-see TV shows: “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Lying Game”
Allison Thornton, Megan’s teacher at The Dance Club: “Megan has the body that every dancer dreams of: long legs, beautiful feet, great extension. But the best thing about Megan is that she knows how to use it all. She works really hard, and as good as she is in rehearsal, she’s even better onstage. Megan is very humble. She always has a smile on her face, she gets along with the other girls and she’s easy to work with. She’s a good person who has been blessed with great talent.”
Joanna Numata, street jazz instructor at Broadway Dance Center: “The first thing I noticed about Megan were her beautiful lines. She also had a really good, positive energy during class. She took direction and corrections well, which is so important.”
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
I started dance classes at a young age. By the time I was 3, I was training at The Dance Club, and I grew up there. I started with the basics—ballet and jazz—and eventually added tap, tumbling, contemporary, and hip hop.
Early on, I did compete. I remember my first time: I did a trio at a small local competition, and it got first place. The trophy was as tall as I was, and I loved it. I attended conventions as a mini, and had the opportunity to take classes from Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Andy Pellick, and Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh. There was so much variety—I was in awe.
Considering we practically live in our dance clothes, there's really no such thing as having too many leotards, tights or leggings (no matter what our mom or friends say!). That's why we treat every sale as an opportunity to stock up. And thanks to the holiday weekend, you can shop all of your dancewear go-tos or try something totally new for as much as 50% less than the usual price.
Here are the eight sales we're most excited about—from online options to in-store retailers that will help you find the perfect fit. Happy Memorial Day (and shopping)!
DancerPalooza, America's Largest Dance Festival, is moving to sunny SAN DIEGO, California from July 24-29, 2018.
Check out all of the NEW Intensives DancerPalooza has to offer this year!
Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
Paige Fraser has performed on world-class stages and in a video with Beyoncé—yet some of her most meaningful dance moments happened in tiny classrooms on a small island 1,000 miles from America. This past spring, Fraser, who's danced with Ailey II and is a founding member of Visceral Dance Chicago, teamed up with the non-profit Milk Carton on a String to bring dance to underprivileged children in Haiti. Fraser taught daily ballet and modern dance classes and used YouTube videos and social media to introduce the students to other aspects of dance they hadn't been exposed to.
Now, Fraser plans to continue to use dance to give back through her own newly-funded non-profit, The Paige Fraser Foundation. But instead of traveling outside the country, Fraser will be helping kids in her childhood home: the Bronx. She wants her foundation to assist aspiring dancers no matter their color or abilities.
Read our interview with the dancer and do-gooder—and discover the life-changing diagnosis that inspired her to help other dancers achieve their dreams.