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.

The Conversation
Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

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This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…

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Dancer to Dancer

For Zara Silverman dancing isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life. And now, Zara's enthusiasm for dance is trickling into her other interests. The 15-year-old's love of fashion spurred the creation of her own clothing line, which is designed specifically with dancers in mind. "Since I'm aspiring to become a professional dancer I wanted to design clothes that I would wear," Zara told Dance Spirit. She even uses other dancers as models for the the line.

Her official company, Zara Silver Clothing, just launched last month, and Zara admits she's still figuring things out. But she's excited to be merging her expertise in the dance world with her love of design. Find out why she attributes the hours she's spent in the studio to her success as a business owner and designer.

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Giveaways

It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:

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Dance News
From left: (photo by Michael Curley, courtesy Cincinnati Ballet) (courtesy Cincinnati Zoo)

Yesterday Cincinnati Ballet announced an exciting addition to this year's Nutcracker cast: a character based on Fiona, the world's most famous hippopotamus.

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Dancer to Dancer

Traditional stages are nice and all, but in the ever-unpredictable dance world, it's not uncommon for dancers to find themselves performing in pretty unusual places. Here's how six professionals make it work anywhere—from the mast of a ship to a giant beehive.

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Giveaways

We're giving away Jordan Matter's latest book, Born To Dance. It features young dancers just like you, who are passionate about dance. Enter below for your chance to win a copy!

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Dance News
Juan Pablo di Pace and Cheryl Burke performing their tango to (what else?) "Libertango." (screenshot via YouTube)

OK, there was NOTHING "semi-" about last night's semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars." With a completely shocking elimination, several perfect scores among the remaining contestants, and a salsa that was just...NO, there was hardly a moment in last night's episode that didn't take our breath away. So let's get right into the extreme drama, shall we!

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Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
What did I just hear you say? You think all dancers are weak and delicate? PLEASE SAUT DE CHAT OUT OF MY LIFE. (Giphy)

Sure, dancers definitely have some unique identifying characteristics. (We're all obsessed with Center Stage? FACT.) But we're also subjected to all kinds of annoying, inaccurate stereotyping. Here are 10 dancer stereotypes that we never want to hear again.

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Dancer to Dancer

Traditional stages are nice and all, but in the ever-unpredictable dance world, it's not uncommon for dancers to find themselves performing in pretty unusual places. Here's how six professionals make it work anywhere—from the mast of a ship to a giant beehive.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

This week the kids of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" got to take charge of their performances: They got choose the songs they performed to AND were also given a lot more say in the creative process of their routines. Many of their choices were rather surprising, but it was fun to see these pint-size performers put their own stamp on their pieces—after all, that's how dancers become artists.

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Cover Story
(photo by Jim Lafferty)

Amanda LaCount was born to move. The second the music comes on at her Dance Spirit cover shoot, the bubbly 17-year-old is shimmying her shoulders and tossing her hair. When she launches into a full-out freestyle to Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay," you can't take your eyes off her.

And yet with every gig she lands, Amanda is challenging some of the dance world's longest-held biases. "I'm curvy," she says, "and I like being curvy. My body is not a bad thing. It's who I am." Here's how Amanda went from talented tot to hardworking pro—and from insecure preteen to body-positive role model.

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Dance Fashion
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

Flip your fins in shimmering costumes worthy of the life aquatic.

Modeled by Laura Haver and Brynlie Helmich.

Photography by Lucas Chilczuk

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Dancer to Dancer
via giphy.com

Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit album Dangerous Woman or her most recent Sweetener, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Lexi Colvin, courtesy Schwartz

Courtney Schwartz seems to be every comp kid's idol. Each week, she assists Talia Favia in a different city for Radix Dance Convention, but it's her high energy, super-cool movement, and genuine passion that truly inspires.

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Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

My feet naturally sickle when I point them, especially when I'm moving quickly or jumping. How can I fight the sickle?

Kelsey

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