For the first time in the choreography competition's history, all three top prizes went to women.
Taking home the night's top award—a $15,000 production budget to go toward a show in NYC—was tapper (and former DS cover girl!) Melinda Sullivan.
Sullivan's piece, "Gone," wasn't quite a tap number since there were no tap shoes in sight. But there was a whole lot of rhythm, some serious syncopation and some awesomely-intricate sand dancing on a big canvas blanket. Watch Melinda's winning piece here.
We can't wait to check out Sullivan's show next year in the Big Apple.
The evening's first runner-up award went to Dana Foglia, another DS favorite, for her quirky routine called "Ribbons," featuring a massive group of black-and-white-unitard-clad dancers.
Nabbing the second runner-up prize was Bree Hafen, the adorable mom who auditioned for "So You Think You Can Dance" this season. Her number, "Terminal Soul," was a hit on the comp scene last year and included the always-lovely Madi Hicks.
To recap: Women rock. Keep choreographing, ladies. We love your moves. And congratulations to all of the A.C.E. Award participating choreographers!
(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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "