Mishay Petronelli in Dana Foglia's "Cy.clo.thy.mi.a." Photo by Zach Zealand.
Mishay Petronelli demands your attention. It might be the electric energy radiating from her petite, muscular frame. Or maybe it’s the way she plunges into the music, filling every nook and cranny with sinewy, sensual movement. One thing’s for sure: It’s impossible to take your eyes off her.
Mishay, 24, didn’t start dancing until she was 12. It was only after seeing her friends dance that she discovered her natural ability. “I would go to a nearby studio and watch their classes,” the Ohio native says. “When I got home, I’d show my mom the combos that I’d learned in my head.” She started taking classes soon after—everything from ballet to hip hop to tap—and threw herself into the competition and convention scene. After high school, Mishay spent eight months dancing on a cruise ship, but she soon realized she didn’t belong on the water; she belonged on a larger stage.
In 2006, Mishay moved to NYC, where she began an intense training regimen (which she continues today) under teachers like Rhapsody, Dana Foglia and Jared Grimes, while auditioning for commercial work in NYC and L.A. “Since coming to the city, I’ve grown so much,” she says. “The students, the teachers, the different styles—they’ve changed me completely.”
Mishay isn’t just a well-rounded dancer—she’s a chameleon. Hip hop, contemporary, ballet, commercial, tap: She does it all. The musicality of tap seeps into her contemporary; the dynamism of her contemporary makes her untouchable in a hip-hop combo. And all of this makes her a choreographer’s dream.
Mishay has performed in Whitney Houston’s music video for “Million Dollar Bill,” on “Saturday Night Live” with Kanye West and in Dana Foglia’s shows VATIC and Cy.clo.thy.mi.a. But she’s not just shooting for commercial superstardom. “I would love to dance with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet or Nederlands Dans Theater, or maybe even on Broadway. I want to do it all!” she says. And with her magnetic energy and loveable personality, she probably will.
Birthday: January 4, 1987
Favorite book:The Little Prince
Must-see TV show: “30 Rock”
Must-see movies:The September Issue and Love Actually
(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?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.