Here at DS, we move fastâ€”even with our e-mails! Recently, I replied to a shocking message from Kate with one short word: MOG. I meant to write â€œOMGâ€ (as in, Oh My God) but I typed too quickly and sent it without catching the mistake. Since then, anything wild or crazy that happens around here has garnered the simple reaction, â€œMOG.â€ Starting this month, weâ€™ll share our MOG moments with you!
First- Ever MOG Moment:
Going backstage at the NYC auditions for â€œSo You Think You Can Danceâ€ in March and interviewing Nigel Lythgoe and Dan Karaty!
DS: How early on do you know whether someone will make it through to the next round?
Dan: Almost immediately. We can tell by the way they carry themselves, their opening position, by what theyâ€™re wearing.
Nigel: Then you give them the opportunity to change your mind. Itâ€™s inspirational when they manage to.
DS: What is the biggest mistake you see people make?
Nigel: Thinking that technique alone will get them through. Last year, Travisâ€™ technique was superior to Benjiâ€™s, but Benjiâ€™s performance was superior. Dancers need to connect with the audience; when their eyes grab youâ€”thatâ€™s magic. Simon Cowell calls it â€œthe X factor.â€ Itâ€™s a popularity contest as well as a dance contest because people have to pick up the phone and vote for you. Another mistake: when dancers think they have two minutes to show you what theyâ€™ve got. They really only have that first 20 seconds!
Dan: Donâ€™t do something someone else can do better. If you canâ€™t turn like Nick Lazzarini, do something else.
DS: Whatâ€™s the larger vision for what will happen to these dancers after â€œSYTYCD?â€
Nigel: Itâ€™s not like â€œAmerican Idol.â€ They have no album to sell, so fame and fortune is never going to happen with dancing. But they can use the show as a springboard. Of course, itâ€™s a double-edged sword because they go into auditions and people expect them to be great. So there is no endgame, except working with incredible choreographers.
Dan: The show helps you get your foot in the door of the professional world, which would ordinarily take months in NYC or L.A.
DS: Why do you react so strongly when mediocre dancers say that theyâ€™re dance teachers?
Nigel: If youâ€™re a bad dance teacher, you can seriously injure someoneâ€”blow out their knee, slip a disk in their neck. It really annoys me when someone says theyâ€™re a teacher and then theyâ€™re rubbish. Dance teachers should be certified in this country.
DS: What are you looking for this year?
Nigel: A Jamile, a Musa Cooper, an Ivan. I liked watching the journey these dancers went through. Iâ€™m annoyed when people have great technique but donâ€™t use their heart. Itâ€™s like not using what God gave them.
(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.