NYCB Soloist Indiana Woodward Shares Her Hidden Talents and Pre-Performance Rituals
New York City Ballet soloist Indiana Woodward is turning heads with her energetic presence, precise technique, and crisp musicality. In the past few years, she's made a number of standout debuts, including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and the lead in Lauren Lovette's first work for the company, For Clara. Woodward was born in Paris, France, and began her dance training at age 10 in Venice, CA, at the Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet. In 2010, she enrolled full-time at the School of American Ballet and became an apprentice with NYCB two years later. She was promoted to soloist last year. Catch her dancing during the company's spring season at Lincoln Center through June 3—and read on for The Dirt!
What's your favorite book?
I love "A Wrinkle in Time."
Who's your dance crush?
What are your most-watched TV shows?
"Gilmore Girls" and "The Great British Baking Show"
What's something no one knows about you?
I sang in the movie Exorcist: The Beginning.
Who's your dance role model?
For the longest time my dance role model has been Sylvie Guillem. She is so technically perfect and has such amazing presence and emotion at the same time. She's also an activist now. I also love Marianela Núñez, and all the dancers at NYCB inspire me every day.
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
Kishi Bashi's "This Must Be The Place"
Where do you feel happiest?
In nature: by the sea, forests, or snowy mountains.
What are you most nervous about?
Forgetting steps in a ballet and also getting bitten by spiders.
Who can always make you laugh?
Unity Phelan can always make me laugh, along with so many other friends of mine.
What would you be if you weren't a dancer?
A nature and animal conservationist
Who would play you in a movie?
I would love Emma Watson to play me.
Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?
I had a really embarrassing but funny fall in Mercurial Manoeuvres with Gonzalo Garcia. He was taking off for a pirouette and his arm karate-chopped me to the ground. It was so funny.
What's your best advice for young dancers?
To always be open to any advice or lessons anyone gives you, along with keeping your competitive tendencies towards yourself. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. We are all individual and that's special.
What are you most proud of?
I'm so proud of my fellow dancers for being such a wonderful family. We all live far from our families and it's special to feel like you have support where you live and work.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go to Brazil, Iceland, and the vast countryside of China.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I always do my ab routine and have an Altoids.
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
I always have a cup of tea.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A dolphin rescuer
Do you have any hidden talents?
I love drawing and painting.
If you could work with any choreographer, who would you choose?
Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, and Crystal Pite.
What's your dream role?
"Rubies," Aurora, Giselle, Theme and Variations, the Novice in The Cage, along with so many others.
What dancer would you drop everything to see?
Lauren Lovette, Unity Phelan, Marianela Núñez, Sylvie Guillem, and Joaquin De Luz.
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
To fly, and hold my breath forever for diving.
A version of this story appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Indiana Woodward."
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.