NYCDA Foundation's Annual "Destiny Rising" Performance Was All Kinds of Inspiring

Every January, students, parents, professionals, and lovers of dance all gather for the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation's annual fundraising performance "Destiny Rising" at The Joyce Theater. And every year we fall a little bit more in love with the foundation's mission: "Investing in the next generation of professional performers by offering scholarships for secondary and college education." Since its founding in 2010, the foundation has awarded over 2.5 million dollars in scholarships. Because of the program (and its uber-generous donors), kids across the country literally get to attend college and pursue their dance dreams. What could be better than that?! Not much...


It's always very emotional watching the former scholarship recipients (who are out in the dance world doing huge things) come back and talk about how much the foundation means to them and why their careers wouldn't be where they are today if they hadn't had those scholarship opportunities. Last night, we got to hear more about the story and journey of the lovely Courtney Celeste Spears, a new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member, and it was some serious #Mondaymotivation.

The night also always proves to be a super-glitzy and fun performance thanks to lots of high-profile guests, and last night was no exception. New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia performed a dazzling excerpt from Stars and Stripes, Marymount Manhattan College students performed a stunning piece by Gabrielle Lamb, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet presented an excerpt from the ethereal Dwight Rhoden piece Bach 25, to name just a few. (And can we just say it was SO FUN getting to watch former DS Cover Model Search finalist Tatiana Melendez perform her heart out with her new company fam CCB! Go girl! 💥)

If you're a current junior or senior in high school who's wanting to go to college for dance, make sure you don't miss the next NYCDA Foundation audition date: July 1, 2019 in NYC. You never know what might happen... ✨

And ICYMI, enjoy this peek at Marymount Manhattan College's performance:


Dance News
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)

In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."

Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.

In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.

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Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!

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