On Tap for Turkey Day

When she was younger, tap dancer and native New Yorker Claire Laing used to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from a hotel on the parade route. This year, Claire, now 15, will be on the other side of that window, dancing in the parade with the Tap City Youth Ensemble. The group Claire Laingwill be performing Izzici, a South African gumboot dance choreographed by Molutsi Mogami. The piece features rhythmic clapping, singing and footwork, and is danced in rain boots--perfect for unpredictable parade weather!

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the ensemble has added extra rehearsals to prepare. "We need to build up our stamina," Claire says. The tappers will perform along the parade route and will also dance in front of Macy's in NYC's Herald Square, which will be broadcast to millions of viewers.

It's a big opportunity for a group of young dancers. (TCYE members are 12 to 21 years old). And for Claire, it will be a new perspective on a childhood memory. "I'm excited to see what it's like to actually be in the parade," she says, "as opposed to just watching it."

Don't forget to watch the parade on Thanksgiving day and look for Claire and the TCYE! Want to learn more about TCYE? Follow Allie on Dance212: Second Companies. --Katie Rolnick

Pictured: Claire (second from right) with the TCYE in Tony Waag's Just in Time. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Latest Posts


Trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey in his work Boys in Trouble (Keegan Marling, courtesy Sean Dorsey Dance)

8 Phenomenal Trans and GNC Dancers to Follow

Whether through color-specific costumes, classes separated by sex, or the "traditional" view of the roles boys and girls should play in ballet, most dance students are taught that their gender determines their role in the studio beginning in elementary school. And, especially for those struggling with their own gender identity, that can cause harm and confusion. "From a very young age, I did not see myself reflected anywhere in the modern dance field," says trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey. "There was a really intense message I received, which was that my body and identity don't have a place here."

Despite significant societal progress in regards to gender representation, the dance world has trailed behind, and many transgender and gender nonconforming teenagers still feel lost within the world of dance. Prominent trans and GNC professional dancers are few and far between. "Being a Black trans woman means I have to work extra, extra, extra hard, because I have to set the tone for the people who come after me," says Brielle "Tatianna" Rheames, a distinguished voguer.

But the rise of social platforms has given Rheames, Dorsey, and other trans and GNC dancers a path to visibility—and that visibility helps create community and change lives. "Social media plays an extremely big part," Rheames says. "You can't just hide us anymore." Here are eight incredible trans and GNC dancers to add to your own Instagram feed.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search