It May Not Have Been Live, But "Rent: Live" Was Still Dancetastic


We all emitted a collective groan when the phrase "Previously Recorded" appeared during the first seconds of Fox's "Rent: Live" broadcast last night. Yup: After cast member Brennin Hunt, playing Roger, injured his foot, the network was forced to air their recording of the dress rehearsal. (Apparently understudies aren't a thing in the world of the live television musical??) #RentNotLive and #RentKindaLive immediately started trending.

But while the recording may have lacked some of the electric energy that comes from live performance (and suffered from some weird sound issues), it still showed us the full genius of Sonya Tayeh's choreo, as performed by a thoroughly fabulous cast of dancers.

We already knew that Jordan Fisher, who played Mark, could dance. So it came as no surprise that every Mark-led number slayed on the dance front. From "Tango Maureen," in which he partnered—ahem, was partnered by—Kiersey Clemons' equally smooth Joanne... the showstopping "La Vie Boheme," which also highlighted the fantastic ensemble, Fisher had us living. (Bonus points for the elaborate table choreography in "La Vie Boheme.")

We hope Fox eventually decides to post clips of "Santa Fe," because it featured inspired choreo that was alternately slinky and sharp—signature Sonya. "Contact" was, unsurprisingly, very steamy, but it also included some beautifully fluid partnering. And OK, no, it wasn't especially dancy, but we have to give a shoutout to the burn-it-all-down intensity of Vanessa Hudgens, playing Maureen, during "Take Me Or Leave Me." It's official: Hudgens is the queen of the live TV musical. Put her in ALL OF THEM, forever.

Side note: Hudgens hugging the original Maureen, Idina Menzel, during the brief actually-live performance at the end of the broadcast is allllll the energy we need in 2019.

Idina and Vanessa in this moment

The overall verdict? "Rent: Live" may not have been perfect (or live). But it still had us dancing on our couches.

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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Dance News
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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