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
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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 by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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