As we suspected, the 2014 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony Friday night was nothing short of sensational. A flashy and mind-boggling revue spanning Russia's rich history, it had all the ingredients necessary for a Broadway-sized spectacle—multiplied by a bajillion. Special effects? Check. Amazing sets? Check. Wacky costumes? Check. Far-out symbolism that was slightly over everyone's heads? Check!
Missed it? Here's a rundown of our five favorite moments (excluding the ever-trending snowflake-to-ring debacle):
1. Svetlana Zakharova. Need we say more? The Bolshoi star appeared during the section representing Russia's Imperial age with a tribute to Tolstoy's War and Peace. Plot line? Didn't matter—once Zakharova displayed some leg and foot action, the night was complete.
A heavenly pas de deux: Danila Korsuntsev and Svetlana Zakharova. (Photo Paul Gilham/Getty Images via ctpost.com)
2. Ivan Vasiliev. Also part of the War and Peace dance break, he broke the mold with this manège:
Swoon. (Gif via Vanity Fair)
3. The human-size hamster wheels plus all the dance and theatrics during the Age of Industrialization section.
Not sure what this contraption would make...but all the moving parts were super cool. (Photo by Grigory Dukor/Reuters, via nbcnews.com)
4. These light-up roller-skaters and sky-bound illuminations:
White unitards are rough—LEDs make them better. (Photo Ryan Pierse/Getty Images via nbcnews.com)
5. That moment when we thought it was over, but then Mariinsky star Diana Vishneva appeared and twirled to music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, MOMIX-style (the ceremony's choreographer, Daniel Ezralow, was one of MOMIX's original dancers and choreographers):
The whirling Vishneva. (Photo REUTERS/Brian Snyder via yahoo.com)
Bonus: Team USA's promenade into Fisht Olympic Stadium. USA! USA! (PS: If anyone has an "in" at Ralph Lauren, I'd love a complimentary USA sweater. Thanks!)
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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 on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "