Subways Are For Dancing - Part 5

(This is the fifth installment--check out the first, second, third and fourth--in a six-week series about choreographer Diego Funes' work on a NYC revival of the musical Subways Are For Sleeping. Stay tuned for more!)

Last week a very focused Diego Funes, who is choreographing a NYC revival of Subways Are For Sleeping, invited the cast to an extra rehearsal to polish the show's final big number, "What is this Feeling in the Air." The choreography includes lots of step ball changes and sweeping arm movements as the characters weave into various patterns while they sing. The piece occurs at an important turning point in the story, when the chorus affirms the leading lady's realization that she has fallen in love. It's a joyful and emotional number, and Diego wants his dancers to play it up to the max--despite the tiny space they'll be performing in.

At sixteen by nine feet, the stage calls for a "less is more" approach. Nevertheless, Diego draws upon an assortment of dance genres to express his characters' emotional states and move the story forward. "We are doing very well for such a tiny space," asserts Diego. "I've kept the choreography simple, but it's effective. It creates emotion and atmosphere." In addition to the last showstopping number, there's also a soft shoe solo, a sweeping romantic duet and a Tangoesque comedic duet, an ensemble number that creates the exhilarating effect of bustling through the New York subways, and a multiple Santa extravaganza.

Recently, the cast had its first full run-through on the stage. The affection Diego has developed for them is evident in his broad smile. "The opening number was excellent," he gushes. "The ensemble was super tight. Not a single mistake. And the lead and second couples are amazing triple threats."

"I'm sending my best energy to opening night," Diego says. "They have all done so much in very little time."

Subways Are For Sleeping will be playing November 1-2 and 8-11 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, New York City. For more information, click here.

Latest Posts


Meet the dancers of MDC3: Madi Smith, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Mather (left to right). Photo by Joe Toreno. Hair by Marina Migliaccio and makeup by Lisa Chamberlain, both for the Rex Agency.

Meet MDC3: The "World of Dance" Winners Who Defied the Odds

In March 2020, the same day the "World of Dance" cast got word that production would be shutting down due to a global pandemic, MDC3 artists Madison (Madi) Smith, Diego Pasillas and Emma Mather stood shoulder to shoulder onstage, bracing to hear the final results of the competition. The champion title and $1 million prize money were within reach, decided entirely by the three celebrity judges sitting in front of them. As their competitor's scores dropped from the lips of Derek Hough, Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo at roughly 2 percentage points below their own, viewers watched realization dawn. MDC3's mouths dropped into gigantic Oh's before their hands slapped over their faces in disbelief. Sparklers shot up while confetti rained down, and the announcer shouted, "MDC3, you are the winner of 'World of Dance'!"

It was an impressive accomplishment for any group of dancers, let alone three teenagers who'd faced rejection from the show three times over. Despite their youth (Madi is 18, Diego is 17 and Emma is 16), this moment was hard earned through years of dedicated patience.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Mason Evans assisting at New York City Dance Alliance in Orlando, FL (Evolve Photo & Video, courtesy Mason Evans)

5 Dancers Share What It's Really Like to Return to Competitions Right Now

For the first time since the coronavirus hit the U.S., competitions and conventions are meeting in-person once again (brimming with safety precautions, of course), and dancers couldn't be more thrilled.

We asked five standout comp kids about their recent experiences attending competitions around the country—and how they're taking advantage of these long-lost opportunities.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Because the future of Black dance is happening right now (Braylon Browner photographed by Rhiannon Lee, courtesy Braylon Browner)

Celebrating Black Futures Month: 4 Up-and-Coming Black Dancers Making History Right Now

Throughout the month of February, many Americans celebrate Black History Month, a period of the year dedicated to honoring the contributions of Black figures to American culture and society.

The lesser-known Black Futures Month, which is also celebrated in February—and often in conjunction with BHM—looks to art and artists to envision an equitable future for Black Americans. At Dance Spirit, we're celebrating #BlackFuturesMonth by spotlighting four young Black dancers whose dance journeys are proving that the future of Black dance is bright.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search