Summer 2019 Table of Contents

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The Best of Both Worlds

From the ballet studio to the competition stage, Madison Brown can't stop making waves.

Acting for Dancers

Why you should add it to your performance toolbox.

Meet the 2019 Cover Model Search Finalists

Introducing Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland.

The Case for Staying with Studio Training

Abandoning your home studio to convention-hop might be tempting—but for most dancers, the cons outweigh the pros.

This Must Be the Place

An insider's look at Stacey Tookey's Camp Protégé, an experience unlike any other.

Dance Spirit's 2019–2020 Competition & Convention Guide

Info on this season's must-attend events.


Moulin Rouge! comes to Broadway, the delightfully dancy Descendants 3, and more.

The Dirt

Contemporary goddess and "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Taylor Sieve.

Letter to My Teenage Self

American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston.


A week in the life of an American dancer at Tokyo Disneyland.

Body Buzz

The healing power of meditation for dancers.


Strengthening exercises to help you perfect your pirouettes.


Everything you need to know about contact improvisation.


We asked judges from two top comps to answer your burning Q's—and you might be surprised by their answers.

College Corner

What you can do to prep for freshman year.

Branch Out

How lighting design made Sophie Sotsky a better choreographer.

You Should Know

Elegant danseur Darrion Sellman.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

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Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

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Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

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