Nick Young has been making music with his feet his whole life. Young grew up at his mother's studio, Young Dance Academy, in Oak Creek, WI, and at competitions like New York City Dance Alliance. He caught his big break with "So You Think You Can Dance," making it to the Top 20 on Season 8. That led to three viral tap videos, teaching gigs at 24 Seven Dance Convention and NYCDA, and two appearances by himself and his company, Rhythmatic, at the Capezio A.C.E. Awards—where they won second runner-up in 2017. Catch his latest full-length work when it hits film festivals later this year, and read on to find out how Young gets inspired to create. —Helen Rolfe
It started with an Instagram and a leap of faith. Lucy Vallely was only 15 when she created a post voicing her desire to choreograph solos for the 2018 competition season. "I wasn't really sure what would come of it," remembers the comp-circuit standout. Soliciting choreographic opportunities via Instagram might sound like a gamble, but it's also very much in character for this now-17-year-old from Long Beach, CA. "She thrives on risks, on breaking boundaries she's previously created for herself," says Jessie Riley, Lucy's dance teacher and the owner of Westside Dance Project in Laguna Hills, CA.
In the end, the gamble paid off. Madison Taylor, who trains at The Project @ HTX in Houston, TX, was one of many dancers who jumped at the Insta post, and after a few hours in a studio together, Lucy's first professional choreographic endeavor was born. The solo, "All of Me," was an impressive debut, filled with seamless, fluid transitions and infused with an innate sense of musicality. (It was also refreshingly free of flashy tilts and turn sequences.) "All of Me" perfectly complemented Madison's sweeping movement quality—she ended up clinching first place at Radix—and it showcased Lucy's choreographic chops.
Fast-forward nearly 12 months, and the success of "All of Me" has led to an influx of choreographic opportunities. Lucy spent this past fall state- and studio-hopping, setting dozens of solos and group dances. And as she wraps up her yearlong reign as The Dance Awards' Senior Female Best Dancer, Lucy finds herself at a unique crossroads. She's still a comp kid, yet she's also on the brink of an exciting professional career. But if there's one thing this California girl knows how to do, it's go with the flow.
With over three billion combined views on YouTube and credits from some of the biggest names in the biz, Parris Goebel has become an international phenomenon. And now the New Zealand native is taking her #savage choreography to the masses in a new docuseries called "The Parris Project World Tour." Visiting 10 different countries in six weeks, the world class choreographer and her crew (the Royal Family) give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at life on a major dance tour—and it's the perfect blend of glamour and hard work.
Cat Cogliandro's genius is turning paradoxes into powerful art. In her gestural contemporary choreography, vulnerability becomes strength and imperfection is beauty. Born and raised in Houston, TX, Cogliandro earned a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase before moving to L.A. Cogliandro now teaches in L.A. and nationally, and choreographs for her company CATASTROPHE!, which was the second runner-up at the 2015 Capezio A.C.E. Awards. Here, Cogliandro tells DS where she finds inspiration. —Helen Rolfe
It's the most wonderful time of year for fashion and fierce fall fashion/dance collabs are all over the place. But we had to pick our jaws up off of the floor after watching the new dancetastic Marc Fisher LTD footwear commercials. The shoe brand created one of the most compelling ads we've seen thanks to the fancy footwork of six dancers and the choreography of "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Ellenore Scott. We talked with the multi-talented artist to find out how choreographing for a fashion commercial compares to creating routines for live shows on Broadway, like King Kong (which opens Nov. 8th). Check out our interview where Scott shares tips on what you can do to also become a choreographer in the biz one day.
The multitalented Galen Hooks has solidified herself as an L.A. icon, thanks to her fierce moves and detailed, versatile choreography. As a teen, the L.A. native assisted choreographer Marguerite Derricks on movies including Donnie Darko and shows like "That '70s Show." Hooks graduated from Penn State University and has worked with artists including Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Usher, and Miley Cyrus. These days, you might also recognize her from her viral videos—she's had over 60 million views across her social media pages. —Courtney Bowers
Pam Tanowitz's dances are a lot like diamonds: They dazzle with compositional brilliance, reveal even more facets when you look closer, and are the products of an unusually intense creative force. Growing up in The Bronx, NY, Tanowitz trained at the Steffi Nossen School of Dance before getting a BFA from Ohio State University and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. A two-time Bessie Award winner, she's earned countless fellowships and sets work on companies and universities across the country. Here's where she finds inspiration. —Helen Rolfe
It's no secret that we're kind of obsessed with the new-ish boy band on the block, PRETTYMUCH. And why shouldn't we be? These boys don't just carry a tune, they can also groove to the beat—and despite the high bar the Backstreet Boys set back in the day with their super dancy music videos, it's not super common these days. What's even more unique is boy bands collaborating with some of the best choreographers in the business. Enter, Ian Eastwood. The dance phenom has been working with the boys on a number of different projects, including their latest release "Summer on You."
Dancer and choreographer Sherrie Silver is living her best life. The 23 year old, who's most recent choreography was featured in Childish Gambino's controversial "This Is America" music video, continues to bring African dance to the forefront of pop culture with the help of Vogue magazine. Brooklyn is the perfect backdrop for this dancing queen as she breaks down five of her favorite Afro dance moves: the Gwara Gwara, the Hipjook, the Neza, the Snakula, and the Shaku Shaku.
Whether it's for a gig at school, a community theater production, or just for fun, the first time you choreograph a dance can be both exhilarating and intimidating. The Young Choreographer's Festival is a platform that helps choreographers ages 18-25 gain experience by giving them a platform to present their work. The festival gives the newcomers a chance to grow as artists as they receive feedback from some of the best in the business. We caught up with eight established choreographers, artistic directors, and instructors who mentored at this year's YCF to find out what mistakes new choreographers should be aware of—and how to avoid them.
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The unlikely pairing was announced today by Jackson's estate. Wheeldon will serve as both director and choreographer for the new musical inspired by Michael Jackson's life, which is aiming for a 2020 Broadway opening. This will be Wheeldon's second time directing and choreographing, following 2015's Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.
Grace VanderWaal's soulful song "Florets" has inspired a stunning, dance-filled music video that will leave you swooning. This dance delicacy is the passion project of choreographer Kristin McQuaid, whose work has appeared on "So You Think You Can Dance" and "America's Got Talent."
Choreographing a dance means standing alone at the front of the studio…right? Not necessarily! Many choreographers prefer making work with a partner. Two heads can definitely be better than one, but creating collaboratively does come with some strings attached. Whether you're working in a duo or group by choice or you've been assigned to develop a piece with someone else, try these tips to foster a positive process.
The City of Angels can be overwhelming—so many cool, artsy hot spots, so little time. How can a dancer decide where to take class, eat, shop, or sightsee? We turned to four pros living in L.A. for local recommendations. They crafted their ideal itineraries for all things dance and more.
Working with choreographer Mia Michaels seems to be at the top of every dancer's bucket list. In her decades-long career, she's collaborated with music greats including Prince and Céline Dion; crafted Emmy-winning pieces for "So You Think You Can Dance"; created dreamy works for her own company, RAW; choreographed Broadway's Finding Neverland; and worked with a little troupe called The Rockettes. Now, with the release of Michaels' new book, A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys, out May 1, dancers far and wide can benefit from her career-making advice. Dance Spirit sat down with Michaels to get the inside scoop.
The world isn't always a welcoming place for LGBTQIA+ people. But for those figuring out their sexuality, dance can provide welcome opportunities for expression. We talked to five star dancers about their experiences coming out and growing up, and how dance helped them live their full truth.