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
If there's one thing that's better than witnessing The Nutcracker from the audience, it's getting an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into the production. Luckily, Pacific Northwest Ballet agrees with this sentiment—the company just released an amazing video offering a peek backstage.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Hope Boykin shares the best tips she learned. (via Instagram, @hbdance)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater recently hosted their first Choreography Unlocked Festival, where artists in the business of creating dance gathered to immerse themselves in workshops, performances, and panel discussions. Young choreographers learned tips, tricks, and all about the creative process of choreographing from Ailey's Artistic Director Robert Battle and other choreography experts, including Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit albums Dangerous Woman and Sweetener, or her most recent, thank u, next, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.
They're blazing new trails in the dance world—and beyond it. (courtesy Keone and Mari Madrid)
Trailblazer (noun): a pioneer in any field of endeavor.
It seems like choreographic duo Keone and Mari Madrid are always exploring uncharted territory. The husband-and-wife team have a well-earned reputation as dance pioneers, starting a decade ago (long before dance videos were a thing) with their mind-bending YouTube clips, and now with their impressive multidisciplinary work. Having an open mind about where their interests might lead has allowed them to seize opportunities within the dance world—and beyond it. "We stay curious and try not to be fearful," Keone says. "We take the risk and see what happens."
We caught up with the creative couple to talk about their latest projects: a unique dance e-book, Ruth, and an innovative full-length show, Beyond Babel.
Mary Grace McNally's "Not for Picking" (Rachel Papo for Dance Teacher)
What's better than a competition that gives promising choreographers a whole bunch of funding? How about a competition that also puts on a must-see show as part of the process? That's the genius model of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. Every year since 2009, the contest has brought upwards of a dozen finalists, selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants, to present their choreography in a fabulous showcase at the Dance Teacher Summit. On Saturday night, we got to see the work of no fewer than 21(!) talented finalists in this year's performance.
The judging panel—whose task we did not envy—featured boldface names Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Tessandra Chavez, and Dance Magazine Editor in Chief Jennifer Stahl. Who'd they select for the top prizes? The winners are...
What do you get when dance all-stars like Fik-Shun Stegall, Heather Morris, and Christopher Scott join forces for a movie? That'd be All Styles, the new dance film that just might give Step Up a run for its money. And you can watch the trailer exclusively right here.
It took no fewer than three years for choreographers Chris Martin and Larkin Poynton to create Project Home, a 45-minute film that brings together artists from all over the world (including the inspirational Mari Madrid!). And their finished product is sure to take your breath away. Seriously, guys: It's beautiful.
Tracie Stanfield's company, SynthesisDANCE performing at the 2017 Young Choreographer's Festival (Photo by Jaqi Medlock, courtesy Young Choreographer's Festival)
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.
"Him" is about Smith's struggle to find his place in religion as a gay man. As Gay Pride parades and festivals happen all across the world, the message behind "Him" is an issue at the forefront of peoples' minds everywhere. Hanagami and his group of dancers—including Evan Debenedetto, Michael Dameski, and Macy Swaim—bring Smith's powerful lyrics to life through passionate movement and striking edits.
Kayla Radomski and Sam Krumrine perform choreography by Kristin McQuaid in a dance music video (Courtesy Red Pebbles PR)
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."
Choreographic partners Audrey Lane Ellis (right) and Sarah Capua of a+s works (courtesy a+s works)
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.