Dance News

One of the best parts about being a dancer is getting to see the world. And whether you're prepping for a Nationals competition weekend, a weeklong summer intensive or a six-month international tour, one thing is clear: Dancers pack a lot of stuff. (I mean, lbh, you'll always need that fifth pair of pointe shoes—oh, and definitely a dozen pairs tights, just in case.)

Stroming with her Tumi gear—a Tegra-Lite case and Sinclair purse (via

Well, the folks behind the luxury suitcase brand Tumi might have had that in mind when they chose Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alison Stroming to rep their newest luggage line, Tegra-Lite. Stroming has been named a Tumi Global Citizen, joining nine other international travelers who rely on Tumi's products to get their jobs done.

Even if you aren't in the market for new travel gear, check out Stroming's ad campaign. It's 100 percent the most beautiful ad for luggage you've ever seen:

It's that back-to-school time of year—and apparently nothing sells notebooks and pens and new fall fashions like adorable dancing kiddies. (Well, duh.)

Both H&M and Kmart recently released ads featuring some seriously talented young'uns, and they are our new favorite things.

H&M chose a straightforward approach, just letting a group of eight (smartly dressed) munchkins dance it out:

Kmart, however, took things to another level. "[The School Bus Is] My Limo" is a full-on music video (they've used little clips of it as a series of commercials) for the world's greatest kiddie rap song. It features Da Rich Kidzz, a Minneapolis group of crazily charismatic rappers aged 10-13. And as in all great music videos, there's a lot of sweet dancing involved in "My Limo." (The little guy in the blue headphones—I can't even. So cute!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tyce Diorio leading auditions in Las Vegas during "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 4 (photo by Kelsey McNeal/FOX)

Every audition experience is unique. But whether you’re hoping to land a spot in a commercial or on an NBA dance team, certain situations are bound to occur. Read on to learn what top agents and casting insiders swear you’ll encounter at almost any audition.

1. There are going to be curveballs. Choreographers and casting directors can change things up on a whim, so be ready for anything. Abrams Artists Agency’s Brooklyn Lavin suggests coming armed with copies of your headshot and resumé, an array of shoes—including heels, dance shoes, tennis shoes and tap shoes—a makeup bag and multiple wardrobe options. “If your agent tells you it’s a burlesque, sexy look and everyone at the audition looks like a nun, you need to be prepared to wing it,” Lavin says.

That “go with the flow” motif applies to dancing, too, says “Glee” associate choreographer Brooke Lipton. “You never know what casting directors or choreographers will throw at you,” she says. “Be versatile and be prepared.”

2. The day will be long and crowded. Whether there are dozens, hundreds or even thousands of dancers showing up, the audition will surely take at least half a day, according to Lavin. Bring water and healthy snacks to keep your

energy level high, and always allot enough time for traffic, checking in, stretching and warming up. “Expect a huge line,” says Lavin, who represents dancers including Neil Haskell and Chelsie Hightower. “I recommend showing up at least 30 minutes before audition time to sign in.”

3. All eyes will be on you from moment one. If you thought the only thing that mattered was your short time performing in front of the judges, it’s time to retrain your brain. “Your audition starts the moment you walk into the casting room or studio,” says Jenn Proctor of McDonald/Selznick Associates. “The decision makers are paying attention to your every move, even if you think they aren’t, so be the best version of yourself—the whole time.”

4. It’s going to be overwhelming. It’s a universal truth that auditions are intimidating—regardless of your experience level. “Lots of dancers get into the room with 300 other people and feel overwhelmed, thinking, No one will see me,” says Lipton, who casts about 250 dancers every year. “There are awesome dancers who get on the floor and bomb because they’re so scared of the process.” Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and regain focus on your audition. No one else matters.

Choreographer Marguerite Derricks judges the talent at the "Fame" auditions (photo by Saeed Adyani)

5. Things will move quickly. Though the wait may be long, things will ramp up at lightning speed once the audition is underway. According to Lavin, most choreographers only spend about 15 minutes teaching the combination, after which dancers usually break into small groups and practice together before their turns. “Most audition combos are taught quickly and can be very difficult, so it’s good to take plenty of

advanced classes to prepare,” says Proctor. “That way, your body will be used to picking up challenging choreography rapidly. And remember, the more auditions you attend, the better you’ll get at auditioning in general.”

6. You might mess up. Even if you have the combo committed to memory, it might magically disappear when the pressure’s on. How you handle it is what will make or break your audition. “Don’t roll your eyes when you make a mistake. I can’t tell you how bad that looks,” says Lipton. She recalls one “Glee” hopeful who made several mistakes during her audition, but still booked the job “because she looked so strong and beautiful in what she was doing—it almost made everyone else look wrong. Confidence is the biggest booking magnet.” Don’t panic, keep your expression neutral and believe in yourself and your ability to book the gig.

7. You’ll need to show your freestyle finesse. Freestyle has become an increasingly common part of auditions, and most choreographers will want to see your unique style of movement. Both Proctor and Lavin typically tell their clients to prepare a few 8-counts beforehand, especially if they feel uncomfortable going off the cuff. “It’s so important for any dancer, whether ballet or hip-hop, to practice freestyling in the mirror,” Lavin says. “It helps you see what’s going on with your body and face and whether you have quirky mannerisms.”

8. It will be hard to read the decision makers. At any given audition, you’ll likely be evaluated by a panel including the choreographer, his or her assistant(s), casting directors, producers and/or other behind-the-scenes types. Lipton says it’s futile to try to read their minds, as there’s often chaos happening on the other side of the table. “We’re trying to read five resumés at a time and take notes, so if we don’t smile, it doesn’t mean anything,” she says. “The best thing you can do is make direct eye contact with everyone at the table—those are the dancers who catch my attention.”

9. Things might not go your way. You may find out whether you’re hired on the same day as the audition, or you might be contacted a few days later for a callback. If neither of those things happen, you’re probably not on the short list, Lavin says—and that’s OK. “Even if you gave the most amazing performance of your life, even if you have a relationship with the choreographer and think you have the job nailed, you may not get it,” she says. “There are so many factors that weigh into hiring decisions.”

10. This won’t be your only shot. Lipton urges dancers to keep trying even in the face of rejection. “You’re more likely to be turned down than you are to get the job,” shares Lipton, who spent three years auditioning before her first booking. “Too often, dancers give up early and make judgments about why they didn’t get the job. Instead, stay and see who was hired and why. What were they wearing? How did they dance? Copy the things that work, and above all, keep coming back.”


Dance News

If you've ever wondered what it's like to work at Dance Spirit, the new Microsoft Surface Pro commercial gives you a bit of an inside glimpse.

OK, no. It doesn't. That's not us in the commercial.

But the spot—which was directed by hot shot Jon M. Chu, choreographed by Jamal Sims and Christopher Scott and aired for the first time during the Grammys—does feature plenty of our favorite people, including Daniel "Cloud" Campos (the man of my dreams)...

...and the newly-engaged tWitch and Allison Holker. In fact, see that table everyone's dancing on throughout the "executive meeting?" Well, rumor has it that when filming wrapped, tWitch got up on that table to bust a freestyle move, and then grabbed Allison to join him.

And then—boom!—tWitch dropped to one knee, said a bunch of romantical things, gave Allison a diamond and asked her to marry him. Oh, and her family was there to surprise her, including her so cute daughter, Weslie.

But yeah, other than all those details, this commercial is basically just a day in the life at DS...Enjoy!

Want more? Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the commercial:

Dance News

I love a good throwback commercial—especially of the dance variety.

Lately, having dancers promote your product in the background of your ad is pretty standard. Duh, dancers make everything better.

But casting dancers in commercials is nothing new, and I especially adore when a commercial features great dancers and a "not a girl, not yet a woman" celebrity who can groove right along with them.

Case in point: The 2006 "For those who think young" Pepsi commercial featuring one of my all-time faves, Ms. Britney Spears.

The girl could sing (um, more or less).

The girl could dance (totally).

And oh yes, the girl could sell a product to even a non-soda drinker like myself.

Super-choreographed commercials? Whatever you're selling, I'm buying.

Click here to watch Brit Brit dance through the decades and push Pepsi products to fangirls (AKA me) worldwide.


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