The year 2011 was filled with show-stopping onstage moments and exciting offstage drama. Whether you were captivated by New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns’ 32 fouettés in Swan Lake or danced along in your seat as Sutton Foster led the Broadway cast of Anything Goes through a series of time steps, there’s no doubt you were entertained. Here are the people who kept us on the edge of our seats in 2011.

—Alison Feller

In Ballet

  • Sarah Lane. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

    When Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Academy Award for her role as a twisted-but-talented ballerina in Black Swan, she neglected to thank her dance double, American Ballet Theatre’s Sarah Lane, in her acceptance speech. Later, Lane stood up to the movie industry by demanding credit for her work.

  • New York City Ballet principal Jenifer Ringer danced the Sugar Plum Fairy role in the company’s Nutcracker, last year, and while most gave her a standing ovation, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay remarked in his review that it looked as though she’d “eaten one sugar plum too many.” Ringer quickly became a role model for women everywhere when she went on “Oprah” this February to discuss the critique and proclaim that she thinks her body is just fine. So do we, Jenifer. Rock on!

  • As if Alexei Ratmansky wasn’t already the busiest man in ballet, he just extended his contract as American Ballet Theatre’s resident choreographer through 2023.

  • Company tours are a lot of work. This year Ballet Nacional de Cuba embarked on its first U.S. tour in five years, hitting four cities along the way.

  • American Ballet Theatre principal (and star!) David Hallberg became the first American dancer to enlist permanently with Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet.

  • The Broadway production of Wonderland. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

    Everyone wanted to go down the rabbit hole: Productions of Alice in Wonderland popped up everywhere, from ballet stages (The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and Royal Winnipeg Ballet all showed versions) to Broadway (Wonderland was short-lived, but the choreography by Marguerite Derricks was quirky and fun).

On Broadway

  • Apparently Harry Potter can sing and dance—or at least his real-life alter-ego can. Daniel Radcliffe drew massive crowds and rave reviews when he starred in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. No magic wand needed.

  • The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus.

    The Book of Mormon was easily the most controversial debut on Broadway this year. The show, penned by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Avenue Q co-writer Robert Lopez and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, may have offended some audiences, but it impressed the Tony Award voters and took home nine honors, including Best Musical.

On the Comp Scene

  • Joe Lanteri, executive director of New York City Dance Alliance, changed 44 young dancers’ lives this summer when he presented $2.8 million in college scholarships. Go get those diplomas!

  • Selecting the DS Cover Model Search finalists is never easy, but this year there were three dancers who stood out: Kaitlynn Edgar, Maddie Swenson and Zoey Anderson. All three hail from the competition circuit, and all three were wildly impressive.


  • Melanie Moore won the title of America’s Favorite Dancer on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 8 and landed on the cover of DS!

  • When Beyoncé revealed her baby bump at the MTV Video Music Awards, she proved she runs the world—and so do her choreographers, Frank Gatson, Sheryl Murakami and Jeffrey Page. The trio won the VMA for Best Choreography for Beyoncé’s “Run the World” video.

  • When Laurieann Gibson wasn’t throwing together award-winning choreography for Lady Gaga, she was starring on her own TV shows on E! and BET. We’re not necessarily on board with her screaming fits and harsh treatment of her dancers, but we do respect her moves.

  • Amanda and D'Angelo on "Live to Dance." Photo by Monty Brinton.

    Paula Abdul’s “Live to Dance” wasn’t a hit, but it introduced us to D’Angelo Castro and Amanda Carbajales, who became the show’s champions. These tiny dancers won us over with their personalities and technique.

  • Lil’ Buck may have been the coolest guy to get us talking this year. He starred in Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” video and helped make jookin’ mainstream. His “Swan” performance alongside Yo Yo Ma? Breathtaking.

On the Big Screen

  • Natalie Portman accepts her Oscar for Best Actress. Photo by A.M.P.A.S.

    She may not have done all the dancing as Nina, but Natalie Portman’s Black Swan performance was definitely Oscar-worthy. Plus, she met Benjamin Millepied, her boyfriend-turned-fiancé and father to her child, Aleph, on set.

  • While no one can truly replace Kevin Bacon, Kenny Wormald proved that he’s a stud with smooth moves in this year’s remake of Footloose. Plus, his onscreen chemistry with costar Julianne Hough made us want to drag our own boyfriends to dance class.

  • In First Position, audiences get a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes action at the Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC. The documentary and its stars—Michaela DePrince, Joan Sebastian Zamora, Miko and Jules Fogarty, Aran Bell and Rebecca Houseknecht—received rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In Modern Dance

  • Bill T. Jones + Dance Theater Workshop = New York Live Arts. We love a good collaboration.

  • When Judith Jamison retired as artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Robert Battle was handed the reins to the prestigious modern company. We can’t wait to see what he does with the group in 2012.
Dance News

Whether you're a musical theater buff or someone who lives for the Step Up franchise, you have to admit that dance movie scenes are often (all too) representative of real life. Here are five of our favorite scenes that, despite being silly and/or fantastical, somehow manage to reflect how we feel.

1. Did you just get cast in your dream role? Ace a test? Is "You Can't Stop the Beat," from Hairspray, running through your mind right now? It's an amazing anthem to sing to yourself when you feel unstoppable.

2. The warehouse dance scene in the original Footloose is legendary. This is how we deal with casting disappointments when nobody's watching.

3. "Good Morning," from Singin' in the Rain is so cheerful that it's easy to forget the song is sung by exhausted people who have just pulled an all-nighter. But anyone who says they don't do a victory dance when they come up with a great idea is lying.

4. Does the audition scene in Flashdance perfectly capture all of our audition anxiety? YES. But like any successful dancer, Alex shows exactly why she's unique—and it wins her a spot at a prestigious art school. Also, her high-cut leo and legwarmers are everything.

5. "We Go Together" from Grease perfectly encapsulates our feelings at the end of the school year or a summer intensive, or after a show closes: We're both relieved and sad that everything is over, but we know we've had an amazing bonding experience with our friends and colleagues.


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Dance News

Is it Friday yet? WOMP. If you, like us, are suffering from a severe case of the Mondays, we've got a little something to ease your pain (or at least distract you from whatever productive thing you "should" be doing).

You know we love a good dance-in-movies supercut, and today, we're sharing perhaps the most epic montage yet. It features 88 dance scenes in just over three minutes (88!)—and it's set to Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance," which is pretty much always good advice.

The coolest thing about this supercut is its range: It has your classic dance flicks—Dirty Dancing, Center Stage, Footloose, Save the Last Dance, Flashdance, White Nights—and a number of movies you wouldn't automatically associate with dance. Like who'd have thought to include Perks of Being A Wallflower in a dance supercut? Or what about She's All That, or (500) Days of Summer? This supercut genius thought outside the box, and we're pretty pleased with the results.

Now that we've given you a head start, it's time to test your dance-in-movies chops. Watch the supercut, and see how many of the 88 scenes you can name. (Or, you can cheat and read the comments—the movies are listed frame by frame.)

Dance News

Dance Spirit's January cover girl, Sophia Lucia, on the red carpet before the Dance Awards in NYC (photo via @sophialucia5678)

Chock full of utterly amazing dance talent, silly jokes and wild choreography, the 2014 Dance Awards closed out its NYC event last night at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The three-and-a-half-hour celebration really had it all—from spectacular Mini performances to archival footage of a young, tap dancing Gil Stroming to awards for seemingly every category known to dancerkind. The Dance Spirit editors certainly had a blast. Here are my top five highlights of the evening:

1. The Mini and Junior Male Best Dancers. Mini Brady Farrar from Stars Dance Studio stole my heart with his solo "You." And later in the evening, Junior winner Findlay McConnell from Elite Danceworx (the big winner of the night!) brought the house down with his performance of "Dance with Me." Seriously, you need to watch these guys, stat.

Here's Brady:

And here's Findlay (the picture is a little blurry, but just know his facial expressions are perfect):

2. DanceMakers of Atlanta's "Take Me Out." This routine was fierce at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals a week ago, and it was even fiercer onstage last night. These teens aren't only amazing performers, but each dancer also brings something of herself to the choreography—all while maintaining perfect synchronicity with her peers. Moreover, these girls are versatile, going from style to style with ease. Case in point? Senior Brianne Sellars won the title of Best Dancer for her contemporary solo "Movement"—a total departure from the hard-hitting moves in "Take Me Out." Here's Brianne in "Movement," which also earned a 1st runner up title for Senior Female Outstanding dancer at NYCDA Nationals:

3. Dance Town's "Ballroom Girls." These Minis can sure move those hips! I can hear Mary Murphy screaming in the distance as she hands out Hot Tamale Train tickets. Watch these little firecrackers go:

4. Sophia Lucia's "All This to Say." Dance Spirit's January cover girl—who was crowned Junior Female Best Dancer—did not disappoint last night. With extensions, emotions and moves like these (choreographed by none other than Stacey Tookey), it's pretty easy to see why she's insta-famous. One thing we can all take away from this rising star's stellar performance? Wearing two shoes—or none at all!—can help mask a serious case of one-sidedness, unlike the one-shoe approach in this clip:

5. The Kenny Wormald as Kevin Bacon Ren McCormick–inspired opening number. Gosh darn it, I just love a good Footloose throwback. And what's better than one Footloose number? Two! Mandy Moore and Nick Lazzarini's crowd-pumping choreography for both the opening and closing routines left the night on such a high note. Take a look at the Footloose footage from the 2014 Dance Awards in Las Vegas. It will surely motivate you to tackle the rest of your day.

Dance News

First things first: We love Jimmy Fallon.

This TV show host has proven himself a worthy friend of dance. Since taking over the "Tonight Show" in February, he's brought us such dance-tastic segments as "The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing" with Will Smith and the "three-legged pants dance" with Cameron Diaz. I mean...the man has a velvety dance bag of classic moves. What more could you ask of him?

But on Friday, something shocking happened: Jimmy Fallon announced the "Tonight Show"'s new ban on dance! GASP.

Fortunately, Kevin Bacon, star of the 1984 film Footloose, was there to save the day with the most epic entrance ever:

For those of you not getting the reference (or for those of you who've only seen the 2011 remake featuring the lovely Julianne Hough and the dashing Kenny Wormald), get your hands on a copy of the original Footloose ASAP—or rent it on Amazon for just $4!

But we do have a bit of a bone to pick. During Bacon's post-entrance interview, he introduced his body double from the acrobatic interlude circa 2:22-2:36 (a competitive gymnast named Andrés). However, neither Bacon nor Fallon ever credits the dance double responsible for the silhouetted dance sequence at 2:06.

C'mon guys!

It's time to set the record straight: Andrew Madsen—whose theater credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Wicked, and who's performed on "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"—was Kevin Bacon's dance double in this Footloose flash-forward. And while we're at it, Danielle Flora—who's worked with Janet Jackson, on MTV and on "SNL"—is the choreographic mastermind behind it all. Thanks guys! (And we still love you, Jimmy.)

Why is it that short weeks always feel the longest? If, like me, you've woken up each of the past three days thinking it was Friday, never fear, my friends: I have a video that will snap you right out of your funk.

What is this magical film, you ask? It's a supercut of all (well, most) of the great dance scenes in movies. And as if that weren't enough, it's set to "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.

We've got Singin' in the Rain and Saturday Night Fever and Footloose (old AND new), Dirty Dancing and Pulp Fiction and Austin Powers, even Mean Girls and Little Miss Sunshine and Silver Linings Playbook. (It looks like there might be a few music videos slipped in there too, but we're not going to complain about seeing Michael Jackson's moves anytime soon.)

Let the healing begin:

A scene with the corps de ballet in Black Swan. Courtesy Summit Entertainment.

With technology, pretty much anything is possible onscreen these days—but no visual effects can compare to the feeling of watching a dancer take the floor for real. That’s where a dance double comes in. Dance doubles step in for actors when scenes call for highly technical dance moves. Thanks to clever camera work, audiences often don’t notice the swap.

That was the problem for Black Swan dance double Sarah Lane, an American Ballet Theatre ballerina who subbed for Oscar darling Natalie Portman in the flick. Lane made headlines by speaking out about the fact that she’d done the majority of the dancing that Portman received credit for in the media. Yet other dancers rave about their experiences on similar jobs, like Las Vegas–based Jackie Dowsett, who has played double to both Cameron Diaz and Cher. “As a dancer, you’re happy to land a job where you’re on set, working with such incredible actresses,” Dowsett says.

So what’s it really like to be a dance double? We chatted with several dancers who’ve been there and done that to find out! Meet Jackie Dowsett, Jessica Cropper (one of Cate Blanchett’s dance doubles in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Marcy McCusker (who doubles for “a top-secret A-list pop star”) and choreographer Marguerite Derricks.

Looking the Part

Dance ability is key to landing a dance double job, but being a physical match for the talent is even more crucial. “When you hire a double, you’re looking for the star’s twin,” says Derricks, who has choreographed dozens of movies and recently cast Emma Stone’s double in Crazy Stupid Love. “You have to match them up, especially the body type, height and skin tone—you even need similar facial features for side shots.”

McCusker agrees. “You’re ultimately getting the job because you fit the exact specifications they need,” she says. “So if your resumé says you’re 5' 4" and 115 pounds, it had better be true—you can’t lie about your height and weight if you want to be considered for these jobs.”

Of course, some things can be altered, as Dowsett found out when she auditioned to be Cameron Diaz’s double in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. “Choreographer Tyce Diorio asked if I’d be willing to dye my hair blonde,” says Dowsett, a brunette, who also wore blue contact lenses for the role. “The reason I got the job was mostly about my measurements, the fact that I was tall and that I could partner.”

Those weren’t the only physical changes Dowsett made to “become” Cameron Diaz. “I’d had knee surgery and gained 10 pounds in the six months I was out, so when I found out I’d have to wear a skimpy outfit, I was mortified,” she says. “I didn’t want Cameron to be disappointed in her body double, so I decided to lose the weight. There are definitely certain sacrifices you might have to make in order to take a role.”

Being a double also means imitating the talent in other ways, as well. On the set of Benjamin Button, Cropper studied Cate Blanchett’s personality and “regal, queenlike presence” in order to re-create it onscreen. Same with McCusker, who had a blast playing a pop star in a music video and performing her choreography full-out onscreen: “Dancing ‘as her’ felt like just as much of an acting job as it was a dance job,” she says. “Every artist or actor has a certain way they move or carry themselves, and you have to be able to emulate it.”

On the Job

So what does a dance double do, exactly? The requirements vary widely depending on the type of job. In Cher’s Las Vegas show, Dowsett wore a Zoot suit and danced “as Cher” onstage to allow the star time for a wardrobe change. On the What to Expect  set, she stepped in to do lifts and partnering in a cha-cha scene featuring Diaz and “Glee” star Matthew Morrison.

Dancer Jackie Dowsett was a double for Cher during her Las Vegas show and in the film Burlesque. Courtesy Jackie Dowsett.

“As a double, you’re there in case they need an extra trick or style that requires a professional dancer,” says Dowsett, whose work on Cher’s stage show also led to a gig as a

double in the film Burlesque. “Sometimes the choreographer will also ask you to go over the counts with the actors or help them remember a step.”

In some cases, dance doubling may lead to other responsibilities on set. On Crazy Stupid Love, the dance double Derricks cast for Emma Stone was such a dead-on physical match that she did other scenes as a stunt double, and Cropper ended up doing underwater and love scenes for Cate Blanchett on Benjamin Button. This can sometimes lead to a pay bump, as can being the double for one of the movie’s leads.

Dance doubles might also be used to cut down on the amount of time an actor has

to spend on set. “Let’s say Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are supposed to be dancing on the floor,” says Derricks, who choreographed Mr. & Mrs. Smith. “You shoot the front of Brad and the back of the dancer doubling for Angelina—if you have a dancer dancing with the actor, they look better. It’s a great way to use the dance double.”

Another way Derricks utilizes doubles is in what she calls her “skeleton crew.” She’ll assemble a group of dancers and stage the choreography for the director’s approval. “Ninety percent of the time I workshop it on dancers first, present it to the director and then teach it to the actors,” she says. “That way any necessary creative changes can happen before the actors learn it.”

All Guts, No Glory?

In the wake of the Sarah Lane controversy, dance doubling has been a topic of debate. Some think Lane was right to claim credit for Portman’s dancing, whereas others think being a behind-the-scenes double is what Lane signed up for. So do dancers deserve more credit for these kinds of jobs?

“From my perspective, you’re not doing it to be famous—you’re doing it to create

a really cool end product for this actor or performer,” McCusker says. “The ballet world

is different because they’re not necessarily used to the smoke and mirrors of TV and film—it’s not Lane’s everyday job, so that’s likely why she was resentful in the end.”

Both Dowsett and Cropper say that their double jobs were among their favorite so far in the industry. For Cropper, it was her first professional job after graduating from the EDGE Performing Arts Center’s scholarship program, and she says she would “do it all over again if I could. Hands down, it was one of the best job experiences I’ve had.”

Twice the Fun

Take a look back at some of the most famous dance flicks that used doubles:

Flashdance: It took a whole village to pull off the fast-paced, flashy moves featured in Flashdance. Among the dancers subbing in for Jennifer Beals were French dancer Marine Jahan, break-dancer Crazy Legs and gymnast Sharon Shapiro.

Footloose: Remember Ren’s romp through the Roller Mill? With the release of the recent remake, Kevin Bacon explained that he had a stunt double, a dance double and two gymnastic doubles for the scene.

Center Stage: Though many of the actors in this flick did their own dancing (like Amanda Schull and Ethan Stiefel), Béjart Ballet dancer Aesha Ash stepped in for Zoë Saldana, who played Eva.

Many dancers long for the day when they’ll hear those words: “You’re going to Hollywood!” So how do you deal when it actually happens?



Whether you’re headed to the City of Angels as part of a prize package or making the move on your own, navigating a new city can be overwhelming—especially in a place where so many dancers are vying for the same dream. To get you off on the right foot, we’ve compiled a go-to guide of need-to-know info for any aspiring L.A. starlet.

Sneak Peek: Footloose Audition

Ever wondered what an industry audition is really like? Wonder no more! Dance Spirit snagged an exclusive invite to the open agency call for the movie Footloose, Hollywood’s hottest remake, and we’re ready to dish all the details. Held in August, the audition attracted hundreds of dancers hoping for a shot at performing in the film. Here’s a rundown of the jam-packed day, along with insider advice from Bloc Agency’s Laney Filuk.

9 am: Dancers start to converge on Center Staging, a studio-like lot near the Burbank Airport. More than 100 female dancers form a line outside Studio 11, where the Footloose audition will take place. The first half of the day is all about the girls, while the guys will take over for the last few hours of the audition. Each dancer is given a number and asked to provide her referring agency and contact information. Eighties looks are the name of the game, from studded belts to scrunched socks to tiered bubble skirts. Neon is definitely where it’s at.

Tinseltown tip: Is dressing on theme a good idea? Sometimes, advises Bloc Agency’s Laney Filuk. “It can make you stand out in a room with a multitude of dancers, and it shows you’ll go the extra mile,” she says. However, Filuk cautions that it’s important to do your homework first. “For this audition, dancers who researched the director would know that he also did Hustle & Flow, which is a very rough, raw movie,” says Filuk. “This version of Footloose is said to be a grittier, more modern-day hip-hop version of the original, so dressing ’80s may have been a risky move.”

10:15 am: Spirits are high as choreographer Jamal Sims welcomes the first group of approximately 75 dancers into the studio. Lots of dancers greet and hug; it’s clear that many of them regularly hit up the audition circuit together. With Dondraico “Draico” Johnson and assistants (or “protégés” as Jamal calls them) Bianca Brewton, Myke Dizon, Christina Glur and Miguel Zarate, Jamal demonstrates the combo of six

8-counts, set to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Full of kicks, snaps and fast-paced turns, the choreography is true to Footloose form.

10:30 am–11:15 am: Lots of dancers are still waiting in line, so the first group is ushered outside to practice the choreography. During this time, two more groups come in to learn the same combo. Dancers are trickling in throughout the learning process, so it seems some of them will have to pick it up faster than others! For many, the hardest move appears to be a rise up from the knees onto the toes.

11:15 am: The initial group returns—it’s time for the first round of auditions! Before it begins, Jamal gives some direction to the hopefuls: He’s seeking realistic “high school types” of all shapes and sizes, who don’t necessarily come off as Hollywood dancers. “Throw your training out the window and just dance and have fun,” he advises. Everyone practices the combination together once, and then the formal audition kicks off.

Tinseltown tip: Make sure to show up at least 45 to 60 minutes early for any audition, says Filuk. Not only can parking and traffic in L.A. be extremely unpredictable, but arriving with ample time to spare can also give you a leg up on the competition. “When you get there and see hundreds of people already there before you, it can put you in a different frame of mind and offset your whole vibe,” Filuk says.

11:20 am: Jamal and his crew sit at a table, with a video camera set up behind them to capture the action. Dancers are called in groups of six to perform for the judges, while the others offer cheers and whoops of support from the sidelines. Each group does the combo twice, switching lines so the judges can see each person. In the beats before the first 8-count, the dancers freestyle and ham it up with each other. After each group, the dancers are given a simple “thank you” and then exit; they won’t know the results until the agents receive bookings weeks later.

11:45 am: The first round is finished, and the second round of dancers load in. A quick survey of the crowd reveals some familiar faces from “So You Think You Can Dance,” including Kayla Radomski and Katee Shean. Center Stage: Turn It Up star Rachele Brooke Smith is also in the house. It’s clear this is one coveted gig.

12:15 pm: While the auditions have been happening indoors, more dancers have lined up outside in anticipation of the second agency call at noon. (Even though each audition portion is the same, arrival times are staggered to help thin out the crowds.) In order to keep things running on time, Jamal sends his assistants to the parking lot to start teaching the combo. There are about 350 female dancers vying for the job, for which Jamal is casting six different dance scenes. “Every girl in L.A. wants to be part of it,” says Katee, who worked with Jamal on Miley Cyrus’ “Can’t Be Tamed” video.

1 pm: Director Craig Brewer stops by to observe the audition and see the prospective dancers in person. Bianca brings in reserves of apples, nuts and energy bars for Jamal and the other judges—it’s been a long morning! But the energy is still rockin’, and every time a group performs, Jamal is clapping and singing along.

2 pm: It’s showtime for McDonald/Selznick Associates-repped dancer Jasmine Ejan, whose past gigs include the World Music Awards and Celine Dion’s A New Day DVD. She has a promising start, but then falls down during her audition. Afterward, she’s bummed but chalks it up to a “c’est la vie” moment. “I gave it my best shot, laughed and kept going,” she says. “Hopefully I’ll get the chance to audition for Jamal again and I can do more than fall!”

3:15 pm: Bring on the boys: It’s time for the guys to audition! More than 300 male dancers gather for their shot at the spotlight. It seems the guys are having an easier time with the much-dreaded toe rise move. “This piece is extremely athletic,” Jamal says. “The toe rise really requires a lot of power.”

4 pm: Another guy joins the mix, but it’s not a dancer candidate—it’s the film’s star, Kenny Wormald! Unassuming and friendly, he blends into the background to watch the auditions along with Jamal and the others.

5:15 pm: That’s a wrap! All of the dancers have auditioned, and now Jamal and Draico will spend the next several weeks reviewing headshots and audition videotapes before filming begins in Atlanta. “My challenge is to find real people that can naturally dance and retain choreography, but don’t look like they’ve been training for years,” Jamal says. “It’s about stripping away all of the technique and dancing like ‘normal people.’ This story is a celebration of dance for everyone!”

Tinseltown tip: So what exactly is an open agency call? It’s basically a large audition that all dancers from various agencies can attend, whereas other auditions are typically limited by specifications (i.e., B-boys, dancers of certain heights or ethnicities, etc.). Agents receive word several days before and send out the information to their full mailing lists.

But for those who haven’t snagged an agent yet, don’t despair: Filuk says that by keeping your ears open, you can have your shot as well. “These are not auditions listed in Backstage or posted on dance websites—the information can be funneled out through people who have agents,” she says. “If you’re able to find out about open auditions, chances are slim to none you’ll get turned away.” Filuk suggests following prominent dancers on Twitter and reaching out to your personal network to stay in the loop.

Get Studio Savvy

Sneak a peek at any dancer’s to-do list: Taking class is usually right at the top. Navigating L.A.’s studio scene is easy once you know the major players. Most professional commercial dancers train at Hollywood’s EDGE Performing Arts Center or North Hollywood’s Millennium Dance Complex and Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio. But relative newcomers, like Culver City’s Your Neighborhood Studio, Hollywood’s International Dance Academy and choreographer Ryan Heffington’s The Sweat Spot in Silverlake, are also making a splash.

Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio 

EDGE Performing Arts Center

International Dance Academy

Millennium Dance Complex

The Sweat Spot

Your Neighborhood Studio

See the Stars

Always wanted to attend a TV taping? Snagging a spot may not be as hard as you think. Tickets for shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” are just a click away!

For “ABDC” tickets, visit:

For “DWTS” and “SYTYCD,” visit:

Experience it All: Four things that should be on every dancer's L.A. bucket list

Do the touristy thing. Break out the camera, because L.A. is bursting with Kodak moments. A walk down scenic Hollywood Boulevard provides plenty o’ photo opps—from the Mann’s Chinese Theatre to the star-studded (literally!) Walk of Fame. The Hollywood sign is another must-see, with great vista points on Mulholland and Beachwood Drives. If beachy beauty is more up your alley, drive down the Pacific Coast Highway for some wow-worthy views.

Get on the move—outdoors! It’s easy to stay in shape in L.A., where the great weather makes being active fun. Hit up Runyon or Beachwood Canyon for a hike, or head west to climb the famous Santa Monica Stairs. Runyon Canyon offers free outdoor yoga daily, and Westwood’s W Hotel hosts free poolside yoga classes in the summertime. Peaceful and healthy!

Party at the pool. You’ve worked hard for your dancer body—now go show it off at one of L.A.’s many summertime shindigs! Lots of hotel hotspots hold regular pool parties, with the Hollywood Roosevelt, The Standard Hotel and Shangri-LA being just a few. And for those under 21, visit the Annenberg Beach House—a great place to get your swim on.

Enjoy live entertainment. It’s no secret that L.A. is prime territory for everything from TV tapings to live music to comedy to theater. So how do you choose from all the options? Start with these staples: the Hollywood Bowl, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, the Choreographer’s Carnival and Disney Concert Hall. The Ford Amphitheatre also offers a fabulous Summer Dance Series, and Cinespia’s summer movie lineup at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is not to be missed.

Appreciate Dance

L.A.'s dance innovation doesn't happen only on camera. Lots of daring dance companies are also making waves on the West Coast stage. Don't miss these six trendsetters currently setting the creative pace:

  • Collage Dance Theatre
  • Method Contemporary Dance
  • Los Angelese Contemporary Dance Company
  • Lux Aeterna
  • Invertigo Dance Theatre
  • L.A. Ballet



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