Olympic gymnast, recent Mirror Ball Trophy winner and all-around adorable human Laurie Hernandez has gifted us the most AMAZING holiday present of all time: a video of her stopping by New York City Ballet to learn a dance from The Nutcracker. 🙌
The video, shot by Teen Vogue, shows principal Lauren Lovette leading Hernandez in a barre warmup (along with other NYCB dancers) and then teaching Hernandez a bit of the Sugarplum Fairy's variation. Obviously Hernandez's technique isn't ballerina-worthy, but she's a great student and super eager to learn—it's clear her passion for dance is 💯. (She also SLAYS the #studiostyle game. Polka dotted tights?! Yes, Laurie, YES.)
Check out the full video of her visit below, including her final solo performance on the iconic David H. Koch stage at Lincoln Center. It's the gift that keeps on giving—replay to your heart's desire. (Seriously, it never gets old.)
If it wasn't already clear that a decades theme is never wrong, this week's "Dancing with the Stars" episode officially proved it. Eras Night was just so fun to watch (the costumes! the stories! the group dances!). The couples performed pieces based on various time periods—from the Roaring Twenties alllll the way to the 90s—and it was everything you'd hope a time-traveling "DWTS" ep would be. Let's take a look at the historical highlights:
Our fave of the night was the adorable and bubbly 1940s jitterbug from James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess. Hinchcliffe has had a tendency to be a tad flat acting-wise throughout the season, but last night he wowed the crowd (and the judges) with his believable commitment to the dance's love story. (Those insane somersault lifts he pulled off didn't hurt either.) Also, major props to Burgess for pushing through an injury.
Next on our best-of-the-night list is Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold's '50s-inspired jive. Long story short: When Len Goodman calls your dance a "polished, high-octane performance," you know you've done something right.
Our eternal faves Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy grooved their way to prom with a '60s-style quickstep, which was adorable, technically on point and super high-energy. Hernandez also sweetly admitted that this was her first prom because she's been home schooled. Aww.
Then there were those insanely awesome group dances. The dancers were split into Team Past and Team Future—and Team Past (Maureen McCormick, Artem Chigvintsev, Hinchcliffe, Burgess, Johnson, Arnold, Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke) ultimately stole the night with their haunting, soft and graceful Viennese waltz to the "Outlander" theme song.
Alas, someone had to be sent packing—and last night that was Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev. What do you think? Did the right pair go home? Let us know!
First things first: If you weren't already thoroughly #TeamLaurie, you are ABSOLUTELY aboard the Laurie train after the events of this two-episode week of "Dancing with the Stars." Can we call the mirror ball trophy winner in week two? We can, and we will: Laurie Hernandez is pretty much never going to leave the top of the "DWTS" leaderboard, and that is exactly as it should be.
But there's still a fight for second place! And when that fight involves fake-Olympic-medal bloopers and a surprisingly likeable Vanilla Ice, it can be darn entertaining. Who rose to the top during TV Theme Week (i.e., did NOT do a sensual cha cha to a children's cartoon theme song, eeeeep)? Let's dive right into the highlights.
First up: the jive that reconfirmed our love for Laurie, aka the human embodiment of the happyface emoji. On Monday night, she and Val Chmerkovskiy danced to—oh my gosh—the "Duck Tales" theme song, which started them at a baseline score of 10, and the irresistibly fun choreography kicked things up yet another notch:
Monday night's episode also gave us Terra Jole and Sasha Farber's sweet—and technically impressive—quickstep to the "Bewitched" theme. As Julianne Hough pointed out, the retro routine fit Terra to a T:
Rounding out Monday's high-scoring routines was Babyface Edmonds and Allison Holker's suuuper-steamy Argentine tango to "The X-Files" theme. It featured lots of green lasers and, possibly, Holker as an alien. All of which—what? And yet, somehow—YES!
Finally, we have to give a shout to Mandy Moore's rainbow-hued number for the always-excellent "DWTS" pro troupe, which graced Tuesday night's results show. Sadly, the video isn't online at the moment, but it was the happiest happy that ever happied, and Maks Chmerkovskiy's rear end was prominently featured, so.
— Official DWTS (@DancingABC) September 21, 2016
— Official DWTS (@DancingABC) September 21, 2016
After all that, Jake T. Austin was sent packing. And Lochte lived to "jeah" another day. What did you guys think?
We called it (well, almost)! One of the fabulous Final Five is going to be cha cha-ing her way around the "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom in two weeks. And while Simone Biles might have to wait until next season to don her dancing shoes, the gymnast gracing the floor this go-around is an even more natural fit for "DWTS": Laurie Hernandez, whose deliciously dance-y Olympic floor routine earned her a forever home in our hearts.
We'd like to request that all her "DWTS" routines begin with this exact wink, please and thank you. (via Giphy)
The full Season 23 "DWTS" cast list was revealed this morning on "Good Morning America," and while some of the other celeb choices left us scratching our heads (Ryan Lochte? Jeah no), there's lots of happy news on the pro front. For starters, the lovely Allison Holker is returning to show off her incredible post-baby body (dancing with, fittingly, Babyface). But also: Maks is back! Derek is back! CHERYL IS BACK, YOU GUYS!
Get your spray tan on and pull out your favorite bedazzled mini (as if you aren't already wearing it): Season 23 premieres Monday, September 12 on ABC. Here's the full cast list:
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Amber Rose
Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Laurie Hernandez
Artem Chigvintsev and Maureen McCormick
Sasha Farber and Terra Jole
Derek Hough and Marilu Henner
Witney Carson and Vanilla Ice
Lindsay Arnold and Calvin Johnson
Jenna Johnson and Jake T. Austin
Allison Holker and Babyface
Sharna Burgess and James Hinchcliffe
Emma Slater and Rick Perry
Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte
Gleb Savchenko and Jana Kramer
Want more Dance Spirit?
Tonight, U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles—two of the buzziest names surrounding this year's Rio Olympic Games—will represent Team USA in the all-around finals.
And don't get us wrong, we are all about these two superstars. Biles, at her first-ever Olympic Games, has quickly become America's Sweetheart, with all the energy, power and strength of a true athlete and fierce competitor. And Raisman, the eldest of the Final Five, has the maturity, grace and effortless demeanor young gymnasts dream of.
But we as dancers are here to represent Team Laurie Hernandez.
Hernandez is an absolute gem, and her floor routine was perfection. (The fact that it started off with a smirk and a wink sealed the deal before the music even began.) She moves with an infectious joy that gets the world to smile, and her tumbling passes are seemingly unreal. (Seriously, girl, how?) What we love best about her, though?
The girl can dance!
Good morning everyone!! https://t.co/I4PdRX6iay
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) August 10, 2016
Hernandez, a high school sophomore from New Jersey, doesn't look like the other gymnasts on the floor, who throw a few awkward, jerky "dance moves" between tumbling passes and call it dancing. There's none of that here. Hernandez moves with serious style, and her moves are fluid and fun. She seems to genuinely love performing, and isn't just in this for the flips and tricks (which, TBH, are beyond incredible). She's vibrant, she's on top of her music, and she's got visible confidence.