Dancer to Dancer

It was almost exactly three years ago that "left shark"—a dancer in a giant foam shark costume who was FEELING HIMSELF during Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime performance—grooved his way into our cold, hard hearts. The world fell in love with the fish gone rogue. And that love? It's still burning.

Just in time for this year's Super Bowl, the real human behind left shark—aka Bryan Gaw, a former pro dancer (he's since become a hair stylist)—has penned a story for The Washington Post. The confessional-style piece describes what actually happened out there, what it felt like to become a meme, and what he learned from the whole experience.

You guys: It is really, really good.

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Dance News

No wonder Gisele Bethea is such a sweetheart! (Photo by Nathan Sayers)

Um, this is amazing: A new study suggests that dancing might make you more empathetic.

As The Washington Post reported, the study (which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance) found that professional ballet dancers showed unusually strong emotional sensitivity. As the study's subjects—one group of dancers, and a control group of non-dancers—watched brief, silent video clips of classical ballet, electrodes attached to their fingers measured their sweat responses, which indicate emotional reaction. And the dancers among them were much more responsive.

That makes sense, of course: Professional ballet dancers are ballet experts, so you'd expect them to register a ballet performance more acutely. But that's actually the coolest part of the study: It suggests that because dancers have studied how to convey emotion onstage, they're more attuned to the physical expressions of others. Which means it might be possible to train yourself to be more empathetic—and that the dance studio isn't a bad place to start.

Our takeaway? Everyone should dance. IT'S SCIENCE!

Learn more about the study in the great WaPo article, which is definitely worth a read.

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Dance News

When audiences watched Washington Ballet's premiere performance of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Sueño de Marmol, they could've missed "wow" moments like this with just the blink of an eye. (Photo by Brianne Bland)

We're all about power moves here at DS—you know, those characteristic tricks that add a spark to your routine...that make your audience go "WOW!"

Whether it's an impressive jump, a daring lift or a dizzying pirouette combo, part of what makes these moments wow-worthy is how fleeting they are. Blink your eyes and you risk missing the pinnacle of Kitri's grand jeté in Don Quixote. And even if you keep your eyes open, you probably won't see the complicated hand shifting that goes on during the jaw-dropping Cheshire Cat lift in ALICE.

If it seems like we've got ballet on the brain, it's because this week, The Washington Post's PostTV did a special on "Ballet's hardest dance moves" with Washington Ballet. In the clip, seven dancers show off their power moves...but they're in slow motion so you can really see what's going on. Check it out!

Bonus round: Care to polish some power moves of your own? Find out how to do Alexia Meyer's Super Cabriole, Ashi Ross' Tilt Drop, Kamille Upshaw's Ring Jump, Jakob Karr's Layout or Zoey Anderson's Leg Hold Turn.


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