The Dance We're Thankful for This Year

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you're enjoying this wonderful day of feasting. In the spirit of the holiday, we thought we'd reflect on the dance things we're grateful for this year. Here are our editors' top picks.


Katherine Beard, assistant editor

"I'm thankful for the next generation of black ballerinas who are making the ballet world more diverse and accepting; another mind-blowing season of "World of Dance"; one of the most dance-filled Taylor Swift tours yet; and the pint-size dancers of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" who've proven that while they may be small, their dance moves aren't. But most of all, I'm grateful for fellow dancers and dance fans like you, who read Dance Spirit and are as excited as I am to get the latest scoop on all things dance!"

Courtney Bowers, managing editor

"This year, I'm super grateful for Hannahlei Cabanilla's "So You Think You Can Dance" win (I was a HUGE fan from Day 1); for ballerina Jay Ledford and the courageous and candid way she let us share her journey as a transgender ballerina (oh, and also I'm amazingly grateful for her SUPER gorgeous lines and feet because I could literally stare at them all day); and for the new musical The Prom which just opened on Broadway and is one of the most adorable, hilarious, energetic, dancy, and heart-warming shows I've seen this year."

Olivia Manno, assistant editor

"The dancy things I'm thankful for this year are: Biscuit Ballerina's meteoric rise to fame (as if anyone had any doubts—she was always destined for trina status); the fact that making dance memes is in my job description; and that I somehow was lucky enough to be alive to witness the SpongeBob SquarePants musical, which was the greatest Broadway show I have ever seen (and will ever see) in my entire life."

Helen Rolfe, assistant editor

"This year, I'm very grateful for the brave dancers who have spoken out in order to make the dance world a safer and more equitable place. I'm also still feeling so #blessed to have witnessed American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary's INCREDIBLE performance in Arthur Pita's psychological dance play The Tenant. (Kevin McKenzie, promote that woman to principal already!) And last but certainly not least: Whenever I think about quitting Instagram, Mark Kanemura's joyfully wigtastic clips keep me coming back for more #CutToTheFeelingFridays. Thank you for keeping Instagram [wonderfully] weird, Mark."

Latest Posts


Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search