The Dancing Was the Best Part of The VMAs, Right? RIGHT.
Oh, the MTV Video Music Awards.
So they happened last night—shout-out to Brooklyn!—and they were...you know.
Here's the thing: The VMAs have always been awesome and edgy and it's the awards show where the celebrities can really go crazy. There was that time in the late '90s when Gwen Stefani dyed her hair sky blue and wore a matching fur bikini top, and there's always madness happening onstage (think "Taylor, I'mma let you finish, but..." Kanye-style).
Of course, we here at Dance Spirit rarely tune into these awards shows—no matter how outrageous they plan to be—hoping to catch a great acceptance speech or groundbreaking presentation of some lifetime achievement award. We're in it for the dancing, and at last night's VMAs there was plenty of killer choreography to get us excited.
No. No. No. NOOOO!
First, though, let's address the evening's tragedies, because that's fun:
Miley Cyrus, everyone is talking about you today. And it's not because you were so cool and out there and youthful and fun. It's because your nude underwear was hanging out of your weird one-piece with the drugged-out-looking bear on it, and your tongue was hanging out the entire time and everything you did was so wildly inappropriate and crass. Hannah Montana would not approve, and neither did I. And twerking? I'm over it.
OK, so that's it for the tragedies! Way to hold it down, Miley!
And, in my opinion, the highlights:
Pop Quiz: Can you name the member of *NSYNC on the far right? It's OK if you can't. Focus on the gorgeous gentleman in the middle.
Two words: Justin Timberlake. The man can do no wrong. He's talented, he's classy and yeah, he's gorgeous—he was also the real winner of the entire evening, and he also employs some darn good backup dancers! I was psyched to see so many familiar faces grooving onstage at The Barclays Center with J-Timbs, including Ivan Koumaev, Dana Wilson, Nick Bass and David Moore. The Timberlake Show lasted, what was it, 11 minutes? I was actually disappointed when they launched into the *NSYNC reunion portion of the performance because I wanted the dancers to keep going! Plus, it seems like they're having an absolute blast up there, which is a pleasure to watch.
Lady Gaga. Well, Gaga's dancers at least. They're always awesome. I was sad not to see Mark Kanemura up there with her, but thrilled to see longtime favorite Gaga dancers Montana Efaw and Sloan Rabinor getting their "Applause" on. One of my other favorites, Karen Chuang, was there, too! Well done, dancers, and way to nail those costume changes for your leading lady!
Katy Perry. Honestly, I thought her "Roar" performance was kind of "meh," but I appreciated the hyper-choreographed routine and dug the Legally Blonde: The Musical-esque jump roping portion of it.
Everything else about the night was pretty forgettable, in my opinion. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez looked pretty, the guys of One Direction looked like they were ready to battle the boys (OK, grown men) of *NSYNC and Will Smith's family looked completely terrified of Miss Miley.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.