Kyle Froman, courtesy Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Ailey II Standout Caroline Theodora Dartey on Beyoncé, Bad Habits, and Why She Doesn't Need to Dance "Pretty"

With effortless extensions, sky-high leaps, and equal parts elegance and strength, Ailey II company member Caroline Theodora Dartey is impossible to miss onstage. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Dartey actually started out training in rhythmic gymnastics, where she earned both national and international titles. She later took up dance, training at the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique, Danse et Théâtre of Geneva before deciding to move to NYC to pursue her dream career. She joined The Ailey School as a scholarship student in 2016, and is now embarking on her second season with Ailey II. Catch Dartey on tour with Ailey II all over the world this fall, and read on for The Dirt.


Do you have any favorite quotes or mantras?

"I am not my hair." —India Arie

What's your favorite food?

Fried plantain with rice and lentils.

Who's your dance crush?

Kenzo Alvares

Who is your dance role model, and why?

I have several, but right now I really follow Izzy Odigie. She is an Afro-style dancer. I think she has such a unique way to move and I love that.

What do you love most about dance?

I love moving my body in a way that feels good. It doesn't have to be "pretty." It should be REAL.

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?

Yes. I forgot the step: the step was on the floor and I was the only one standing up in the middle.

Do you have any bad dance habits?

I sometimes don't warm up...

If you could work with any performer, past or present, who would it be?

BEYONCÉ

What's the strangest thing in your dance bag?

My kneepad made from a sock.

What's your biggest piece of advice for young performers?

If you want something, just GO FOR IT. PERIOD.


A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt: Caroline Theodora Dartey."

Latest Posts


Photo by Joe Toreno. Hair by Marina Migliaccio and makeup by Lisa Chamberlain, both for the Rex Agency.

Sienna Lalau: The Dynamite Dancer and Choreographer Helping BTS Make Magic

At just 20 years old, Sienna Lalau is the living definition of "dynamite dancer": bold, confident, almost addicting to watch, and, at her core, overflowing with pure passion. From her work with The Lab Studios to Video Music Award–winning choreography for BTS, there's no stopping this starlet from bringing her love of dance to the global stage.

"Dance is something that can truly connect people," Sienna tells Dance Spirit. "It's a universal language. We may not speak the same language physically, but when we dance, there's a connection where we understand each other on another level."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Go Behind the Scenes of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”

School is back in session at East High, and we've never been so excited to head to class.

Premiering May 14 on Disney+, Season 2 of "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" brings the gang back together for a production of an Alan Menken classic, Beauty and the Beast. But before the final pedal can drop, chaos, drama, self-discovery and (of course) love ensue.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Heights Digital, Courtesy Marideth Batchelor

Viral TikTok Couple @cost_n_mayor Are the Dance Mom and Dad We All Need

Coming across a @cost_n_mayor TikTok on your "For You" page is like meeting a new bestie at competition: You instantly connect. From creating (and crushing) viral dance challenges to sharing the #relatable struggles of dancers (and couples, and dancer-couples) everywhere, the social media duo appeals to pro dancers and amateurs alike—and it shows, considering their 1.5 million-and-counting following on TikTok.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search