The Dirt with Karla Puno Garcia

The Addams ancestors. Karla is in the center, dressed as a Native American. (Jeremy Daniel, courtesy Type A Marketing)

Karla Puno Garcia is one seriously versatile performer. Dubbed a contemporary dancer on Season 5 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the D.C. native wowed the judges with her strong technique and fluid movement. She was also a hard-hitting member of hip-hop crew Boogie Bots from “America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 2. But Karla’s skills go far beyond the TV competition world. She’s toured with Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance, performed behind the likes of Jordin Sparks and Akon, and is now making her mark on the Great White Way. Her musical theater chops have earned her dancing roles in the 2005 national tour of Wicked, the 2006 Broadway show Hot Feet and the Broadway revival of West Side Story in 2010.

At only 26 years old, Karla’s not slowing down—she’s now showing off her creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky side in the touring cast of The Addams Family musical. Check out theaddamsfamilymusicaltour.com to see where Karla and the rest of the cast are heading

next, and read on for The Dirt!

Most-played song on your iPod: Lately it’s been “Moves Like Jagger,” and plenty of Bruno Mars and The Roots.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure? Watching “The Real Housewives” and “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”

One thing most people don’t know about you: At 10 years old, I created full productions in my basement with my little brother and sister. We had costumes, lighting cues, sets and choreography. It was intense!

Who would play you in a movie? Could Mila Kunis do it? I love her.

Favorite city in the world: So far it’s New York, baby! Lanai, Hawaii, and Sydney, Australia, are amazing too.

Who is your dance crush? All the boys I did West Side Story with. That choreography brings out such a strong, masculine energy.

What is your pet peeve? When someone taps you repeatedly with their index finger to get your attention.

What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag? When I first moved to NYC, my dad gave me a can of pepper spray to protect myself. Luckily, I’ve never had to use it.

Dancer to Dancer
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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?

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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.

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