The New Doc “Dance Family” Shows the Positive Impact of Dance Competitions
Here's a frustrating truth: While those of us who're involved in the world of dance competitions understand how awesome they are, the larger world's perception of them is pretty darn negative, thanks to reality TV's funhouse-mirror portrayals of the scene. And that's why Dance Network's new documentary, "Dance Family," is such a breath of fresh air.
"Dance Family" is a deep dive into the happier realities of dance comps—specifically, Star Dance Alliance's Starpower competitions. It features interviews with SDA co-founder/CEO Gary Pate, his fellow co-founder Grace Wakefield and a host of dancers and teachers who've found success and fulfillment thanks to their Starpower experiences. (The impressive list includes Debbie Allen and Ade Obayomi.) Because that's what dance competitions are, to the vast majority of artists who participate in them: places to learn, excel, get inspired and find a "dance family" of your own.
Usually you'd need a Dance Network subscription to watch the documentary, but the site is currently offering a two-week free trial to new subscribers. (You'll see the option pop up when you create an account.) Check out the trailer below:
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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.
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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer