The Time of Their Lives: Dance Celebs Share Amazing Prom Stories
Right now, you're probably getting pretty pumped about one major high school milestone: Prom! Do you have your dress yet? Did you work up the courage to ask that special someone? Are you planning the best-ever post-prom party? We thought so.
Dancers do prom in the best way. I mean, getting dressed up and dancing the night away? That's kind of our M.O. To get in the spirit of all things prom, Dance Spirit asked a few of our favorite pros about their big nights—and what they had to say is just so cute!
Tookey looking fab with husband Gene Gabriel at the 2011 Emmy Awards (via Zimbio.com)
I wore a floor-length, velvet (yes, velvet!) wine-colored dress with a sweetheart neckline and a long slit up the side. I also wore long white gloves, like I was royalty or something. My mom did my hair—which, in that pre-blonde era, was brown—in an updo. (Actually, that hair is the only part of the outfit I'd reprise today. Go, mom!) It was 1994, and I thought my outfit was amazing.
At the reception, my date pulled out my chair for me, and like the dancer I am, I sat down in a wide, turned out second, and I ripped the slit of my dress all the way up to my waist! I was so embarrassed. But my very sweet date gave me his suit jacket, and I wore it all night.
Kyle Hanagami can certainly bust a move now! (Jayme Thornton for DS)
I went to prom with a bunch of friends. I think I wore a suit... I don't really remember, but I'm sure it wasn't super cool. What I can remember is standing on the dance floor and being terrified to dance! I didn't start dancing until after I graduated high school, so I couldn't even two-step. How embarrassing!
Dowling in her real wedding gown with husband Reza Fakrieh (via @joeydowling)
When I was a sophomore, I got to go to prom with a guy I thought was the hottest boy in school. He was a junior, and he was blonde, tan and buff—he looked like a surfer. I remember shopping for my dress with my mom, and thinking how absolutely perfect it had to be. I found it: A white halter dress with a low back and beading all the way up the front. I probably looked like I was about to walk down the aisle...but I thought it was gorgeous! I wore my hair in a high French twist with the ends hanging out and curled. (That was big back then.)
The prom was held in the Capitol building in my hometown. The whole night felt like a fairy tale. Date dances in high school were usually lame and awkward, but that night was one of the best of my life!
Prom! A young Torbert posing with friends from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (Courtesy Torbert)
Ade Chike Torbert
I ended up asking my girlfriend at the time to prom. But because we didn't start dating until the end of the school year, we had both originally planned to go with close friends of ours—so it was a little tough breaking the news to them.
I wore an all-white suit with a white fedora and a champagne-colored vest. I was definitely the best-dressed! We all had such a great night. Our prom was held at this beautiful venue by the South Street Seaport in NYC, and there was a ton of food and great music. Then we boarded a yacht and continued to party until the wee hours of the morning.
Not going to prom this year? You're not alone. Many of the dancers we spoke with confessed they never made it, either—they were too wrapped up in their dance commitments. Take former New York City Ballet soloist (and current Dance Spirit columnist!) Kathryn Morgan, for example:
Morgan with Seth Orza in NYCB's Romeo and Juliet (Paul Kolnik/NYCB)
Unfortunately, I never got to go to a real prom. I was hired by New York City Ballet at the end of my junior year of high school and finished school online. I do, however, consider my debut as Juliet my "prom." I was 17, and it was a huge deal for me. There was a beautiful ballroom scene, and that was a pretty great prom substitute! I wore three dresses and had two hairstyles: up for the first half of the evening, and half-up/half-down for the second. My "date" was my Romeo, Seth Orza...though he was engaged to someone else!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.