The Dirt: Yuriko Kajiya

American Ballet Theatre soloist Yuriko Kajiya has crystal-clear technique that dazzles audiences—including the “So You Think You Can Dance” crowd, which gave her a huge ovation after she performed the Don Quixote pas de deux on the show during Season 7. This month, Kajiya will put that technique to good use as one of the grown-up Claras in ABT’s new Nutcracker, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. With her petite, delicate frame, Kajiya is a natural choice to play the “not a girl—not yet a woman” holiday heroine. Catch her and the rest of the company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, December 22 through January 2—and read on for The Dirt!  —Margaret Fuhrer


If you could work with any choreographer, past or present, who would it be? Petipa, Balanchine, Ashton, MacMillan...I would LOVE to see how all the greatest ballets are created.

Must-see T.V. show: Top Chef. I also like CSI.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure? I love ice cream!

One thing most people don’t know about you: I left home when I was ten and went to Shanghai Ballet School. As a result I speak Japanese, English and Chinese fluently.

What did you want to be when you were a teen? Nurse, flight attendant, and a ballerina.

One thing you can’t live without: My MacBook Pro

Favorite city in the world: New York! I am so happy that it is my home.


(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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Cover Story
Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated remake of West Side Storychoreographed by Justin Peck, and starring a bevy of very good dancers—is in production, hooray! And that means it's finally time for us to get a look at the film's cast members in character. Let's break down the first photo from the project.

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