There's a Ballet-y New Musical in Town

The Degas sculpture that inspired it all.

If you're an eagle-eyed reader of DS (and why wouldn't you be?), you probably noticed an interesting little aside in our April "You Should Know" story about 14-year-old prima-in-the-making Madeleine Gardella.

The pint-sized ballerina, we learned, recently participated in the workshop for a new musical, Little Dancer, directed and choreographed by Broadway legend Susan Stroman. And Madeleine's co-star in the workshop was none other than New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck. Intriguing, no?

Well, now it's official: Little Dancer, which was inspired by Edgar Degas' world-famous "Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen" sculpture, is coming to D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in October 2014. The show will "weave real history and fiction" to tell the story of Marie van Goethem, the young student who inspired Degas' piece.

No casting for the show has been announced yet, but the use of talented ballerinas in the workshop wasn't a fluke: Apparently the lead roles are built for serious dancers. And let's just say no one at DS would be upset if Madeleine and Peck reprised their roles. Talk about a dream team!

(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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Photo by Erin Baiano

Click here to vote for Emma.

There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "

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