These Are Our Confessions

In my March editor's letter (if you haven't received the new issue, you will soon—it's our Ballet Issue and the cover is to-die-for!), I spill one of my great dance confessions: I used to hate ballet. 

I wasn't disciplined enough to get through a long series of pliés, I wasn't quick enough to master petit allegro and I cared more about the number of pirouettes I could do on pointe than how my technique was getting through them.

Sometimes, I shamelessly admit, I would skip my ballet class entirely and I'd scoot off to Subway for a meatball sub. (Maybe I also lacked the disciplined diet many ballerinas embody...oops.)

But I don't want to be the only one confessing here! So I got the Dance Spirit editors to chime in with their own slightly embarrassing tales. (And I hope you'll share yours, too! You can leave 'em here in the comments or Tweet us with the hashtag #mydanceconfession. Fess up—we won't tell!)

From Rachel Zar, managing editor:

  • I've never seen the classic dance movie The Red Shoes, but when it comes up in conversation with other dancers I pretend like I have so they don't judge me.

From Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor:

  • I've accidentally lost the following items onstage: a full wig, a tiara, a pointe shoe, both false eyelashes, one of the Nutcracker's arms and my top (yikes).

From Michael Anne Bailey, assistant editor, fashion:

  • I love performing, but I hate choreographing. I created routines for several high school drill teams while I was in college because I needed the money, but I always wished I were dancing with them instead.

And another one from yours truly: When I was a sprightly young DS intern, I was talking to one of the editors about a dancer in the corps de ballet at some company. Only instead of pronouncing it correctly—like "core"—I said this girl was in the "corpse" de ballet. Horrifying...

Dance News
(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
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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