This New York City Ballet Video Will Make You Feel All the Feels
Sometimes when we’re not feeling our best, the Internet saves us. We laugh at funny 30-second vines. We get inspired by our favorite dance videos. And eventually we stumble upon something that makes us feel purely grateful—like this heartwarming Upworthy video about a New York City Ballet outreach project.
The video starts off with narration by Natalia Armoza, whose young daughter, Pearl, has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects balance, movement and posture, all things necessary for ballet–which means that Pearl would struggle if she ever stepped into a class. Armoza tells us that NYCB does offer dance workshops for young children, but none had catered to those with disabilities. Wanting the same opportunity for her daughter, she wrote a letter to the company asking if they could arrange a workshop solely for these children.
Natalia and Pearl at Lincoln Center
What came next exceeded her expectations. NYCB reached out to Joseph Dutkowsky, M.D., a cerebral palsy specialist, and organized not one but four specialized workshops. The classes were taught by NYCB principals, Adrian Danchig-Waring and Maria Kowroski, with Dutkowsky's help.
Before you click play, prepare to get emotional. For once in their lives, these children had an opportunity to move without limitations. Moments like these remind us how empowering and moving dance can really be.
(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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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?
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?' "