Train and SoulPancake Harness the Power of Dance to Spread Awareness
Your teenage years can be exhilarating—you're beginning to discover who you are and who you want to become. Perhaps you've begun to define yourself as a person and a dancer, exploring your strengths and weaknesses and what makes you unique. And maybe that process is helping you solidify your list of goals for the future.
But this journey of self-discovery can also be confusing and terrifying, and almost every teen goes through periods of uncertainty. For some, that struggle becomes all-consuming. According to HealthyChildren.org, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it's a good time for us to remind ourselves that at any given moment, we have no idea what the person next to us is going through—whether it's our best friend or a complete stranger.
With this reality in mind, the band Train teamed up with SoulPancake (the geniuses who brought us Kid President) to create "Give It All," a music video that spreads awareness of mental illness in teens. The video, which was released today on USAToday.com, deals specifically with loss, one of the major life challenges that can make us feel hopeless.
Izzy (left) and Ashleigh in a still from "Give It All"
Who better to convey such a heavy and poignant message than a pair of teen dancers? Train's lead vocalist Pat Monahan found 16-year-old Israel "Izzy" Harris at his daughters dance studio, and instantly felt confident in the teen's ability to carry the song. Ashleigh Mitchell, 17, joined Izzy in the chilling and heartbreaking duet, choreographed by Tani Ohashi and Kelly Bahr of Backstage Dance Studio in Bellevue, WA.
While there's no doubt "Give It All" is a sad music video, it has a constant undercurrent of hope, particularly at the end. We get a sense that while Izzy will never forget Ashleigh, he will move on. It will get better.
Help spread the message, and if you or any one you know is struggling, visit the online Suicide Prevention Hotline or dial 1-800273-TALK (8255).
(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?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.