Why U.S. Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Is Giving Us Life On The Floor

Tonight, U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles—two of the buzziest names surrounding this year's Rio Olympic Games—will represent Team USA in the all-around finals.

And don't get us wrong, we are all about these two superstars. Biles, at her first-ever Olympic Games, has quickly become America's Sweetheart, with all the energy, power and strength of a true athlete and fierce competitor. And Raisman, the eldest of the Final Five, has the maturity, grace and effortless demeanor young gymnasts dream of.

But we as dancers are here to represent Team Laurie Hernandez.

Hernandez is an absolute gem, and her floor routine was perfection. (The fact that it started off with a smirk and a wink sealed the deal before the music even began.) She moves with an infectious joy that gets the world to smile, and her tumbling passes are seemingly unreal. (Seriously, girl, how?) What we love best about her, though?

The girl can dance!

Hernandez, a high school sophomore from New Jersey, doesn't look like the other gymnasts on the floor, who throw a few awkward, jerky "dance moves" between tumbling passes and call it dancing. There's none of that here. Hernandez moves with serious style, and her moves are fluid and fun. She seems to genuinely love performing, and isn't just in this for the flips and tricks (which, TBH, are beyond incredible). She's vibrant, she's on top of her music, and she's got visible confidence.

See?

Want more Dance Spirit?

Latest Posts


Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search