Kaylee Randall is a freelance writer, fitness instructor, and professional dancer with experience in theme parks, on cruise ships, and as a Vegas showgirl. Click here to read Kaylee's chronicles of dancing around the world in her blog.
The dance world is brimming with superstitions. One of the most common is never to say "good luck" before a show, since everyone knows uttering the phrase is, in fact, very bad luck. Actors say "break a leg" instead. But since that phrase isn't exactly dance-friendly, you and your dance friends probably tell each other "merde" before taking the stage.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "merde" is a French exclamation that loosely translates to, er, "poop." So how did dancers end up saying "merde" to each other instead of "good luck"?
To learn more, we spoke to Raymond Lukens, associate emeritus of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum, and Kelli Rhodes-Stevens, professor of dance at Oklahoma City University. Read on—and the next time you exchange "merdes" with your castmates before a show, you'll know why.
The Super Bowl is America's most-watched television event. Last year, when the incomparable Justin Timberlake took center field for the halftime show, more than 106 million viewers were watching his every move—and that's not even a record!
What's it like to perform for such an incredibly huge audience? Dancer Tony Bellissimo has plenty of experience with high-pressure dance gigs, having worked with artists including Rihanna, Britney Spears, John Legend, and Chris Brown. But stepping out alongside Timberlake during last year's halftime show was a next-level experience. We talked to Bellissimo about how he scored such a coveted job—and how he handled the pressure.
Two young American dancers, Mikaela Kelly and Jordan Pelliteri (a former DS Cover Model Search finalist!), recently landed their dream jobs with the prestigious second company NDT 2, of Nederlands Dans Theater. So they packed up and headed abroad, ditching NYC subway trains for bicycles in The Hague, Netherlands.
Dancing abroad becomes about so much more than just working (although these girls work 13-hour days most of the time). It's also about traveling, being homesick, dealing with unexpected cultural differences, and potential language barriers. So, what's it really like to dance in Europe? We caught up with the pair to find out.
Trailblazer (noun): a pioneer in any field of endeavor.
It seems like choreographic duo Keone and Mari Madrid are always exploring uncharted territory. The husband-and-wife team have a well-earned reputation as dance pioneers, starting a decade ago (long before dance videos were a thing) with their mind-bending YouTube clips, and now with their impressive multidisciplinary work. Having an open mind about where their interests might lead has allowed them to seize opportunities within the dance world—and beyond it. "We stay curious and try not to be fearful," Keone says. "We take the risk and see what happens."
We caught up with the creative couple to talk about their latest projects: a unique dance e-book, Ruth, and an innovative full-length show, Beyond Babel.
Las Vegas has been home to some of the most fabulous shows of all time—including, these days, the dance-filled Jennifer Lopez showcase All I Have. What's it like to perform on The Strip with a world-class artist? We asked J.Lo dancer Natalie Romero for the inside scoop.
When you ask successful commercial dancers why they started dancing, you tend to hear similar stories: Their 5-year-old selves turned on MTV and obsessed over "Thriller" and "Vogue," and they ended up dancing for hours in the living room, mimicking the iconic choreography and falling in love. Music videos were so many dancers' first inspirations.
But what's it really like to dance in a music video? Ysabelle Capitulé, who was featured in Bruno Mars' retro-chic "Finesse" vid, shares her experience fulfilling those living-room dreams.
It was Valentine's Day when then–16-year-old Lia Cirio auditioned for Boston Ballet—and was hired on the spot. Every year since, Cirio has celebrated February 14th as not only a day for teddy bears and chocolates, but also as the day she became a professional ballet dancer.
Now, Cirio is a principal at the company, and she knows firsthand that it takes more than a solid supply of pointe shoes (though she can go through 30 pairs in a week!) to survive the ballet world. From the glowing highlights to the frustrating letdowns, Cirio shares what it's really like to be a principal dancer in a world-class ballet company.
These days, dancers are on television more than ever before. From live shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars" to teen sitcoms like "Shake It Up," flip through your TV lineup and you'll see dancers in more than just music videos and award shows.
But what is it actually like to dance on TV? We caught up with Tiffany Maher from BET's hit drama series "Hit the Floor" to find out. Dance is the focal point of "Hit the Floor," which centers on the Devil Girls, dancers for the faux-NBA Los Angeles Devils. Maher (who's also a "SYTYCD" alum) took some time out between rehearsals, fittings, and catching a flight to teach at Tremaine Dance Conventions to give us the behind-the-scenes scoop—and to explain what exactly "bacting" is. Because we definitely don't know.