Here's the thing about "Dancing with the Stars": These days, it seems like the pros have become celebrities in their own right, shining just as bright as the starlets and boy-banders and Olympic athletes they partner. And how great is that? In what other context could world-class ballroom dancers achieve such huge mainstream fame? Just look at Derek and Julianne Hough, for goodness' sake—they're everywhere, and it's amazing.
Last night's episode opened with one of the shows' most devoted pros, Mark Ballas, taking center stage to perform his first solo song, "Get My Name." In sound and look, Ballas seemed to be channeling JT, which is something I'll never discourage. But I'm really in this for the dancing, which means I was even more excited by his smokin'-hot swing dance interlude with the smokin'-hot Witney Carson. (Can we also talk about the amazingness that is the "So You Think You Can Dance"/"DWTS" overlap? It's fun to see some of the best "SYT" ballroom dancers—especially BFFs Witney and Lindsay Arnold—in their natural element 100% of the time over on "DWTS.")
I won't get into Abby Lee Miller's guest judging (ehhh), but I will say I was sad to see Danica McKellar go home last night. Both she and partner Val Chmerkovskiy are class acts. (McKellar has also been my fitness inspiration for the past few months. Dang, Winnie Cooper!)
In case you missed it, I'll leave you with video of that Mark Ballas extravaganza. Enjoy!
(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.