What It Takes to Win Gold at the USA International Ballet Competition
A very elite group of young ballet dancers—including Elisabeth Beyer, Madison Penney, Quinn Starner, and Robbie Downey—are super busy right now prepping for the USA International Ballet Competition, which kicks off June 10th. One of the most prestigious comps in the ballet world, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, MS, and boasts a ton of luminary alums, including Gisele Bethea, Alys Shee, Daniil Simkin, Jeffrey Cirio, Sarah Lamb, and Rasta Thomas (to name just a few).
So, what does it take to impress the judges at such a high-profile event? USA IBC jury chair John Meehan, a professor of dance at Vassar College, talked about the qualities that make a competitor stand out:
1. Look for passion within technique. Meehan encourages the idea that a dancer's passion and technique go hand-in-hand. "Good technique shows up at competitions, as there are many wonderful dancers with high levels of technique; but then, along comes somebody with this 'other dimension'—something that somehow speaks to you in a deeper place," said Meehan. "There has to be something that stays with you...when you leave the performance; it has to touch you. That is the difference between a good and a great dancer."
2. Details matter. The same variations of dance that serve as the repertoire for the USA IBC have existed for hundreds of years...[Meehan says] the small details incorporated into a performance that deviate from the norm...allow a dancer to stand out. "Many jurors are looking to see what freshness is brought to the competition; it's always fascinating to see the details."
3. Trust yourself. According to Meehan...there [isn't] one "right or wrong" element when it comes to ballet...."There is something special about the humanity of ballet...You have to let the performance wash over you, and maintain, or exceed, that feeling in the second and third rounds, as well."
Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2018 Cover Model Search finalists: Sydney Burtis, Shelby Patterson, and Jacalyn Tatro! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's October 2018 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.
Because winning the Junior Division on last summer's inaugural season of "World of Dance" (suuuuuuuuuuper casual) just wasn't enough.
Where to begin?! We're still picking our jaw up off the floor after last night's insanely impressive "World of Dance" episode, one that was so jam-packed with standout performances and familiar faces, we don't even know how to recap it in all its glory! (!!!) Without further ado, here's what went down last night:
We caught up with former Rockette Trina Simon at Showstopper's Myrtle Beach dance convention to get her expert advice on how to work as a professional dancer. Trina's work on Broadway has given her insight into the key things to focus on as a professional dancer looking for jobs and making a name for yourself, whether you are new to the world of professional dance or you have been making your way from one audition to the next for a while.
Every good trip to NYC should include a Broadway show (or three!), and there are a TON of brilliantly dancy musicals to see right now. But Bway tix can be expensive, especially on a dancer's budget. Which is why we are allll about Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual event that brings some of the greatest stuff happening on the Great White Way to the great outdoors—for free.
The unlikely pairing was announced today by Jackson's estate. Wheeldon will serve as both director and choreographer for the new musical inspired by Michael Jackson's life, which is aiming for a 2020 Broadway opening. This will be Wheeldon's second time directing and choreographing, following 2015's Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.
Ballerina Sara Michelle Murawski and her looooooong legs have taken to the streets. And the grocery store. And the subway. And the Brooklyn Bridge. The reason for her epic journey: A new Insta account, @danceinthebigapple, featuring Murawski and her "ballet twin," Saverio Pescucci, as they dance their way through NYC.
Ballerina Whitney Jensen's incredible lines and extraordinary grace have captivated audiences around the world. At 10, Jensen won the silver medal at the Youth America Grand Prix NYC finals, and at age 16, she was the first American to win the highest possible distinction at the Varna International Ballet Competition. Jensen started dancing in Salt Lake City, UT, at The Dance Club, followed by The Jacqueline College School of Classical Ballet and Ballet West Academy. When she was 11 and 12, she performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC, and, after, moved to the Big Apple to train full-time at Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory of New York. She joined Boston Ballet in 2009 and became one of the company's youngest principals in 2014. In 2015, Jensen took a short break from ballet before accepting an offer with the Norwegian National Ballet, where she's currently a soloist. —Courtney Bowers