Who's about to face this beautiful judging panel? (NBC)

Here's the Season 2 Cast of "World of Dance"—Including Some Faves from Last Season

It's baaaack! Season 2 of NBC's "World of Dance" will return to living rooms everywhere on May 29. Also baaaack? Well, judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, and Ne-Yo, and host Jenna Dewan, for starters. But some fan favorites from last season's stellar cast will also take to the show's stage again. And they'll be facing off against a slew of new competitors—although many of those faces will probably be familiar to dance-world folks, too.


This season will feature no fewer than 75 (!) acts, divided into four categories: Junior (under 17 years old, 1-4 dancers), Junior Team (new this year—under 17 years old, 5-15 dancers), Upper (18 years and older, 1-4 dancers), and Upper Team (18 years and older, 5-15 dancers). Returning from last season are the fabulous Eva Igo, The Lab, and Royal Flux. And the rest of the lineup is studded with standouts, including ballet prodigy Kaeli Ware, hip-hop virtousi Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice, contemporary queen Madison Brown, ballroom duo Ruby Castro and Jonas Terleckas, and the ever-impressive Dragon House Crew.

Here's the full list:

JUNIOR

3 Xtreme, Hip Hop group from Bergen County, New Jersey

Avery & Marcus, Contemporary/Ballet duo from San Clemente, California, & Scottsdale, Arizona

Charity & Andres, Contemporary duo from Springville, Utah

Daniel & Mishella, Ballroom duo from Los Angeles, California

Elektro Elite, Hip Hop group from Gilbert, Arizona

Eva Igo, Contemporary dancer from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

FRESHH, Hip Hop group from Vancouver, Canada

The Gentlemen, Hip Hop duo from Fairfield, California

Jaxon Willard, Contemporary dancer from American Fork, Utah

Jonas & Ruby, Ballroom duo from Miami, Florida

Josh & Taylor, Hip Hop duo from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Kaeli Ware, Contemporary Ballet dancer from Herndon, Virginia

Lil Motormouth, Popping Animation dancer from Vacaville, California

Lucas Marinetto, Tap dancer from Leesburg, Virginia

LULAS (Love U Like A Sister), Hip Hop duo from Sacramento, California, & Edmonton Canada

Madison Brown, Contemporary dancer from Wellington, Florida

Sean & Kaycee, Hip Hop Fusion duo from Los Angeles, California

Second To None, Tap group from San Diego, California

Victoria Caban, Flamenco dancer from Jersey City, New Jersey (pictured below)

Vivian Ruiz, Contemporary dancer from Miami, Florida


JUNIOR TEAM

Cubcakes Dance Crew, Hip Hop group from Orange County, California

Dem Raider Boyz, Step team from Greenbelt, Maryland

Dollhouse Dance Factory, Hip Hop group from Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Expressenz, Contemporary group from Indianapolis, Indiana

Fabulous Sisters, Urban Dance team from Tokyo, Japan

FLIP, Hip Hop/Urban Dance group from Levis, Quebec, Canada

GirlCool, Jazz/Fusion group from Los Angeles, California

Iowa Girlz, Contemporary group from Pleasant Hill, Iowa

The Lab, Hip Hop group from West Covina, California

LilKillaz Crew, Break Dance group from Minsk, Belarus

Meant 2 Be, Hip Hop group from Gilbert, Arizona

The Pulse, Ballroom group from Orem, Utah

Quad Squad, Contemporary group from Anaheim Hills, California

RASCALS, Hip Hop group from Waipahu, Hawaii

The Rock Company, Contemporary group from Las Vegas, Nevada

Tribe Unleashed, Hip Hop group from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tustin Dance Team, Hip Hop group from Tustin, California

The Untouchables, Ballroom group from Miami, Florida


UPPER

6 Feet Deep, Urban Dance group from Phoenix, Arizona

Alisa & Joseph, Urban Dance duo from Estonia & Greece

Angyil, Popping dancer from Kansas, Missouri

Ashley & Zack, Contemporary duo from Los Angeles, California

BDash & Konkrete, Krump duo from Los Angeles, California

DNA, Ballroom duo from New York, New York

Dragon House, Animation group from Atlanta, Georgia

Elektro Botz, Popping group from Tempe, Arizona

Hilty & Bosch, Locking duo from Osaka, Japan

Karen y Ricardo, Latin Cabaret duo from Santiago, Chile

L & J, Contemporary duo from Calgary, Canada & Paris, France

Luka & Jenalyn, Cabaret Ballroom duo from Toronto, Canada

MarInspired, Contemporary duo from Los Angeles, California

Michael Dameski, Contemporary dancer from Sydney, Australia

Morning Of Owl, Breakdance group Suwon, South Korea

Pasha & Daniella, Ballroom duo from New York, New York

St Kingz, Hip Hop/Comedy group from Tokyo, Japan


UPPER TEAM

The Bradas, Hip Hop group from Auckland, New Zealand

Brooklyn Dancesport Club, Ballroom group from New York, New York

Brotherhood, Hip Hop group from Vancouver, Canada

Club House, Fusion/Swing group from Los Angeles, California

Connection, Hip Hop group from Chihuahua, Mexico

Desi Hoppers, Hip Hop group from Mumbai, India

Embodiment, Contemporary group from Los Angeles, California

Funkywunks, Hip Hop group from Orlando, Florida

The Jam Project, Tap group from Washington, DC

LD Dance Company, Samba group from Houston, Texas

Lock N lol, Hip Hop/Locking group from Seoul, South Korea

Marissa & The Heartbreakers, Heels group from Los Angeles, California

Opus Dance collective, Contemporary group from Toronto, Ontario

Poreotics, Hip Hop group from Los Angeles, California

Pursuit, Contemporary group from Los Angeles, California

Royal Flux, Contemporary group from Los Angeles, California

The Ruggeds, Break Dance group from Amsterdam, Netherlands

S-Rank, Hip Hop group from Los Angeles, California

Silver Beat, Afrodance group from Rwanda, Africa / London, United Kingdom

ThaMOST, Hip Hop group from San Diego, California

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Ashton Edwards Is Breaking Down Gender Barriers in Ballet

When Ashton Edwards was 3 years old, the Edwards family went to see a holiday production of The Nutcracker in their hometown, Flint, MI.

For the young child, it was love at first sight.

"I saw a beautiful, black Clara," Ashton says, "and I wanted to be just like her."

Ashton has dedicated 14 years of ballet training in pursuit of that childhood dream. But all the technical prowess in the world can't help Ashton surmount the biggest hurdle—this aspiring dancer was assigned male at birth, and for the vast majority of boys and men, performing in pointe shoes hasn't been a career option. But Ashton Edwards, who uses the pronouns "he" and "they," says it's high time to break down ballet's gender barrier, and their teachers and mentors believe this passionate dancer is just the person to lead the charge.

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All the Hollywood and Broadway Musical Moments to Look for in “Schmigadoon!”

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of about two dozen dancers got the rare opportunity to work on an upcoming Apple TV+ series—one devoted entirely to celebrating, and spoofing, classic 1940s and '50s musicals from the Great White Way and Hollywood. "Schmigadoon!", which premiered on AppleTV+ July 16, stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, who get stuck inside a musical and must find true love in order to leave. The show features a star-studded Broadway cast, including Aaron Tveit, Ariana DeBose, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski and Dove Cameron, and is chock-full of dancing courtesy of series choreographer, Christopher Gattelli.

"The adrenaline was pretty exciting, being able to create during the pandemic," says Gattelli. "I felt like we were representing all performers at that point. There were so many who wanted to be working during the pandemic, so I really tried to embrace this opportunity for all of them."

Gattelli says it was a dream come true to pay tribute to the dance geniuses that preceded him, like Michael Kidd, Agnes de Mille, Onna White and Jerome Robbins, in his choreography. Each number shows off a "little dusting" of their work.

Dance Spirit spoke with Gattelli about all the triumphs and tribulations of choreographing in a pandemic, and got an inside look at specific homages to look out for.

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Shouldering the Load: What kind of dance bag should dancers use?

Walk into any dance convention, audition or class, and you'll see a vast variety of dance bags lining the walls. But can the style of bag you use (and how you wear it) have an impact on your dancing?

Don't worry—you won't have to shoulder the load alone. Dance Spirit spoke with two physical therapists who specialize in working with dancers to find out what dance bag is best.

What should dancers look for in a dance bag?

Dr. Meghan Gearhart, physical therapist and owner of Head2Toe Physical Therapy in Charlotte, NC, recommends dancers opt for a backpack-style dance bag rather than a duffel or cross-body bag.

"A bag that pulls the weight all to one side creates a side bend and rotation in the trunk," Gearhart says. "That is going to lead to muscle imbalances that will affect dancers while they're dancing, as well as just in regular everyday life." Muscle imbalances can mean limited mobility on one side of your body, as the muscles on one side are overly contracted and the other side is overly extended to compensate.

Gearhart suggests dancers pick a backpack made from a lightweight yet durable and breathable material, such as cotton, linen, nylon or polyester. Straps should be wide enough to not dig into your shoulder muscles, so avoid drawstring styles with rope straps. Adjustable and padded straps are best, so you can wear the straps at a length where the bag rests at the middle of your back.

Dr. Bridget Kelly Sinha, physical therapist and founder of Balanced Physical Therapy and Dance Wellness in Matthews, NC, emphasizes the importance of finding an even weight distribution when choosing a dance bag.

"If a dancer has a lot to bring, like when heading to the theater for a full day of rehearsals and performances, then I recommend a rolling suitcase to offset the load," Sinha says.

How should dancers wear their bags?

Even if you've selected the perfect dance bag, it's important to be mindful of how you wear it.

Gearhart advocates wearing both straps when carrying your backpack. She also suggests placing heavier items towards the back of the bag, where they will sit closer to your body. A bag with straps that are too loose (or a bag that is too heavy) can create an increased arch in the lower back or cause a dancer to compensate for the weight by leaning forward. Ideally, Gearhart recommends a dancer's dance bag weighing no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

"I usually tell dancers to use their common sense. If you don't have tap today, you don't need to bring the tap shoes," she says. "If your water bottle makes the bag too heavy, just carry it." If your studio offers lockers, take advantage of that storage space to lessen the number of clothes, shoes, and dance accessories that live in your dance bag.

And if you think your bad dance-bag habits have given you alignment issues, seek out a dance physical therapist to prevent further injuries.

"As a dancer, your body is working so hard all day," Sinha says. "It does not need excess strain from your bag."

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