The Rock Company of Las Vegas, NV, received the evening's top score for their heartbreaking tribute to victims of gun violence (screenshot via YouTube)
What with the insanely high overall level of talent and technique on a televised dance competition like "World of Dance," it's often easy to forget that these dancers, too, have areas to improve upon and goals still left to reach. TV dance stars: They're just like US! On last night's episode of "World of Dance," the top three scorers proved that even once you reach the top of your game, there's still room for even more beautiful growth.
Take DNA, aka Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina, the Ukrainian-born ballroom couple (onstage and off, awwwww!) who've been burning the floor together for ten years. After being sent home from "WOD" during last year's Duels, they took the judges' feedback to heart and are back to show the world they're better than ever. And BIGGER than ever, in Drozdyuk's case: Last night, J.Lo commented that he's bulked up visibly, to which Drozdyuk replied, "Well, I had to buy dumbbells after last year." Way to make critical feedback work for you (and net an 88.7 from the judges), DNA!
The Untouchables, a Latin-fusion group in the Junior division, definitely had the cuteness factor on their side as they blasted through a lightning-speed routine that included samba, capoeira, and tons of other Latin-dance specialties. Though the judges gave them a solid 88.7, Ne-Yo warned the pint-size dynamos that "Energy without focus is just chaos. You don't want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none." True to the that.
But the incontestable standout last night was The Rock Company of Las Vegas, NV. They performed a piece that responded to last October's fatal mass shooting in their hometown, and the result was truly transcendent and moving, thanks to the seamless choreo and the dancers' focused, genuine performances. The group earned a 96.7—and proved they're a team to keep an eye on as the competition progresses to Duels next week.
(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.