Reflecting on 25 to Watch Live! 2023: Moving, and Being Moved

August 1, 2023

On Monday, July 24, Dance Magazine’s annual “25 to Watch” feature was brought to the stage for the first time, featuring 12 of 2023’s “25 to Watch” artists. An evening of stellar performances and panel discussions kicked off at 6 pm at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in New York City.

Maria Majors, Kelly Ging, and Tommy Wasiuta of STL Rhythm Collaborative opened the show with Wasiuta’s playful Three to Get Ready. Mikaela Santos followed with a masterful rendition of a variation from Petipa’s Le Talisman, and both Dominic Moore-Dunson and Andrew McShea performed world-premiere solos: In his eyes and You, a body, respectively. Madeline Maxine Gorman and Ashton Edwards each presented dance on video (Between Myself and Bright Young Things). The first-act performers then joined editor in chief Caitlin Sims onstage for a brief panel to discuss their pathways to dance, repertoire, and career aspirations.

  • From left: Kelly Ging, Maria Majors, and Tommy Wasiuta of STL Collaborative perform a trio tap dance in black and red costumes.
  • Mikaela Santos performs a variation from "La Talisman." She does an arabesque on pointe in a cream-colored, flowing dress.
  • Dominic Moore-Dunson performs a solo onstage wearing a white button-down, black slacks, and a black tie. His face is full of pained emotion.
  • During a solo onstage, Andrew McShea contorts his body to look toward the audience while his hips and legs face backward. He holds himself up on the floor with his arms and lifts his top leg in a bent shape.
  • A still from Madeline Maxine-Gorman's "Between Myself" shows her in front of a large red curtain with pink lighting, dancing in a white button-up shirt and black slacks.
  • Ashton Edwards does an arabesque in profile in a black and white still from "Bright Young Things"

Several “25 to Watch” artists from the previous 22 years that the feature story has been a popular part of the magazine attended the evening as audience members; they stood for a moment of recognition and applause.

Audience members of the 2023 25 to Watch Live performance sit in their seats, smile, and clap in the Sheen Center auditorium.
Audience members at 25 to Watch Live! Photo by Rachel Papo.

After a brief intermission, Quinn Starner began round two with an homage to her competition-dance days in Jason Parsons’ Into the Storm. Tendayi Kuumba followed with a performance of her BlackBird solo. Erin Casale danced a cheerful variation from Leonid Lavrovsky’s Walpurgisnacht; Dandara Veiga brought heat and articulation in her premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Novo Começo; and Jordan Demetrius Lloyd presented his introspective Black Cherry. Finally, Cameron Catazaro and Ashley Knox closed out the night’s dance portion with an emotional performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, followed by a second panel discussion.

  • Quinn Starner performs a contemporary solo onstage in a black leotard and black tights. She does an extreme tilt with her arms flexed and inverted inward.
  • Tendayi Kuumba performs a solo in a white blouse and white bodysuit. She balances on her left leg, her right lifted in a parallel attitude to the side. Her arms mirror her legs.
  • Erin Casale performs a variation from "Walpurgisnacht." She wears a red and gold costume with pink tights and pointe shoes. She poses in a playful lunge forward, her back leg in tendu and her arms flexed, one above her head and one in front of her chest.
  • Dandara Veiga dances a high-energy solo in a black crop top and bright yellow culottes, her long black hair in a high ponytail with a yellow ribbon weaved through it. She shifts her weight with her legs bent and feet wide, arms in a wide first position as she bends to the side and smiles.
  • Jordan Demetrius Lloyd performs a solo in dark lighting and loose brown and gray clothing. He lunges on his right leg, chest turned upward and right arm lifting up and back as his left arm curls into his chest.
  • Cameron Catazaro and Ashley Knox perform "After the Rain" onstage. Catazaro stands in a deep lunge and supports Knox with his right arm; Knox stands on Catazaro's front quad and arches backward in a low arabesque, head and chest turned upward and arms extended behind her.

Thank you to everyone who played a role in this inaugural 25 to Watch Live! event, from the incredible dancers to the audience members and sponsors, Bloch and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.