Career Advice
92Y Harkness Dance Center is hosting the first festival dedicated to dance films captured on mobile devices. Photo by Adam Grannick, Courtesy 92Y

Who says you need fancy equipment to make a festival-worthy dance film? Right now, two New York City–based dance film festivals are calling for aspiring filmmakers to show their stuff—and you don't need anything more cumbersome than a smartphone to get in on the action.

Here's everything you need to know about how to submit:

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Career Advice
James Samson in Three Dubious Memories. Photo by Paul B. Goode, courtesy Paul Taylor Dance Company

For 17 years, James Samson has been the model Paul Taylor dancer. There is something fundamentally decent about his stage persona. He's a tall dancer—six feet—but never imposes himself. He's muscular, but gentle. And when he moves, it is his humanity that shines through, even more than his technique.

But all dancing careers come to an end, and James Samson's is no exception; now 43, he'll be retiring in August, after a final performance at the Teatro Romano in Verona, where he'll be dancing in Cloven Kingdom, Piazzolla Caldera and Promethean Fire.

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Advice for Dancers
Numerous ballet dancers have completed their degrees while performing professionally. Photo by MD Duran/Unsplash.

My parents are worried that dancing professionally will interfere with my education, even though I have friends who dance and take college courses. I can't go to a university the usual way when I'm trying to make it in contemporary ballet. Can you help me explain my situation to them?

—Lauren, Miami, FL

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Career Advice
Communication doesn't end when the choreography is over. Photo by Jim Lafferty

Dancers are physical communicators. It is both our profession and our passion. But what happens when the music stops and there is a break in rehearsals?

Our communication doesn't end when the choreography is completed. The truth is, the way you act at rest can make or break your career. Ballet masters, choreographers and artistic directors see meaning in all forms of body language, not just those that happen while the music is playing.

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Career Advice
A production of Aida choreographed by Jessica Lang. Photo by Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

For many choreographers, opera is a mysterious world. Though operas often employ concert dance choreographers, they operate on an entirely different scale than most dance productions, and pose new challenges for dancemakers. Here's what you need to know to tackle your first production.

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Dancers Trending
Ashley Murphy in Giselle at The Washington Ballet. Photo by Theo Kossenas

Ashley Murphy was the leading lady of Dance Theatre of Harlem for many of her 13 years there. But in 2016, she took a leap of faith, leaving her coveted place as reigning ballerina for a spot in The Washington Ballet.

"I wasn't really growing anymore—they didn't need to pay attention to me because they knew I would work on things on my own. I felt like I'd become everybody's mom," she told writer Gia Kourlas. "I need to be in a setting where I'm more equal with other people."

Two years later, she's found a home in D.C.—and has no regrets about her decision. We caught up with her for our "Spotlight" series:

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Career Advice
Mia Michaels says unicorns "are the originals of the universe." Photo by Russ Mezikofsky

Mia Michaels was 90% done writing her autobiography when something changed.

She had plenty of material to fill the pages, from racking up three Emmy Awards on So You Think You Can Dance, to choreographing her first Broadway musical Finding Neverland, to collaborating with Prince, to revamping New York's famous Radio City Rockettes.

But then she stopped. "There was so much material. I had almost the entire life autobiography done, and then I was like, no. I want to inspire the world," she says, laughing warmly. The resulting book, out today, is called A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys: A Guide to Life for all the Exceptional, Excellent Misfits Out There.

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Career Advice
Every dancer her their own limits. Photo by Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash

Last month, Yann Arnaud, an aerialist with Cirque de Soleil, died after plummeting to the stage in VOLTA. He was performing an aerial straps routine in Tampa, Florida, when one of his hands slipped and he fell 20 feet.

Professional dancers are often asked to perform stunts, some of them extremely dangerous. Even when the risks aren't life-threatening, it's important to listen to your gut.

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