Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman in The Prom. Photo courtesy Netflix

Letter from the Editor: Leaning Into Plan B

Few things have gone as planned this year. Performances, summer intensives and even the manufacturing of pointe shoes have all been disrupted. When we began brainstorming Dance Magazine's December cover story on Ariana DeBose more than a year ago, we decided to time it with the scheduled release of Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of West Side Story, in which DeBose plays Anita. Of course, just before going to print, news broke that the film would be delayed a year, until next December.


DeBose—who was just named one of Forbes' "30 Under 30"—still has plenty in the works. After six years on Broadway, during which she swiftly rose from ensemble member to Tony-nominated leading lady, she's now bringing her triple-threat talents to Hollywood. When writer Sylviane Gold spoke to her, she was filming a parody of Brigadoon for Apple TV+. This month, she's featured in another movie musical: The Prom. Thanks to the fact that it's a Netflix production, we'll be able to enjoy DeBose's star quality from the safety of our homes.

And, yes, I do already have plans for a remote Netflix party with friends when it premieres December 11, complete with high school prom dresses and corsages. (Because, you know, #2020.)

That's not the only time I'll be getting all dressed up at home this month. Like most everything else, the Dance Magazine Awards are going virtual this year. On December 7, we'll host an exceptionally star-studded event that you can stream from anywhere. We're sharing tributes to all of the honorees this week. I hope you'll join us to celebrate them.

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Photo by Ernest Gregory, Courtesy Fleming

How This Tap-Dancer-Turned-Composer Stays True to His Jazz Roots

From Riverdance to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr. has proved to be a triple threat on the stage and screen. He's also an entrepreneur, selling his own line of wireless microphones, DeW It Right Tap Mics. Last year, he added "composer" to his resumé with the release of Sax and Taps INTERSPLOSION!, the first tap dance and jazz album recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club. One of the songs, co-written with jazz saxophonist Erica von Kleist, was a finalist for last year's Unsigned Only music competition.

"When you're invited to dance with a jazz band, it's always assumed that, as a tap dancer, you're going to be a feature. If you go all the way back to New Orleans' Congo Square, and even before then, dance was a part of the music. I wanted to stick to those roots and create an album where everything was intertwined."

He recently spoke with Dance Magazine about his collaboration with von Kleist and the creation of their album.

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January 2021