Photo by Jayme Thornton for Dance Spirit

Harper Watters Ranked His Favorite Bey Albums and Made Us A Fire Playlist

It's no secret that Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters loves Queen Bey. So we dared to ask him to rank his favorite albums. This is what he sent us:

Dangerously In Love: EVERYTHING
B'Day: LIT
I Am...Sasha Fierce: YASSS
Lemonade: SLAY

We get it: It's impossible to play favorites when it comes to Beyoncé. But Watters did pick out some of his favorite songs for us (and yes, you guessed it—many of them are by Bey) for a playlist that captures his gregarious personality and his busy life in Houston.

"I use this playlist to get me in the mood for whatever the day has in store," he says. "Silence makes my head spin: Music gives me focus and energy, and ultimately helps me to turn out and turn it out both onstage and off."

What He Listens to Throughout the Day

"Going into work is real girl group moment. My coworkers at HB are like my bandmates! Driving around during our lunch break with my bestie Natalie Varnum means Cardi B is blasting the whole time. Kehlani and the less mainstream artists usually have their moment at the end of the day. Queen B is just always going to make an appearance because obviously."

Why Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" Is So Uplifting:

"No matter the occasion, you turn on Beyoncé's 'Crazy In Love' and instantly everyone's spirits are lifted. That first eight count is an undeniable strut starter. It's also the theme song to my web series 'The Pre Show' so it always seems to get a play as I get ready for a show."

Why He Loves Troye Sivan & Supporting Queer Artists:

"'My My My!' by Troye Sivan is 100% a bop! What makes this song even more loveable is that the artist behind it is openly gay. I love supporting queer artists who are unapologetically themselves and thriving in their profession. Your sexuality and what makes you different should never hold you back. I make an effort to listen and groove to more artists like Troye. Check out Kaytranada and Kim Petras too!"

Where He Finds New Music:

"I discover a lot of music from YouTube. One of my biggest inspirations is Yanis Marshall. He never disappoints with his heel choreography videos and the songs are consistently fire!"

"A lot of the remixes I've used have come from clips I've seen of vogue battles. Venturing out of the classical realm of music and exploring other forms of dance and art has given me tons to work with. An Opening Ceremony fashion show using New York City Ballet dancers introduced me to the Kelela track on my playlist. Keep your ears peeled and always have that Shazam ready to snag a new tune!"

Why He's Always Making Playlists

"I enjoy making playlists because revisiting them always reminds of whatever was happening at that moment. Having memories attached to songs is really special. I try to create that same connection with the music I perform to, so that I'm not just dancing steps—I'm dancing a story."

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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.


Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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