The Hottest Dance Topics of 2016

December 29, 2016

What were the most popular dance topics of the year? We measured your favorite posts by the number of times you clicked on them, and though the results don’t necessarily capture the newsiest events of 2016 (see: huge turnover at major companies basically everywhere), they point to two broad themes that readers cared about: how dance is portrayed in the media and pop culture, and how dancers can be smarter about understanding and caring for their bodies.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team dominated this summer’s Olympics. But Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl wondered why the athletes use dance moves as breaks from their super-human floor routine tricks. The post generated a lot of conversation, and takes the title of most-read piece of the year.

Five years ago, First Position was the dance documentary everyone was talking about. We looked at where the young dancers profiled in the film are now, and you were eager to catch up with them.

3. “Competitions: The Pressure to Go Acrobatic.” Here, Emma Spillane, Boston YAGP, photo © VAM Productions

After serving on a YAGP jury, editor at large Wendy Perron wrote about the contemporary category’s shift towards tricks—and how the desire to win makes some contestants sacrifice their artistry. Her piece inspired us to delve deeper into this question in our October issue.

4. “Higher Extensions, Lower Risk.” PC Nathan Sayers.

High extensions will never go out of style. That’s probably why our piece on safely developing greater flexibility comes in as the fourth most popular read of the year.

5. “When Experts Cringe.” PC Nathan Sayers.

Dancers today are more educated about their bodies than ever. But, some misunderstandings die hard. Our piece on the common dancer habits that make medical experts cringe made us all want to find out if we’re guilty of them.

6. “The Cult of Thin.” PC Thinkstock.

It’s commonly agreed that extreme thinness is a problem in the ballet world. But why does it persist? In the July issue, we talked to dancers and directors about the “cult of thin” and what can be done to move forward.

Another year, another dance faux pas in the media. A video depicting Kendall Jenner as a “ballerina” got real dancers talking—so we had Ballet West first soloist Allison DeBona lay out the real problem for us.

8. “Finally, the Real Reason Your Hip Keeps Clicking.” Here, Gisele Bethea, photo by Nathan Sayers for Dance Spirit.

Who knew that a piece on hip clicking would land eighth on our list? Turns out, that nagging click was bugging a lot of you.

9. “From Risk to Recovery.” PC Nathan Sayers.

Unfortunately, injuries are still a hot trend in the dance world. We tackled the five that waylay dancers the most and asked experts how we can both avoid and recover from them.

10. “25 to Watch.” Here, Sterling Baca, PC Nathan Sayers.

The reveal of our yearly “25 to Watch” picks is always an exciting moment. Our 2016 list comes in as the tenth most-popular article of the year—and our 2017 picks have just been announced. Snag a copy of the January issue to get a first look at what’s sure to be one of the hottest topics of the new year.