Pop Culture

Justin Timberlake's Dance Rehearsal Footage Has Us Seriously Excited for the Super Bowl

Football's cool and all, but when Justin Timberlake is bringing new music and dance moves to the halftime stage, it's hard to pay attention to anything else. Luckily, if you can't wait until next weekend's Super Bowl to get your "Filthy" fix, Pepsi shared a behind-the-scenes look at JT's halftime show rehearsals on their Twitter page. Complete with interviews from his longtime choreographer Marty Kudelka (who started working with JT back in his *NSYNC days) and dancers like Dana Wilson, the video gives an inside look at Timberlake's upcoming 13-minute performance.


"It starts with the music—I don't have to draw from too many other places," Kudelka says in the video. "There are no limits, and that's inspiration enough." As for how that translates, Timberlake explains, "He has his own style of movement, and it compliments the way that I like to move onstage—it's crisp without being showboat-y."

Based on the video, it looks like we'll be getting a taste of some new songs from JT's upcoming album Man of the Woods alongside our old faves. No matter what he's singing, we know it will be a high-energy performance.

"A lot of times dancers and the band are thought of as supporting talent, and we're there to lift him up and keep his show strong," Wilson says. "With JT, it's really not the case. I've felt lifted by him. We really are a family—it's not about spotlight and then the ghosts in the background. We walk up on stage as a really unified force."

News
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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In Memoriam
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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