A scene from "Law & Order: SVU"

Courtesy NBC

"Law & Order: SVU" Has a New Dance Plot That Seems "Ripped from the Headlines"

"Law & Order: SVU" has dominated the crime show genre for 21 seasons with its famous "ripped from the headlines" strategy of taking plot inspiration from real-life crimes.

So viewers would be forgiven for assuming that the new storyline following the son of Mariska Hargitay's character into dance class originated in the news cycle. After all, the mainstream media widely covered the reaction to Lara Spencer's faux pas on "Good Morning America" in August, when she made fun of Prince George for taking ballet class.

But it turns out, the storyline was actually the idea of the 9-year-old actor, Ryan Buggle, who plays Hargitay's son. And he came up with it before Spencer ever giggled at the word ballet.

"Dancing is my favorite thing to do," says Buggle, "so I wrote a script over the summer and gave it to the writers."

Buggle, who has been dancing ever since he joined a hip-hop class at age 5, drafted a plot where his character Noah trained in dance. The writers latched onto the idea of incorporating Buggle's real-life passion into the show.

The storyline debuted last Thursday, on Episode 3 of Season 21, titled, "Down Low in Hell's Kitchen," about a serial attacker in the black gay community and a faked assault à la Jussie Smollett.

The episode opens with Noah telling his mom Olivia that he's bored of baseball. They just so happen to be outside the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater studios, so Noah points to the dancers on the other side of the windows and says, "That looks like fun."

Mariska Hargitay walks into a dance studio holding the hand of her character's son, who expectantly smiles.

A scene from "Law & Order: SVU"

Courtesy NBC

We return to the Ailey studios in the closing scene, when Olivia drops Noah off for his first ballet class. Wearing a crisp white T-shirt and black tights, he smiles back at his mom, who's watching from the doorway, as the teacher leads the students through a plié combination in the center.

(Buggle tells Dance Magazine that the other kids in class are his friends from his competition studio, Pro Dance, in New Jersey.)

While it's not yet clear how much dance will be shown in future episodes, we love the potential of this storyline to help normalize boys in ballet.

For his part, when asked what he hopes will come out of this storyline, Buggle shares, "I just want everyone to know that they can dance—no matter what people say."

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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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