On the Rise: Justin Reiter

Justin Reiter is a monster onstage. With his exaggerated moves and outrageous riffs, the Whim W’Him dancer is barely manageable, hardly classifiable, but oh so stunning. His powerfully emotive torso conveys an urgency in the arc of each story he tells. Artistic director Olivier Wevers calls him “a beautiful creature.”

Outside the studio, Reiter likes cooking, crocheting and letter writing. “A handwritten letter is like a hug in an envelope,” he says. Photo by Bamberg Fine Arts, courtesy Whim W'Him.

Company: Whim W’Him

Age: 24

Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Training: BFA in dance from the University of Minnesota

On the map: In the past five years, the versatile dancer has performed the works of over 20 choreographers everywhere from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to New York City’s Central Park for SummerStage. He’s been a member of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theatre and Minneapolis’ Shapiro & Smith Dance and Contempo Physical Dance.

A magnetic pull: “I was drawn to Whim W’Him by its inventiveness,” says Reiter. “It was bringing in amazing choreographers from all over the world, and Olivier’s sock-clad, spirally, goofy aesthetic attracted me like Mondrian to primary colors.”

Technique and conditioning boosts: Reiter has trained in non-Western dance forms, such as East Indian, West African and Afro-Brazilian dance. “I practice hot yoga every day and Gaga/improvisation weekly,” he says. “It is important for me to have a regular improvisation practice so that I’m always expanding my range.”

What he’s working on: Mindfulness, anatomical awareness and the balance between effort and ease.

What Wevers is saying: “At Justin’s audition, I was immediately drawn to his sincere, gentle manners, his strong energy and his professionalism. He works in a very intelligent way that allows him to be extremely consistent.”

Challenges on the horizon: This month, Reiter will perform in Whim W’Him’s dancer-curated program. “Out of 100 choreographer applications, we chose three artists—Maurya Kerr, Ihsan Rustem and Joshua L. Peugh—to work with,” says Reiter. “I am ferociously excited to be part of the company’s vision of the dancers being full and involved artists.”

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AMDA's 4 Tips for Acing Your Next Audition

Ah, audition day. The flurry of new choreography, the long lines of dancers, the wait for callbacks. It's an environment dancers know well, but it can also come with great stress. Learning how to be best prepared for the big day is often the key to staying calm and performing to your fullest potential (and then some).

This concept is the throughline of the curriculum at American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where dance students spend all four years honing their audition skills.

"You're always auditioning," says Santana Trujillo, AMDA's dance outreach manager and a graduate of its BFA program. On campus in Los Angeles and New York City, students have access to dozens of audition opportunities every semester.

For advice on how dancers can put their best foot forward at professional auditions, Dance Magazine recently spoke with Trujillo, as well as AMDA faculty members Michelle Elkin and Genevieve Carson. Catch the whole conversation below, and read on for highlights.

July 2021