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Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in Donald McKayle's Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder. Photo by Paul B. Goode, Courtesy PTAMD

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance's annual Lincoln Center season will feature a free memorial performance on November 12 honoring Donald McKayle, who passed away in spring 2018 at age 87.

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Cover Story
Jayme Thornton

Sometimes, change happens all at once. Last year, The Juilliard School, one of the country's top conservatories for music, dance and drama, got not one new leader but three.

Damian Woetzel, a former star at New York City Ballet, took the reins as Juilliard's new president, the first in the institution's history to come from the field of dance. (The previous six have been musicians.) Evan Yionoulis was named director of drama. And Alicia Graf Mack, an exemplary dancer at both the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, became Juilliard's incoming director of dance—the first African American, and, at 39, the youngest person to ever take up the position.

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Dancers Trending
Bobbi Jene Smith in rehearsal for A Study on Effort. PC Jim Carmody, courtesy Bobbi Jene Smith.

I dance to remember.

I dance to forget.

I dance to contain.

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25 to Watch
Photo by Hollywood Dance Shoot, Courtesy Krouse

There's a delicious bit of mischief in everything Kolton Krouse does. He'll toss off some impossibly difficult sequence—a quintuple pirouette into a prolonged développé into an aerial, say—and end with an impish smile that's the stage equivalent of saying, "How good was that? And how much fun did I have doing it?"

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Dancers Trending
Photo by Matthew Murphy for Dance Teacher

I have always felt a need to communicate and, even more importantly, to be understood. But as a child, I always hit an emotional wall when trying to speak.



Although my great-aunt Rose had no connection to dance, she intuitively saw that I needed an outlet, and recommended that I take a movement class. It was literally life-changing. I realized I could make myself understood without my needing to be verbal.

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Dancers Trending
Steve Cohn, Courtesy USC

Q: Why donate millions to The Juilliard School and Ailey, plus an undisclosed sum to launch University of Southern California's new Glorya Kaufman School of Dance?

"I wish everyone would turn on the music and dance. It helps in so many ways to make life happier and more interesting."

Q: Do you feel the role of the philanthropist has changed in today's political climate?

"I believe that giving to humanity in any way that is beneficial is what the world needs now."

Read the rest of Dance Magazine's list of the most influential people in dance today.

Dancers Trending
Damian Woetzel rehearsing Misty Copeland at Vail Dance Festival. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy Vail

A dancer is taking over Juilliard: Damian Woetzel will be the school's next president, starting in July 2018.

It's just the latest feat for the former New York City Ballet star who's racked up an impressive list of accomplishments since retiring from the stage in 2008. After earning a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (while still dancing), he became director of both the Aspen Institute Arts Program and the Vail Dance Festival. He's also taken on wide-ranging side projects—from producing shows featuring Lil Buck, to being a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School, to serving on President Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Now, he'll be leading the country's most prestigious performing arts conservatory and its $110 million annual budget. He's only the seventh person in Juilliard's 112-year history to hold this position—and the first to come from the dance world. We spoke to him today to learn more.

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