Rant & Rave

These days, social media is an essential tool for dance companies looking to promote their work. Karole Armitage's company, Armitage Gone! Dance, recently posted ads for their upcoming show at New York Live Arts, You Took A Part Of Me, a "mysterious and hypnotic display of erotic entanglement and unresolved attachment" inspired by traditional Japanese Noh drama.

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Health & Body
Maddi Bazzocco via Unsplash

Today, dancers are cross-training more than ever. And though there are some recommendations about what types of cross-training might be best for dancers' bodies, ultimately it comes down to what works for you.

We asked 13 pros about their go-to cross-training routines as part of our "Spotlight" series—and each one of them has a totally different approach:

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We Tried It
Harry Shunyao Zhang, Courtesy Movement Research

A quick scroll through Instagram will tell you that astrology and all things witch-y are all the rage. "There's a lot of people speaking about magic," says dance artist iele paloumpis, who teaches a class at Movement Research called Witchcraft - A Corporeal Practice. "It's more in the public consciousness again."

But for paloumpis, who has taught some form of the class since 2011, these practices have been a part of their life from an early age, having grown up in a family of "witches and mystics." They chose to use the word witchcraft in the class title "as a feminist, queer reclamation of the idea of being a witch."

We took paloumpis' class for our "We Tried It" series to see how witchcraft can be relevant to dance artists:

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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Cover Story
Jayme Thornton

In a sensual, troubled duet to the music of Amy Winehouse, dancers Chloe Perkes and Zachary Kapeluck channel the late singer's fraught relationship with fame, performance and love. They embody the haunting gravity of her story—while wearing enormous pairs of bunny ears.

On paper, Trey McInytre's Big Ones sounds like it shouldn't work. But risky choices are par for the course at BalletX, and this risk pays off. Founded as a summertime pickup troupe in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan when they were dancers at Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX is dedicated to performing new work—and lots of it. Its repertory boasts a whopping 76 world premieres in 14 years.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Snap, crackle, pop, crack, thunk, click.

Dancer hips can make an impressive variety of noises. Sometime these are painful, sometimes not; sometimes they're intentional, sometimes they just happen when dancing, cross-training or walking.

But what's actually making those noises—and should you be worried about them?

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Health & Body
Jayme Thornton

When it comes to our bodies, dancers have a bad habit of focusing on the negative. We often wish we were taller, or shorter, or stronger, or slimmer.

But as dancers our bodies give us so much, and negative body talk doesn't do anything to help us become better artists.

So we thought it'd be a nice change of pace to instead ask dancers what they love about their bodies:

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Pop Culture
The ballet class in front of the Good Morning America studio on Monday morning. Caroline Shadle, Courtesy Chava Lansky

Last Friday, Dance Magazine published what has already become our most-read story of all time. At 2.8 million views and counting, our take on Lara Spencer's cruel comments about Prince George taking ballet prompted an enormous response from both the dance community and those who were simply bothered by what amounted to the bullying of a 6-year-old on national television.

But Spencer's comments struck a nerve for dancers especially. Rarely have we seen our field so united, or so passionate.

Most everyone agrees that Spencer's comments were unacceptable and reflect broader ignorance about both dance and gender. But some more nuanced takes have been left out of the hundreds of new stories about the controversy.

We found some perspectives from the dance world you might not have seen yet—and broke down why they're important:

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.

For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?

Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.

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Playlists

The most-played song on your Spotify says a lot about you. Maybe it's that guilty pleasure track you dance to while you're in the kitchen, or the one you have to listen to before going onstage.

We talked to 10 of our favorite pros about the song that's racked up the most plays on their phones—whether it's one they teach to, cross-train to, or just a song that helps them escape.

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Rant & Rave
Monica Bill Barnes' The Running show is set in the world of sports. Julia Discenza, Courtesy Barnes

Is dance a sport? A Google search of that question will yield hundreds of results of impassioned arguments about whether or not we should consider dance a sport. The fact that breaking was recently provisionally added to the 2024 Summer Olympics program is certain to make the conversation even more heated.

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News
Stephen Petronio Company is owed around $6,000 from NYCharities. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu, Courtesy Stephen Petronio Company.

In theory, NYCharities was a small dance company's dream. Free to use, the nonprofit acted as a clearinghouse for companies to accept credit and debit card donations online. It also allowed companies to sell tickets to galas and events, set up recurring donations and even give donors the option to pay processing fees themselves—an important feature for dance companies with small budgets.

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Rant & Rave

In the past several years, ballet has been called out time and again for not fostering, presenting and commissioning the work of women. Recently, highlighting women ballet choreographers has become somewhat of a trend, with companies pioneering initiatives to try to close the gender gap, or presenting all-women programs.

But numbers don't lie, and unfortunately, we still haven't made much progress.

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Dance & Science
Via Wikimedia Commons

When Dr. Mae Jemison was growing up, she was obsessed with space. But she didn't see any astronauts who looked like her.

"I said, Wait a minute. Why are all the astronauts white males?" she recounts in a CNN video. "What if the aliens saw them and said, Are these the only people on Earth?"

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Pop Culture
Jamie Smed via Wikimedia Commons

Congratulations to the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team for their epic World Cup dominance! Now that the tournament is over and we're basking in all the patriotic feminist glory, we decided to do the only thing that made sense to us as soccer-obsessed dancers: Decide what kind of dancers the USWNT players would be if they made sudden and drastic career changes.

We've been watching their technique closely for weeks now, and have come up with what we're pretty sure is a definitive and highly accurate list:

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Health & Body
Quinn Wharton for Pointe

We know there are certain things dancers can do pre-show to help them perform at their best. (Like warming up, eating something energizing and maybe even taking a nap!)

But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.

Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:

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Playlists
Jayme Thornton

Monica Bill Barnes is one of the funniest choreographers working today. And though the style of physical humor she's crafted with her frequent collaborator Anna Bass could elicit laughs even in dead silence, the pair's antics are often supplemented with—or juxtaposed against—music choices that feel both unexpected and yet somehow perfectly fitting.

It turns out that music plays a significant role in Barnes' creative process, too: Even songs that don't end up in her shows help her develop material and figure out the tone of a work. Barnes talked to us about her relationship with music, and made us a playlist of songs that "feel supportive in nature," she says. "They're go-to hits that help me understand something about the material; good fallbacks when I'm not sure where a particular show is heading."

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Health & Body
Luis Quintero via Unsplash

Happy first day of summer! It's the season of sweaty rehearsals, outdoor performances, and for some of us, summer layoff.

How to stay in shape sans daily company class without breaking the bank? If you're in New York City, you're in luck: You can cross-train for free this summer with a variety of options throughout the boroughs. Bonus: They're all outside!

Not in NYC? Most major cities have similar offerings—check out the programming for your local parks and cultural centers to find out.

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Dancers Trending
Courtesy Davies

In dance, we sometimes hear of a late bloomer who defies the odds. Or of dancers who overcome incredible injuries to return to the stage.

But both? That's not a story we hear often. That is, however, Darla Davies' story, one that she tells in her recent book Who Said I'd Never Dance Again? A Journey from Hip Replacement Surgery to Athletic Victory. Davies, who is now 61, started her ballroom dance training just twenty years ago, and has won two U.S. championships—one of which she earned after a hip replacement.

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Pop Culture
David Knight

Mumford & Sons' banjoist and lead guitarist Winston Marshall used to consider himself someone who "vaguely appreciated" dance. But then, about a year ago, he saw Yeman Brown improvise to Beyoncé's "Halo."

"My heart went into my throat and I was quite literally moved to tears," he says. "It stole my breath away. I didn't know dance could make you feel that way."

That moment—which occurred during a video shoot at choreographer Kristin Sudeikis' Forward Space in New York City—not only changed Marshall's relationship to dance, but his relationship to music, he says. It also inspired Mumford & Sons' newest video, "Woman," choreographed by Sudeikis and featuring Brown and dancer Stephanie Crousillat, and debuting here on dancemagazine.com:

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Spotlight
Matthew Brush, Courtesy Jonas

When we named Jacob Jonas one of our "25 to Watch" two years ago, he was turning heads with his innovative #CamerasandDancers Instameet series and the high-profile collaborations it earned him. #CamerasandDancers is still going strong—in fact a few months back Jonas celebrated his 50th meet—as is Jonas' savvy social media presence. But let us not forget that Jonas also has a sleek L.A.-based contemporary dance company which has also made exciting leaps in the past few years, performing in increasingly impressive venues—including Beverly Hills' Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where they are currently the company-in-residence—as Jonas continues to refine his dynamic choreography.

We caught up with Jonas for our "Spotlight" series:

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