If the World Cup Champions Were Dancers, Here's What Style They'd Do
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:
Megan Rapinoe: Contemporary Ballet
You're probably familiar with star forward Megan Rapinoe's port de bras. But have you seen her attitude derrière?! We're honestly envious. Pinoe clearly has the technique for ballet, but with her penchant for pink hair and outspokenness (which we love!), we think a contemporary troupe would be the best fit.
Tobin Heath: Postmodern Dance
Fast footwork and crisp, clean lines come naturally to Tobin Heath. The forward can arguably control the ball better than any player on the field. What better style to show off her abilities than the postmodern work of choreographers like Merce Cunningham or Pam Tanowitz? We think she'd fit right in.
Alyssa Naeher: European Contemporary Dance
If you saw keeper Alyssa Naeher's heroic penalty kick save during the semifinal game against England, you know she isn't afraid to dive headfirst onto the ground. She'd be just the kind of dancer who would thrive in the contemporary dance scene in Europe, where techniques like Flying Low demand lots of floorwork.
Samantha Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett: Broadway
Okay, so they could use a litttttle more rehearsal. But midfielders Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle and defender Emily Sonnett clearly have the work ethic and passion for a career on the Great White Way. (Just maybe not the rhythm?)
Alex Morgan: Hip Hop
Some criticized her tea-sipping celebration, but that was really nothing compared to Alex Morgan's post-championship celebration dance. As the team's star center forward and someone who is willing to twerk on video, she clearly has no fear; something that comes in handy when you're working in the fast-paced commercial dance scene.
Kelley O'Hara: STREB
Kelly O'Hara is a daredevil defender, as proven by the near concussion-inducing collision she suffered during the final game yesterday. She also has one of the most terrifyingly forceful kicks on the team, and can jump ridiculously high. She'd need a dance company that can challenge her extreme physicality, like STREB and its superhuman feats.
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"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.