Dance Walk:Beat MS-Gratitude Day

Happy World Gratitude Day and last day of summer!

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The 1st annual Beat MS Dance Walk takes place tomorrow where artists, dancers and people who want to make a positive difference dance and walk towards a cure for multiple sclerosis.  If you are in the LA area tomorrow check out joining the National MS Society, Courtney Galiano and Philip Byron to help end and raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.

You may recognize Courtney’s name from her association with “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Her courage in sharing her multiple sclerosis diagnosis as a professional dancer and her willingness to do something about it is a shining inspiration.

Other “SYTYCD” dancers involved with the event are Chelsie Hightower, Mark Kanemura, Neil Haskell, Dominic Sandoval, Comfort Fedoke, Robert Roldan, Kathryn McCormick, Marko Germar, Jeanine Mason and Ashley Galvan.

For more details on how to get involved including same day registration and location visit the Beat MS Dance Walk website by clicking here.  Download the moblie app here.  Learn more about multiple sclerosis here.

I am so thankful for the power of movement whether it be walking or dancing to express emotions, entertain and engage an audience to do something positive!

Many of the “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers among other brilliant artists are nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography.  The 65th prime-time Emmy awards airs live tomorrow starting at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.  To watch all the nominated dance numbers click here. One of my favorite numbers is “Circle of Life” choreographed by NappyTabs.

What are you thankful for?

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“So You Think You Can Dance”-Top 20 Dance

jasmineLove is patient and kind but is love really blind?

High Point: Yesterday’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” featured a contemporary dance number showcasing dancers Jasmine Mason and Alan with Travis Wall choreography.  The dancers were blindfolded adding another layer of intimacy where raw touch was the vehicle that let each dancer see into each other.  The lifts with the rise and fall drew upon a foundation of trusting each other and themselves.  I liked how Jasmine fearlessly dove backwards into Alan’s arm illustrating the idea of “leap and the net will appear.”  It appeared that each dancer’s hearts were open to reality in accepting each others flaws and moving onwards as a unit.  We shall if both dancers move onwards in the show when voting results are given next week.

fictionSurprise moment: Fik-Shun (name pronounced fiction) dancing contemporary with dancer Amy and Sonya Tayeh’s choreography.  It was nice to see a male dancer outside his dance genre inhabit the spirit of the dance.  Fik Shun’s commitment to movement and partnering elevated Amy’s performance making for a mesmerizing routine and partnership closing the night out.

Looking Forward: It will be interesting to see how America votes and I hope to see dancer Nico in another dance genre other than hip-hop because he has great potential. Tune in next week on Fox Tuesday 8/7c.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller

 

“So You Think You Can Dance”-Top 20 Dancers Revealed

sytycd-season-10-all-starsThe auditions and Vegas week are over and the live performance shows are just around the corner!  However, last night Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” revealed their top 20 dancers!  It was nice to see choreographer Mia Michaels back and the more diversified dance genres represented this year.  The judging panel included executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman.

High Point: The Top 10 guys perform a routine choreographed by Christopher Scott.  I always enjoy the use of music by Nathan Lanier used in SYTYCD routines such as “Ra,” Velocity,” or “Resolve” because it has an intensity that sets the stage for impactful movement.  The use of the sand served as an extension of the dance’s story and was handled with ferocity and delicacy.

sytycd1Surprise Moment: Hip-Hop dancer Mariah Spears performing a Luther Brown routine.  We did not get to see much of her in Vegas this year and I was delightfully surprised by her fierceness and personality.

Looking Forward: I am excited to see the new dance pairings and the new performances next Tuesday. Amy Yakima and Jenna Johnson already won me over and it will be nice to get to know the other dancers better when they dance outside their comfort zone.

What was the high point for you during the show and what are you looking forward to? Tune in next week to see the Top 20 perform live for your votes on Fox at 8/7c.

 


National Tap Dance Day

Happy National Tap Dance Day!

Tap dance will always be my favorite dance style where you can create rhythmic music with your feet.  Some of the greats of the past such as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, the Nicholas Brothers and Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers etc. have paved the way for tap dancing today.  It was thanks to many of them such as Bojangles with Shirley Temple that I had fun tap dancing anywhere—down the escalator, up the stairs, down the market aisle, or up on furniture.

Tap dancing has evolved with the times to incorporate more than just tap dancing on furniture but on a construction set, on televised dancing competitions and in animation.  Dancers are able to incorporate the athleticism, style, technique and class of the past with modern twists.

Tap Dogs: One of my favorite tap groups taking the art to a new level.  Below are the original dogs.

So You Think You Can Dance: Nick Young, Matt Flint and Jess LeProtto perform a tap routine paying homage to the great tap dancers.

Happy Feet:  Animated film with penguins tapping.  The brilliant Savion Glover helped provide the cool moves.

Look out for the commercials that feature tap dancing too!

Shaping Sound Tour-Artistry in Motion

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you.  That’s where I’ll be waiting.” –J.M. Barrie

Shaping Sound’s live dancing tour kicked off this past weekend in Los Angeles.  The company emerges from the visions of Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson who may seem familiar from appearances on “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With the Stars” and the reality TV show based on them “All the Right Moves.”  The company has quickly become known for their fierce and fresh artistry intermingling contemporary with jazz, modern and hip-hop.

I had the opportunity to attend the red carpet premiere performance in Los Angeles.  It was nice to see the dance community come out to support them.  Familiar faces in the audience included Adam Shankman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Paula Abdul, Stacey Tookey, Heather Morris, Lance Bass and many SYTYCD dancers.  The cheers and thunderous applause from family, friends and industry professionals made the performance even more special.

The dancers are visual musicians bursting with movement quality that hooks into love existing between being asleep and awake.  The show cleverly sticks to this theme by giving each member of the company a character or title to embody.  For instance Nick is the Wayward, Travis is the Past, Teddy is the One, and Kyle the Beloved.

Travis’s signature dance phrases or sequences of twists, lifts and turns are made even better with the full use of the stage and light direction.  The lights and moveable props add levels that highlight every pulsating tick of the head to the collapsed releases.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images

The entire show has beauty with seamless transitions.  Jamie Goodwin as the Dreamer truly fulfills her role with the resistance filled extensions and emotion.  The company breathes as one making moments shine for the pure communication with each other and the music.

There are upbeat and powerful songs used such as “Sing, Sing, Sing” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” with more haunting melodies.  The show finds the perfect pacing and story vehicle to take you on their journey.

Executive Producer, Gil Stroming from Break the Floor Productions has delivered explosive entertainment proving why he is a leading dance entrepreneur.

Catch the rest of the tour coming through the United States.  Click here.

 

International Dance Day

Happy International Dance Day!

I think that just like any sport an art form can require consistent discipline in developing your craft.  Every day is an opportunity to give your imagination a workout or find something that inspires you.

The video of rhythmic gymnastics featuring Boyanka Angelova from Bulgaria that has been shared across social media recently is a reminder of the great potential one can reach with practice within your realm of believability.

Her routine captivated my interest in finding out more about rhythmic gymnastics.  Rebecca Sereda states “it incorporates ballet, gymnastics, and dance, so we have to put all those things together. We train for so many hours, but people think we’re just dancing with ribbons on the carpet.”  To read that interview from buzzfeed click here.

Another blending of “ballet, gymnastics and dance” is showcased in this Macy’s Stars of dance performance on a “Dancing with the Stars” results show.  It seems that a trend in dance is requiring more and more athleticism and physical strength with the lifts and gymnastics being incorporated in.  This dance intertwines the beauty of art starring Tiler Peck, Nuttin’ But Stringz, Travis Wall and many recognizable faces from Shaping Sound and “SYTYCD.”

“Dancing With the Stars” Premiere

Dancing With the Stars” is back tonight with a brand new set of celebrities paired with pros competing for the mirror-ball trophy on abc at 8 p.m..

I am excited to see a new crop of dance hopefuls enter the ballroom.  It will be fun to look for the new partnering dynamics, the improvement over the season and how each celebrity enjoys the process.

The professional dancers that draw me in are the ones that move with purpose, power and precision.

Purpose: Knowing what story your body is meant to tell in response to moving with a partner and music.

Power: Controlled power and fluidity to create resistance in extensions which can turn a simple walk into a defining movement.

Precision: Hitting or accenting certain moves to create lovely pictures from the relaxed hand to the pointed toe.

Every professional is brilliant with Derek Hough, Mark Ballas and Peta Murgatroyd being standouts for me.  This season I am looking for new pro, Lindsay Arnold and a new troop member, Whitney Carson from “So You Think You Can Dance.”

However, having purpose, power and precision isn’t everything.  The rehearsal footage and interviews show celebrities as real people.  I am looking for passion, personality, and persistence.

Passion: Someone who is willing to invest emotions into dance and is willing to be vulnerable.

Personality: Bringing playfulness to the dance floor with a carefree abandonment that is unique to them.

Persistence: Striving to continue to take constructive criticism and be open to growth.

I am looking out for Zendaya, Dorothy Hamill, Kelli Pickler, Jacoby Jones, and Aly Raisman.

In addition there are the evolving partnerships where I look for physicality, patience, and the process.

Physicality: How two bodies move as one and relate to each other.

Patience: Needed from both pro and celebrity as they grow as a team and in ability.

Process: The journey the two people go on during rehearsal and on taping nights.

Acting can be like ballroom dancing where your “scene partner” is your fellow dancer.  I love to respond off what my fellow actor is giving me in that moment.  The focus is not on you but on the relationship and trust needed to move forward even if it is in an unexpected direction.

Overall, it can be the emotion, the fun, the chemistry and willingness to learn and entertain that people respond to the most.  I think the show excels at showcasing entertainment which trumps technical ability or dance knowledge.

DWTS certainly has created the right formula for magic with professionals moving with power, people (judges and hosts included) with panache and partnerships primed for playful performances.  I am looking forward to all of that tonight.

For great information and videos check out the website Pure dwts. To watch the performances immediately (sometimes even before the show airs California time) check out Rickey.org.

Other things to watch out for this season: The new added dance styles such as contemporary, the costumes, choreography, the theme nights and the results shows performances.