News

10 A-Listers Who Were Dancers Before They Were Famous

You'll never guess who was feelin' the goove LONG before they became household names. Check out our list of 10 celebrities who were once dancers.


1.

Catherine Zeta-JonesVia Google Images

Catherine Zeta-Jones began taking dance lessons at 4 years old and was a British tap-dancing champion at age 11.

2.

Jennifer LopezVia Google Images

Jennifer Lopez was a Fly Girl on "In Living Color," 1991–93.

3.

Natalie PortmanVia Google Images

Natalie Portman began dancing at 4 years old. She studied ballet and modern dance at the American Theater Dance Workshop after she graduated from high school.

4.

Charlize TheronVia Google Images

Charlize Theron trained at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

5.

MadonnaVia Google Images

Madonna moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance.

6.

Penelope CruzVia Google Images

Penelope Cruz studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain's National Conservatory.

7.

Amy AdamsVia Google Images

Amy Adams trained as an apprentice at David Taylor Dance Theatre in Colorado before shifting to pursue a career in musical theater.

8.

Tupac ShakurVia Google Images

Tupac Shakur began his career as a backup dancer for the hip-hop group Digital Underground.

9.

Elisabeth MossVia Google Images

Elisabeth Moss trained at the School of American Ballet and studied with Suzanne Farrell at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

10.

Channing TatumVia Google Images

Channing Tatum was a dancer in Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" music video.

Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

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Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

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