"WOD" is back for Season 3, and once again, the internet is loving it! How much do they love it, you ask? Well they've watched many of the dances millions of times, so it's safe to say—A WHOLE LOT! We did some research and discovered which dances have been watched the most since Season 3's premiere, and the results may surprise you.
Here are the top-four most viewed "WOD" videos of the season so far! Let us know your favorite over on our Facebook page!
Arizona State Sun Devil dancers Claire Wolford and Ciara Self, via @clairewolford on Instagram
We always love the chance to celebrate our favorite type of student athletes (dancers, obviously 💁♀️). So when we found out that today was a national holiday devoted to just that, we rounded up the Instagram accounts of some of our favorite leading ladies. These dancers come from some of the top title-winning teams in the country, and they are fabulous. Follow them down the endless rabbit hole of Instagram dance-video magic.
Flamenco students at Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba. Photo by Toba Singer
Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba's downtown Havana studios are on a plaza where you see few tourists. A historic landmark, the building is now where 1,300 dance students learn the Cubanismo style, 30 of them in its academic program. Artistic director Lizt Alfonso trained in classical ballet at Cuba's National School of the Arts, but not endowed with what Cubans call condiciones, a "ballet body," she dreamed of putting all Cuban dance styles onstage in one evening. To critics, her project was overreaching, but Alfonso turned a deaf ear to the word "can't."
Laura Alonso, respected teacher and daughter of eponymous ballet figures Alicia and Fernando Alonso, liked her idea. Having hired Alfonso to teach, Alonso also provided her rehearsal space. Cuba's then-President Fidel Castro saw a performance, and enthusiastic, intervened to remodel the building Alfonso wanted. Besides studios, the building, with its brightly painted walls, has a costume shop, classrooms, a cafeteria, gym, recording studio and offices, and a terrace café. From LADC, specialists in dance, music, costume and stagecraft send company tours to New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Las Vegas and Tel Aviv.
Ruediger Landmann in class at Queensland Ballet. Jason Starr, Courtesy Queensland Ballet.
Last month, dance writer Siobhan Burke tipped us off in Danceletter, her bi-weekly newsletter, to the fact that a ballet emoji was in the works, and we couldn't wait to share the news with you. Since then, we've gleaned a bit more information, and are now glad to let you know that the "pink loafer with ribbons" image that created an outcry from bunheads worldwide is NOT what the emoji will actually look like. Thankfully, the author of the proposal, Ruediger Landmann, reached out to us to set the record straight.
From left: Jonathan Stafford; Photo by Paul Kolnik; Wendy Whelan, Photo by Lindsey Thomas
Well over a year after the retirement of Peter Martins, New York City Ballet has announced that former principal dancer Jonathan Stafford will lead the company and its affiliated School of American Ballet as artistic director. Fellow former principal Wendy Whelan will serve as associate artistic director.
When Monica Stephenson was a student at Houston Ballet Academy, she was cast as Lauren Anderson's swan double in Swan Lake. The role was just a few walks in Odile's tutu and a veil as the scene changed, but it was a thrill for the 18-year-old Stephenson. Anderson, one of the few principal ballerinas of color, was the inspiration for Stephenson to attend Houston Ballet Academy.
For the role, wardrobe gave Stephenson a few pairs of Anderson's special-order pointe shoes that were brown to match her skin tone. "That really helped me," Stephenson says. "I wound up wearing her specs my entire career. Sometimes people don't realize when they're impacting a young person."
Stephenson never forgot what it meant to have a role model like Anderson. She knew she'd want to inspire ballet students of color herself someday.
Birmingham Royal Ballet announced today that international star Carlos Acosta will be taking over as director in January of 2020. Current BRB director David Bintley will be stepping down this summer, at the end of the company's 2019 season, after a 24-year tenure. "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet," Acosta said in a statement.
Since retiring from The Royal Ballet in 2015, Acosta has focused much of his attention on his native Cuba, where he's proven his directorial abilities at the helm of Acosta Danza, the contemporary company that he founded in 2016. In 2017 Acosta also opened his first Dance Academy through his foundation, which provides free training to students. We don't yet know how Acosta will balance his time between his projects in Cuba and his new role at BRB.
Since street dancing on subway cars is illegal and dangerous, members of It's Showtime NYC! have found alternative outlets for their craft. One Friday night a month, they gear up for Battle! Hip-Hop in Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Many people know about the program and are coming to see it," says Pierre Terjanian, curator in charge of the department of Arms and Armor. "Other visitors are just passing through the museum. The element of surprise is part of the exhilaration."
On this frigid night in January, a crowd gathered near the museum's beloved display of suited knights and horses. "Children up front!" a staff person shouted, encouraging kids as young as 2 to sit near the action, a rectangle of space beneath the balcony. On the floor, pieces of medieval gear and modern streetwear suggest confrontation.
Well, last night—after an extensive search process that focused on finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican/Latinx community—the WSS team finally revealed who'll be playing Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino (joining Ansel Elgort, who was cast as Tony last fall). And you guys: It is a truly epic group.
Carol Channing in the original 1964 production of Hello, Dolly! Photo by Eileen Darby, courtesy of DM Archives
The inimitable Carol Channing, best known for her role as the titular Hello, Dolly!, passed away today at 97.
Though she became a three-time Tony winner, Channing was born in Seattle, far from the Great White Way, in 1921. After growing up in San Francisco, she attended the famed Bennington College, studying dance and drama. She later told the university, "What Bennington allows you to do is develop the thing you're going to do anyway, over everybody's dead body." For Channing, that meant decades of fiery, comical performances, bursting with energy.
Photo by Natalie Fiol, courtesy of University of Illinois Dept. of Dance
This academic year marks the 50th anniversary of the dance department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In 1959, when the dance program was part of physical education, its head Margaret Erlanger invited Merce Cunningham for a four-month residency—the first of its kind on a university campus. Since then, U of I has been known for its vibrant dance programs, faculty, facility and innovation in the field. There is much to celebrate.
Gregory Hines revolutionized the tap scene in the '80s and '90s with his incredibly charismatic, effortlessly virtuosic performances on Broadway and the big screen. Now, the trailblazing entertainer—who died in 2003—is being recognized by the US Postal Service with a commemorative stamp. And we are SO HERE FOR IT.
The stamp, which will debut January 28th, is part of the USPS's Black Heritage series, and features a classic Jack Mitchell portrait of Hines. If you're in the NYC area, stop by the day-of-issue event at Symphony Space on the 28th (it's free!). If you're not a New Yorker, no worries: The stamps will be available for purchase online and at local post offices.
While you're waiting to get your hands on those stamps, check out some of our favorite videos of Hines' fabulous feet: