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NYCDA Foundation's Annual "Destiny Rising" Performance Was All Kinds of Inspiring

Every January, students, parents, professionals, and lovers of dance all gather for the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation's annual fundraising performance "Destiny Rising" at The Joyce Theater. And every year we fall a little bit more in love with the foundation's mission: "Investing in the next generation of professional performers by offering scholarships for secondary and college education." Since its founding in 2010, the foundation has awarded over $2.5 million in scholarships. Because of the program (and its uber-generous donors), kids across the country literally get to attend college and pursue their dance dreams. What could be better than that?! Not much...


It's always very emotional watching the former scholarship recipients (who are out in the dance world doing huge things) come back and talk about how much the foundation means to them and why their careers wouldn't be where they are today if they hadn't had those scholarship opportunities. Last night, we got to hear more about the story and journey of the lovely Courtney Celeste Spears, a new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member, and it was some serious #Mondaymotivation.

The night also always proves to be a super-glitzy and fun performance thanks to lots of high-profile guests, and last night was no exception. New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia performed a dazzling excerpt from Stars and Stripes, Marymount Manhattan College students performed a stunning piece by Gabrielle Lamb, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet presented an excerpt from the ethereal Dwight Rhoden piece Bach 25, to name just a few. (And can we just say it was SO FUN getting to watch former DS Cover Model Search finalist Tatiana Melendez perform her heart out with her new company fam CCB! Go girl! đź’Ą)

If you're a current junior or senior in high school who's wanting to go to college for dance, make sure you don't miss the next NYCDA Foundation audition date: July 1, 2019 in NYC. You never know what might happen... ✨

And ICYMI, enjoy this peek at Marymount Manhattan College's performance:


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Photo by Jacqueline Chang, courtesy of Ailey Extension

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Reviewing a simple recording of your voice when you're teaching can help you hear how you sound to your students. Taking the time to play back your instructions, corrections and compliments throughout class will help you find any weak spots as well as recognize some of your strengths. It's a great technique to help you evaluate your instructional ability and make improvements, and pat yourself on the back for things you are doing well. Plus, it's super-easy to do!

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Including ballet competition standout Alina Taratorin (photo by Oliver Endahl, courtesy Taratorin)

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When Alicia Burghardt entered Dean College in Massachusetts as a freshman dance major, it hadn't occurred to her that the Boston Celtics had a dance team. A competition kid with aspirations for Broadway, Burghardt never imagined herself as an NBA dancer. But by the time she was finishing her senior year, she'd not only joined the Celtics Dancers, she was choreographing a number for a major playoff game. And after finishing her rookie year, surrounded on that TD Garden parquet floor by uproarious fans, she couldn't help but stay for another. "It's unbelievable performing for Boston fans," she says. "They're so loyal to their team. It could be third quarter, down 20 points, and they're still cheering."

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Your year-end recital is your studio's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not only is it the time for your dancers to celebrate what they've accomplished during the year, it's your opportunity to demonstrate to parents firsthand the value of a dance education. A successful recital can also grant your school an influential role in the local community. Whether a prominent conservatory or a small-town studio, and whether your dancers win competitions or take classes once a week, your year-end recital is the chance for your dancers—and your program—to shine.

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"No formal training. No dance studio. No mentor," says Erik Saradpon about his beginnings in hip hop.

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From Coppélia. Photo by Toshi Oga, courtesy of MOGA

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From "Boston—Our City." Photo by Rachel Hassinger, courtesy of BalletRox

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