Happy Nationals season, everybody! It's that time of year when us lucky editors get to watch so, SO many gorgeous solos by dancers competing for big titles. But even among the insanely gifted artists at the top of the comp circuit, Tate McRae stands out. Just ask anyone who's seen the solo that helped her win Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards in Vegas last week.

Choreographed by Travis Wall (naturally), "Woman" is virtuosic both technically and artistically. Are the 180-degree extensions and fluid lyricism that captivated "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" audiences two years ago still there? Of course they are. But Tate also approaches the solo with a commitment and maturity that's rare in industry veterans, let alone 14-year-old students.

The Conversation
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Photo by spinkickpictures.com, courtesy of Mitchell

"Popular music has an overall energy that lends itself to the street-jazz style," says Derek Mitchell. But over the last eight years or so, the choreographer, who also teaches contemporary, jazz funk and musical theater, has noticed a lack of great musicality and interesting lyrics. As a result, Mitchell's music searches often gravitate toward the classic hits from artists like Prince and Janet Jackson. "Rarely do I hear a new song that makes me go, 'Oh, I want to dance to that!'"

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Screenshot via YouTube

Every once in a while, the stars align, things fall precisely into place, and the perfect marketing campaign is born. Such is the case with New York City Ballet's new trailer for their upcoming run of The Sleeping Beauty.

Instead of going the traditional promotional route (performance clips, snippets of the score), NYCB took it to the next level by staging an elaborate photoshoot for Princess Aurora (played by principal Lauren Lovette) and her court, to commemorate her upcoming 16th birthday. And when we say "court," we mean it: everyone and their mother is there, from the Lackey, to Catalabutte, to the King and Queen, trailed by their guards, of course. Watching company members Aarón Sanz, Maria Kowroski, Meaghan Dutton O'Hara, and Ask la Cour (among many others) flex their acting chops is hysterical—they're all masters in the art of serving face (especially Kowroski, whose Carabosse literally sent chills down our spine), and we're so here for it. Catch the full video below!


New York City Ballet Presents The Sleeping Beauty www.youtube.com

Dance Teacher Tips

The tripod (demonstrated by LizAnne Roman Roberts) is one of the more standard Countertechnique tools, designed to challenge the body to maintain dynamic balance while multitasking through multiple trajectories. Aptly named, the tripod works in three different directions: as the lower body moves down, the upper body moves up and back, eventually spiraling into an elegant twist.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Kyle Froman

Taught by Francesca Harper and demonstrated by Naya Lovell, this step borrows from William Forsythe's quest to take classical movement vocabulary and deconstruct the shapes created. "Let the momentum at the top of the développé carry you," says Harper, "and see how your body intuitively has its own response."

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Is there anything better than staying home on a weekend night to binge-watch your favorite TV show, only to be surprised by a mind-blowing surprise dance number mid-episode?

Yeah, we don't think so, either. There are just way too many positives in that scenario.

Check out these five television shows that have some seriously fabulous and unexpected dance numbers in them.

Enjoy!

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screenshot via YouTube

If anyone's going to demonstrate how to break out some fresh dance moves it might as well be Ciara. This dancing diva is working on her seventh album, and everyone knows that any great album should be served with a side of dancing. So Ciara decided to show Vogue five of her fiercest moves—and we are here for every single one of them.

From the 1, 2 Step to Bucking, Ciara reminds us why we love her in this beautiful tutorial. We dare you to watch this and NOT bust a move. We can't wait to see what routines Ciara and her longtime choreographer Jamaica Craft pair with the tracks on her upcoming album. Whatever they decide, we know we'll be in for a treat. Until then you can master Ciara's iconic dance moves with the help of the video below. We won't judge you for playing it on repeat.


Ciara Breaks Down 5 Iconic Dance Moves to "Dose" | Vogue www.youtube.com

Cardi B broke out her best moves during her performance. (via IHeartRadio)

ICYMI, one of music's biggest events happened last night: the American Music Awards (aka, a chance for the industry's best singers to strut their stuff—usually with a squad of the fiercest dancers around). The show always brings some fabulously dancy performances, but the ones below were our top faves.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Demonstrators Claire Crause and Avery Sobczak. Photo by Kyle Froman

This partnering move is all about the weight transfer, say Chris and Lauren Grant. "It's not about Hulk-Hoganing someone," says Lauren. The flyer and base must keep their hips together throughout, so that the weight of the flyer can pour gently onto the thighs of the base, rather than just dumping.

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Photo by Rachel Papo

Our Dance Teacher Summit in New York City was an inspiring three days of technique classes, seminars and networking with incredible educators! Our favorite part is always the evening of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards Competition, when we present the Dance Teacher Awards. This year's awardees included Julie Kent, Djana Bell, Rhonda Miller, Sue Samuels and Stephanie Kersten.

Check out the winning Capezio A.C.E. Awards' winning number, Not for Picking, choreographed by Mary Grace McNally, below.

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Dance Teacher Tips

"If I hear another dancer say, 'I don't like to plié,'" says Broadway Dance Center contemporary teacher Tracie Stanfield, "I am going to scream!" This frustration was the inspiration behind Stanfield's progression video, which focuses on level changes. The combination, demonstrated by dancers Gaby Blaney and Lexie Childers, starts with an over-crossed passé and builds into floorwork and landing on the tops of the feet. The series challenges dancers to build strength while staying grounded. "They learn to let the body soften on contact with the floor before throwing themselves from the air to the ground," she says.

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Alright, people. Summer is officially over, and fall is upon us. What a ride it's been! From intensives to Nationals to workshops, you teachers have been FABULOUS!

To recap, we thought we would share three of our favorite class videos that came from summer 2018.

They're just so good.

Enjoy!

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Travis Wall is having a good week.

After being honored at a nomination reception for the upcoming Emmy awards show, a new poignant piece of Wall's was featured on Season 15 of "SYTYCD." Choreographed for contestants Taylor Sieve and Darius Hickman to "It Takes a Lot to Know a Man," by Damien Rice, the piece was not only technically beautiful, it shed light on the issue of gender and the LGBTQ perspective—an topic rarely confronted on the FOX show.

"As a gay man, i hear all the time why "SYTYCD" has avoided gay topics and stories, and asked men to always dance masculine," Wall posted on Instagram. He went on to write that he wants the show to tackle these sensitive issues. Read the full post below.


In a previous post, Wall revealed that initially Rice denied the use of the song on the show. However, after the brazen choreographer contacted the singer/songwriter directly, explaining the context and importance of this specific track, the usage rights were granted.

Watch the powerful performance below (starting at 1:58). Definitely, one for the books!

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