The Latest TV Dance Show Debuts Tonight!

Did you know that singer/actress Mya could tap dance? Neither did we, but apparently she does. It’s all part of CBS’ new show, “Secret Talents of the Stars,” which will feature celebrities competing each week in a tournament-style format to determine who has the best “hidden talent.” (Think of it as the new “America’s Got Talent.”)


The show, produced by Magic Molehill Productions, Inc., premieres live today, April 8, at 10 pm ET/PT and 7 pm CT. Some of the celebrities featured include country singer Clint Black, former child actor Danny Bonaduce, professional boxer Ric Flair, comedian Ben Stein and Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen. Mya’s routine is choreographed by none other than DT May cover subject Jason Samuels Smith! (Be sure to stay tuned next month to read all about his journey from teen prodigy to spokesman for tap.)

The celebrities’ performances will be critiqued by a yet-to-be-announced judging panel, but it’s home viewer votes that will determine who moves on in the competition. The live finale will air Thursday, May 22 at 8 pm ET/PT, when the four finalists will compete one last time. Who knows, maybe this new experience will help them discover new careers. Now that’s something you definitely can’t miss!

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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