The Princesses (and Princes) of Dance in 2015

Harper Watters

Lani Dickinson


In addition to being a glamorous movie star and eventual Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly was an ardent supporter of the arts. Following her tragic death in 1982, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA was founded as a tribute to her legacy. Today, Princess Grace award winners receive various amounts of money in the ballpark of $25,000 each. The foundation has announced its 2015 honorees. The dance recipients are:

Lani Dickinson, Dominican University of California/Along King LINES ballet BFA

Babatunji Johnson of Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Emilie Leriche of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Courtney Celeste Spears of Ailey II

Harper Watters of Houston Ballet

Ching Ching Wong of Northwest Dance Project

Dance honoraria recipient:

Cassandra Trenary of American Ballet Theatre

Choreography recipients:

James Gregg, for Whim W’him

Joshua Manculich, for the Big Muddy Dance Company


Congratulations to so many talented dancers!


Photos from left: by Jordan Matter; by Quinn B. Wharton, both courtesy of Princess Grace Foundation-USA

Getty Images

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."

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.