3 Standout Acts From the Season 2 Premiere of "World of Dance"

The Desi Hoppers are pure entertainment, photo courtesy of NBC

"World of Dance" is back for Season 2, and it already has us on our feet. The talent is next-level, the stories are emotional and J.Lo's hoop earrings could double as real-life hula hoops (Yassss queen 😍). Summer is upon us, and we are absolutely LIVING for this show, guys!

In case you missed the premiere, or you just loved it so much you want to relive the dance magic again with us, here are three standout performances from last night that we can't get over.

1. Karen y Ricardo

Oh. My. Gosh. Are they for real? Their chemistry alone had us fangirling. Not to mention their mind-blowing lifts, technical prowess and crisp timing! Hats off to these two. We can't wait to see what they bring to the next stage of the competition.

2. Jaxon Willard

This dancer's piece was so emotional it gave us chills. His choreography reminded the audience that there's strength in vulnerability and it's OK to feel emotion. His movement was powerful, his tricks were impressive and his choreography was captivating. Jaxon gets two big thumbs up from us!

3. Desi Hoppers

Desi Hoppers, the self-proclaimed "One Direction of India" are the hip-hop/Bollywood fusion we didn't know we needed right now. Their crisp, detailed movement drew from traditional Bollywood dances, but morphed into a groove that made Jenna Dewan exclaim, "Oooh! This is funky!" We're looking forward to drooling over our new favorite boy group this summer!

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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 PolitĂ©cnico 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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