Celebrities Who Can Dance

This is an article I enjoyed from DanceInfoma.com

10 Celebrities Who Can Dance

10 Celebrities Who Can Dance

By Stephanie Wolf of Dance Informa.

These celebrities have found their stardom on the big screen and radio airwaves. But before they were famous, these actors and singers spent a lot of time in the dance studio.

Hugh Jackman

It’s no longer a surprise that Australian actor Hugh Jackman is a great dancer. While he gained a lot of recognition for his appearances in blockbuster movies likeX-Men and Wolverine, Jackman began his performance career in musical theater and trained at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at the Edith Cowan University. He won a Tony for his role in the 2003 Broadway musical The Boy from Oz and received great acclaim for his 2011 concert Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.

Emily VanCamp

Emily VanCamp, star of ABC’s Revenge, seemed poised for a career in ballet as a promising pupil at the Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ training program in Montreal. After visiting her sister on set of a 1999 movie calledLadies Room, VanCamp was bitten by the acting bug and enrolled in classes — the rest is history.

Vanessa Carlton

Before her hit single “A Thousand Miles,” Vanessa Carlton was actually a budding ballet dancer at the School of American Ballet. In interviews, Carlton is often quoted about how challenging it was leave the dance world, but she struggled with the level of discipline required to pursue it professionally and followed her affinity for music instead.

Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago

Catherine Zeta-Jones

A trained dancer and singer, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones first got her start in musical theater, appearing as the lead in the British revival of the musical 42nd Street at 15. She got to show off her dancing skills again in the 2002 movie musical Chicago.

Jenna Elfman

Golden Globe Award-winning actress Jenna Elfman, best known for her role on the ABC hit series Dharma and Greg, is a classically trained ballet dancer. She switched to acting in her 20s after battling several bad injuries, but continues to be a public advocate of dance — she has made several appearances as a guest judge on FOX Network’s So You Think You Can Dance.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Funny man Jesse Tyler Ferguson has become a household name for his role at Mitch Pritchett in the ABC sitcom Modern Family. But Ferguson, a graduate of theAmerican Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City, got his start in musical theater. And, early in his career, worked as a singer and dancer at Cliff’s Amusement Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze grew us dancing. His mother, Patsy Swayze, owned a dance school in Houston, where he trained. Patrick then trained at the Harkness and Joffrey ballet schools in New York City and, eventually, married dancer/actress Lisa Niemi, who he danced with at his mother’s dance studio.

Christopher Walken

Before finding his fame in movies, actor, director, and screenwriter Christopher Walken’s theatrical training had a major dance emphasis. He studied musical theater at Washington Dance Studio and later at Hofstra University in upstate New York. Walken actually still likes to squeeze in a step or two for his cinematic appearances and busted a move in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” music video in the early 2000s.

Amy Adams

Add Amy Adams to the list of aspiring ballerinas turned actresses. Born in Italy and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Adams studied dance at a local dance school in Castle Rock and got her first professional gig as a dancer with the Boulder Dinner Theater. She then moved to Minnesota to further her musical theater ambitions with the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. An injury eventually sidelined her dancing dreams, but an appearance in the 1999 mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous propelled her acting career.

Neve Campbell

Actress Neve Campbell (Scream, Party of Five) trained for eight months with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago in order to take on the role of Ry in director Robert Altman’s 2003 movie, The Company. But her dancing roots go back much farther than the film. Campbell trained for a bit at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto, but never pursued a career in dance due to an influx of injuries. However, her passion for the art form did lead her to co-write and star in The Company.

Photo (top): Amy Adams dances with Jason Segel in a seen from The Muppets movie. Source: http://theotherdani.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/fashion-inspiration-amy-adams-in.html



Dance Diversity in the Public Schools by Christy Lane

It appears to be a divide between dance educators in the public school sector.  There are the physical educators that are trained in fitness and sport disciplines and offer  beginning level recreational styles of dance (line dances, ballroom, etc) to their students. Then there are the dance educators who have their degrees in dance offering classes in the performing arts styles of dance (ballet, jazz, etc). Unless it is a performing arts school or a charter school, both types of educators are faced in their classes with students who have no prior dance experience or students who have trained in dance studios for years.  How do they tackle the diversity of dance ability levels in their classrooms and which styles of dance would be most beneficial for students today?

Many of the dance education degrees do not address this problem. I have observed many university dance degree programs that “fight” over where dance should be located in their curriculum. Should the dance classes be in the Physical Education Department or the Performing Arts Department? I’ve personally seen this debate played out at a university where their conclusion was “If you want to become a teacher, get the Physical Education degree, but if you want to become a performer, go to the Performing Arts Department and get that degree.”  Hmmmmm. I wonder.

Throughout the many years I have been teaching, I’ve watched various organizations try to implement a Curriculum or Syllabus to eliminate this problem.  But just as with art, whose curriculum is the best?  Maybe with all the cyberspace out there, something will be created soon. Is there anyone out there that has seen a worthwhile curriculum that addresses these concerns?



Smile to support NDWF

I received an email the other day from Jason Neuwirth at 42st Tours telling me he wanted to choose NDWF as his charitable organization when ordering from Amazon.  I was so excited – I didn’t even know the program existed for non profits.  We quickly looked into it and signed up National Dance Week Foundation.  Thank you Amazon and thank you Jason for thinking of NDWF.  Here is some info about the program…..when choosing an organization just enter National Dance Week Foundation.  Thank you in advance for your support

About AmazonSmile

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Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?
Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.
How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make t smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Great snack ideas for dancers

Dancers are always looking for ways to refuel.  Lots of times they need to be quick and low calorie…..sometimes eating many times thru out the day.   I found some wonderful info from:

The Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles
Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD   www.dancernutrition.com

100 Calorie Snack Ideas

This list gives ideas for what approximately 100 calories looks like.  Depending on activity level, an athlete might want to consume more than 100 calories at a time to ensure that they have sustained energy for a longer time period.

½ plain whole grain bagel

2 small oatbites (oats, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, honey rolled together)

2 fig type cookies

20 mini-pretzels (quick burst energy)

1 slice of whole grain bread with 1 tsp nut butter (longer sustained energy)

1 medium banana

½ banana with 2 tsp of peanut butter spread on it

1 large grapefruit

1 large apple

3 small peaches

25 seedless grapes

½ cantaloupe with ¼ cup granola topping

½ cup sweetened applesauce with ¼ cup berries

½ cup cottage cheese with ¼ cup fruit

6 oz low fat yogurt (120 cal) Try Soy or Coconut yogurt

½ cup (4oz) ice cream (110 cal) Watch portions, ½ cup isn’t very big

4 squares of graham crackers

20 yogurt raisins

1 piece string cheese and 5 crackers

1 cup soy or almond milk blended with ½ cup frozen peaches (120 cal)

1 large orange (2 Clementines)

5 dried apricots

1.5 cups regular popcorn

1 cup sweet red pepper slices with 3 tbs hummus

1 cup baby carrots with 1.5 tbs of ranch dressing



“Anti Bullying” ….from Joyce Pennington and Brittany Dolotina, at American Dance/Drill Team

The National Dance Week Foundation is proud to sponsor the Kick for Kindness Anti-Bullying Campaign in October and November.  During the month of October, we have seen some great pictures and videos from dancers across the country coming together to take a stand against bullying.  One of the premiere events for Kick for Kindness was an event held on Sunday, October 12th at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX.  The Kilgore College Rangerettes hosted Rangerette Revelations, taught by Directors Dana Blair and Shelley Wayne, where over 300 dancers participated in a workshop to teach proper dance and kick technique.  Following Revelations, the 300 dancers had the opportunity to perform with the Rangerettes in Victory Plaza, outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  This was such a special opportunity for these dancers!

Joyce - picture 1Joyce - picture 2

Joyce - picture 3

There is still plenty of time for you and your dancers to get involved in this great campaign!  Not sure where to start?  We have lots of great ideas for you on the NDWF website (http://www.nationaldanceweek.org/).  Dedicate your next half time show, pep rally, or community gathering to the Kick for Kindness Anti-Bullying Campaign.  One group, the KMC dancers, recently hosted a fundraiser where they held a discussion about bullying, a kickline, a dance party, then sold pizza.  Proceeds from individual donations and pizza sales went to benefit their local  YMCA.  We would love to see what ideas you come up with over the next few weeks!  Our campaign ends on November 30, so start making your plans today to get involved! Email us at kickit@nationaldanceweek.org



Stand together against bullying

Bullying is a rising crisis and affects all ages. That is why National Dance Week Foundation has started its anti-bullying -Kick for Kindness Campaign. Young people today face so many challenges and bullying is on the rise including the threat of cyber-bullying. The question becomes how can we not only protect those suffering but to educate. Young people need to know they can make a difference by helping each other and taking a stand against bullies.

NDWF is wants dancers to show that same fearless spirit they display on the dance floor to take the lead and encourage others not to tolerate bullying.  If dancers can unite others to step up and not approve, acknowledge or take part in the actions of a bully a difference can be made. Talk about the dangers of bullying – create awareness there is a problem that needs to be dealt.  We have encouraged dancers thru out the country to show their support in many way – wearing the Kick for Kindness red bracelets….signing and get others to sign our anti bullying posters….or performing a kickline in support of anti bullying.

Dancers let’s reach out encouraging our friends, family and school mates to make it “cool” to stand up to bullies.  It is the perfect choreography creating the perfect dance – Kick for Kindness.Print


Kick for Kindness

Throw Back Thursday

Today being Throw Back Thursday it is a time of reflection. National Dance Week first started in 1981 and became a non-profit foundation in 2011. Many of the dancers, dance styles and even dancewear have changed our love of dance hasn’t. Dance is still a part of many lives benefiting us not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Let’s keep talking about and supporting the non profit organizations that promote the celebration of dance. The more we work together the more dance will be available to everyone.


Dance Mob

It is very exciting to see all the participants of National Dance Week’s dance mob.  We are trying to reach out and constantly get as many involve.  Now that June is here it is time to reflect and see all the dancing fun that was had.  I can’t wait to see who wins in our 5 catagories……1. Most Votes(only 2 votes per video will count)2. Most Unique Location 3.Most Creative 4. Most Participants 5.Best Spirit.  So don’t forget to vote.


Congratulations Mikhail Baryshnikov and thank you

Mikhail Baryshnikov will receive the Hubbard Street Chicago 2014 Spotlight Award on May 19. It is an award well deserved for all of your accomplishments. on a personal note one of my favorite movies to this day is White Nights….it gave the non ballet world a chance to see how fabulous as a dancer and actor you were. It was an outstanding pairing of you and Gregory Hines. Thank you for the memories.


Thank you for a great National Dance Week

It is the day after NDW and I would like to thank everyone who participated. Congratulations to our Essay/Poster winners and it was so fun to see all our dance mob videos – and they keep coming in. Also a big shout out to the Belmar Dance Mob in NJ which was a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy – we are going to make it an annual event. Also congratulations on another great NDW in St. Louis, Washington State and PA who all held large events.