From Sci-Fi Ballet to Elvis–What A Year!!

December 30, 2013

As we near the countdown to 2014, here’s our chance to look back at some of the most memorable moments of 2013.

10.  Appalachian Mountain Dancers & the Notorious Dancing Outlaw 

Hillbilly Days Dancing (Flickr image: MMlander photo stream)

Hillbilly Days Dancing (Flickr image: MMlander photo stream)

This past year we explored dance styles rooted in the Appalachian Region of the United States. The unforgettable cast of characters included boot-stompin’ Hillbilly Dave (shown in the photo on the left), Jesco White (aka the Dancing Outlaw) and his father, the late D. Ray White (shown below).

It was that one-of-a-kind festival “Hillbilly Days of Pikeville, Kentucky” that inspired us to look further into this unique and fascinating brand of American dance. See the story: HERE.

D. Ray White, the legendary mountain dancer

D. Ray White, the legendary mountain dancer


Then, before our boots had even cooled, we headed back into the dance studio (ahem… the “robot enclave”) to follow the making of….

9.  SID: the Science Fiction Ballet Film

SID the Sci-Fi Ballet Film

In our story, we introduced the impressive team that has collaborated to make this futuristic movie about an android that learns to dance. (You’ll find that story: HERE.)

As a side note…

Undoubtedly, this project piqued our curiosity from the start. While there are many reasons for that to be true, this year’s fascination with all things science fiction, outer space, robots and aliens, was in part inspired by a member of our own team who decided that this year’s holiday decorating theme would be FAR from traditional. In fact, it can pretty much be summed up by this photo below.

Santa & the Flying Saucer

Santa & the Flying Saucer (Image: source)

As for SID the Sci-Fi Ballet Film, we’re looking forward to seeing the completed movie, and will keep you posted about the release date.


Continuing with our countdown… 

First and foremost, we are always grateful for the immeasurable dedication, creativity and talent of the many dancers and other artists who have inspired us.

8.  Here are a few who have inspired us the most. (Click on their stories to find out why.)

7.  Dancers sharing their own stories.

  • No one has worked harder to promote the idea of dancers sharing their personal stories and inspirations than Deborah M. Kaufman, founder of “Words On Dance“.  During its 20 years in existence, this San Francisco-based organization has hosted such dance luminaries as Maria Tallchief, Cynthia Gregory, Mark Morris, Peter Martins, Rita Moreno, Edward Villella, Twyla Tharp, and most recently Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet.
  • This year, we saw Ikolo Griffin explain his theory of turning (i.e. pirouettes) in a film by Calvin Walker: Just Turns
All in all, the year 2013, was just another leap forward in our efforts to dispel that old saying that dancers (like children) should be seen and not heard.

6.  Then, there was Elvis.

Elvis Presley in Tuxedo

Elvis Presley (Name, image and likeness appear courtesy of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. –

In 2013, we caught a glimpse of the phenomenon of Elvis Presley. In fact, there were multiple aspects to this monumental endeavor which included a look at 1) the life and career of Elvis Presley himself, 2) the many skillful Elvis tribute artists (of all ages and backgrounds by the way),  3) the legions of devoted Elvis fans, and 4) the lasting influence that Elvis has had on other types of artists.

During a trip to Memphis, Tennessee for Elvis Week 2013, we watched as performers from all over the world honed their skills to compete in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

In an interview with renowned choreographer, Dennis Nahatwe fondly remembered his wildly successful balletBlue Suede Shoes, which was inspired by the music of Elvis Presley.

Long live the magic of the King of Rock and Roll!!Blue Suede Shoes

5.  And the Award Goes To…..

As the awards season rolls around for the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, and the Grammys, we look back at the 2013 Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (the “Izzies”). 


4.  We lost a dear friend: Rube Werner the Followspot Operator


Rube Werner: Followspot formerly at the Lesher Center, Walnut Creek, CA

Rube Werner: Followspot formerly at the Lesher Center, Walnut Creek, CA

We were fortunate to capture this last interview with Rube along with a few other heroes behind the scenes who control the spotlight.

That interview can be found here: Tales of the Followspot Operator


3.  Auditions, Auditions, and more Auditions!!

Thank you for sending along your audition announcements, performance updates, job opportunities and ideas for featured stories!  Keep sending them our way, and we’ll be sure to share them with our readers.


2.  New Year’s Resolution

Belen Maya, Flamenco Dancer

Belen Maya, Flamenco Dancer

Next year, we’ll strive to feature more of those dance styles that we love, but have yet to cover!

See: Dance Community


New Year's Resolution

 Or should we say…

1.  Looking back & dancing forward to 2014!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014


The name, image and likeness of Elvis Presley appear courtesy of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.  See official website:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,