Friday, December 7, 2007

Update From Sabra

Sabra Johnson posted the following to her Myspace blog:

The Aftermath:)

I am moving on, having to make my own reason for getting up at a reasonable time these days. So far I love it!

I will be touring with NYCDA this year which I'm so excited about! That's like a dream come true for me. I can't wait to meet hundreds and hundreds of more of amazing dancers. Boston will be my first city but after that I can't make any until January which is not set in stone yet. I'm working on it:).

I am teaching a Broadway Dance Center at the end of December and then again at the beginning of January.

I'm not sure how to just post a bulletin.... I think that's what it is? I could be completely wrong, but anyway I wanted to let you guys know what I'm doing for those who asked and those who care :). Thanks again for wanting to know and still be involved. I will do my absolute best to keep you informed!

Can't wait to meet you crazy people! Lots of Love:)

Don't forget to vote for Sabra again!

Danny's First Post-SYTYCD Performance

What a holiday treat for dance fans! Danny Tidwell will appear with international stars Carrie Imler and Rasta Thomas in performances of The Nutcracker, with the San Elijo Dance and Music Academy at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, December 21-23 2007.

Together, beautiful dancers, a live orchestra, spectacular sets and gorgeous costumes light up the stage as this magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker comes to life. San Elijo’s sixth annual Nutcracker production promises to be a heart-warming and memorable event for the entire family! Ticket prices range from $18.50 to $42.

More info and tickets here. Note: Danny will only appear in the 2 evening performances. Full press release after the jump.

Thanks to Rebecca and Loralyn for contributing to this report.


Tchaikovsky’s THE NUTCRACKER
California Center for the Arts, Escondido
December 21- 23 2007
Evening performances on Dec 21 & 22 at 7:00 pm
and a matinee performances Dec 22 & 23 at 2:00pm

Principal Guest Stars: Carrie Imler, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell from FOX’s show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Accompanied by the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra

Directors Lauri-Michelle and Benjamin Houk announce that San Elijo Dance & Music Academy will perform a magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido running December 21 through the 23. Evening performances on December 21 & 22 at 7:00 pm and a matinee performances December 22 & 23 at 2:00 pm. San Elijo Dance and Music Academy is proud to perform their sixth-annual Nutcracker this December with international guests stars Carrie Imler, Principal Ballerina, Pacific Northwest Ballet: Rasta Thomas, International Star; and Danny Thomas, FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

History of The Nutcracker
This famous play began life in 1816 written by the German writer E.T.A. Hoffman. The play was entitled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and it was a tale of an unhappy girl named Marie whose only love is a nutcracker doll. The play was adapted in 1845 by famed French novelist Alexandre Dumas, who made the play more suitable for children. In 1891 the cheerier version of the ballet was chosen as the basis of a Russian ballet to be scored by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petitpa and Lev Ivanov The original ballet opened in St. Petersburg on December 17, 1892. The ballet is the tale of a girl named Clara who is given a nutcracker doll for Christmas by her godfather, Drosselmeyer. That night she falls asleep and is disturbed by an attack of mice led by the Mouse King, who wishes to take her away to his kingdom. She is rescued by soldiers of the Nutcracker who, as a prince, takes her to his land, a country full of sugarplums and waltzing flowers. She awakens the next morning with only the doll and memories of her Christmas adventure.

International Guest Stars Performing

San Elijo Dance and Music Academy is presenting international guest artist Carrie Imler, Principal from Pacific Northwest Ballet , Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell from FOX’s show “So You Think You Can Dance.” will be performing the principal roles.

Carrie Imler
Carrie Imler is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She trained on scholarship at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1995. In 1996, she was promoted to corps de ballet. She was made a Soloist in 2000 and Principal in 2002.

Ms. Imler has danced leading roles in George Balanchine's Apollo, Ballet Imperial, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Chaconne, Concerto Barocco, Diamonds, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, La Valse, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania, Hippolyta), Rubies, Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Theme and Variations, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?; Val Caniparoli's The Bridge, Lambarena, and Torque; Nacho Duato's Jardí Tancat; William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated; Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow (Hanna) and The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Gold and Silver pas de trois); Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries; Kevin O'Day's Aract; Kirk Peterson's Amazed in Burning Dreams; Marius Petipa's Le Corsaire Pas de Trois, Don Quixote (Kitri), and Paquita; Kent Stowell's Carmen, Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Fairy Godmother), Coppélia (Dance of the Hours, Dawn), Delicate Balance, Dumbarton Oaks, Firebird, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Kammergarten Tänze, Nutcracker (Clara, Flora), Poème St. Saëns, Quaternary, Silver Lining, Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Juliet, Lady Capulet); Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs and Dances; Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Mercury; Paul Taylor's Roses; Glen Tetley's Voluntaries; Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs; and Rudi van Dantzig's Ginastera. She originated leading roles in Nicolo Fonte's Almost Tango and Christopher Stowell's Zaïs.

Ms. Imler danced in the BBC's 1999 film version of PNB's production of Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. She was also featured in the PBS documentary about Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Children with a Dream

Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Cinderella), Coppélia (Swanilda), Duo Fantasy, Firebird, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Palacios Dances, Pas de Deux Campagnolo, Quaternary, Silver Lining, Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Juliet); Lynne Taylor-Corbett's The Ballad of You and Me, Mercury, and The Quilt; Glen Tetley's Voluntaries; and Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs. Kent Stowell created Dual Lish for Ms. Pantastico in 2004. She also originated leading roles in Dominique Dumais' Time and other Matter, Paul Gibson's The Piano Dance and Christopher Stowell's Quick Time and Zaïs.

Ms. Pantastico was featured in the BBC's 1999 film version of PNB's production of Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. In 2004, she performed the second movement of Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet as a guest artist for New York City Ballet's Balanchine Centennial.

Rasta Thomas

Born in 1981 in San Francisco, California, and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Rasta Thomas studied at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. Considered a prodigy by the Kirov’s former director Oleg Vinogradov, at the age of 12 he was featured in a Russian television special, STARS OF THE KIROV BALLET.

Mr. Thomas, age 13, made dance history by becoming the youngest recipient of the Jury Prize at the 1994 Paris International Dance Competition; age 15, was awarded the Junior Gold Medal at the 1996 Varna International Ballet Competition; and at age 16, won the coveted Senior Gold Medal at the 1998 Jackson International Ballet Competition.

In 1995 Mr. Thomas became a member of Le Jeune Ballet de France, and in 1997 was invited by the Hartford Ballet to be a Principal Artist. Since then he has appeared as a guest artist with such prestigious companies as the Kirov Ballet, Imperial Russian Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Washington Ballet, Victor Ullate Ballet of Spain, Beijing Central Ballet, Inoue Ballet of Japan, Universal Ballet of Korea, Alonzo King's Lines Contemporary Ballet, Complexions, Orlando Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and K-Ballet.

In addition to guest appearances at major national and interntional festivals, Mr. Thomas was the subject of a Bravo television documentary in l997. Additional television appearances include CBS Breakfast with the Arts, and a featured performance at the 1999 televised Academy Awards, choreographed by the one and only Debbie Allen. Mr. Thomas has also starred in Ms. Allen’s musicals PEPITO'S STORY, SOUL POSSESSED, and PEARL.

In 2000 Mr. Thomas was featured in an international GAP advertisement. In November 2000 Mr. Thomas headlined, directed and produced a full evening’s dance presentation in Japan, which was nationally televised and received critical acclaim. Mr. Thomas is featured in the motion picture ONE LAST DANCE starring Patrick Swayze.

Mr. Thomas' repertoire includes DON QUIXOTE, GISELLE, SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER, LE CORSAIRE, Roland Petit’s LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA MORT, George Balanchine’s AGON, APOLLO, TARANTELLA, SERENADE, STARS AND STRIPES, THE PRODIGAL SON, FOUR TEMPERMENTS, Michael Smuin’s ST. LOUIS WOMAN and SONG FOR A DEAD WARRIOR, Geoffrey Holder’s FIREBIRD, Sir Fredrick Ashton's THAIS, Michel Fokin's LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE and CHOPINIANA, Lar Lubovitch's OTHELLO, LITTLE RHAPSODY and ELEMENTAL BRUBECK, Jerome Robbins' FANCY FREE, Ulysses Dove's DANCING ON THE FRONT PORCH OF HEAVEN and RED ANGELS, Richard Moves ACHILLES in addition to works by Kirk Peterson, Roger C Jeffrey, Vladimir Angelov and more.

In January 2005, Mr. Thomas made his Broadway debut in the leading role of “Eddie” in the Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel hit musical MOVIN’ OUT. Mr. Thomas performed the role of “Eddie” on the national and Japanese tour of MOVIN’ OUT throughout the 2006/07 season.

In 2007 Mr. Guested with American Ballet Theatre and became a Guest Artist with Japan's premier ballet company K-Ballet. He is currently directing his company BAD BOYS of DANCE and seeks to make it the premier male dance company of the world. A critically acclaimed classical and contemporary dancer; martial arts master; gymnast; and director, Mr.Thomas is a cutting-edge performance artist who continues to push his artistry to a new dimension. Rasta Thomas is, indeed, one of the most gifted artists of his generation.

Danny Tidwell
Danny Tidwell (Virginia Beach, VA) started dancing at Denise Wall’s Dance Energy under the direction of Denise Wall and Vicky Cooke. At 15 he was invited to study classical ballet with Vladimir Djouloukhadze and Anatoli Kucheruk at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. While his time boarding, he performed principal roles in original shows created by Debbi Allen. Dreams and Pearl Were performed at the, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

In 2001, Mr. Tidwell won the Second Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Shanghai, China 2002, received the Silver Medal at the Jackson International Ballet Competition.
Danny joined American Ballet Theatre’s, Studio Company in the fall of 2002. In may 2003 he joined ABT’s Corps de Ballet. Tidwell had the opportunity to perform many leading roles, classically in the repertory. Including roles like, Spectre de la Rose, and Peasant pas de deux from Giselle. Along side contemporary works, by choreographers: Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Kirk Peterson and Robert Hill.

In 2005, Mr. Tidwell was featured as Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch and Pointe Magazine's TOP 10 VIP. In May, Danny worked alongside with choreographer Lauren Adams on the show Moving Still. These same concepts were also published in a photography book, Moving Still, a life performance, photographed by and Laurent Alfieri.

August 2005, Danny was a guest teacher for American Ballet Theater's, program in Bermuda. Continuing his works in the education of dance. Tidwell, now on faculty for JUMP, has also been invited to guest teach at programs, and schools across the country.

Danny Tidwell with partner David Benaym Co-Founded Movmnt Magazine. June 2006 this new publication launched it's first issue. Movmnt is a pop- culture magazine with dance and music as a lifestyle. movmnt hits newsstands quarterly.

This 22 year old guest artist, was featured in prestigious gala's in spring and summer of 2006. Classical and contemporary, the opening ceremonies of the USA IBC in Jackson, MS, was a highlight for the summer.

Tidwell also performed October 2006 as Principal Dancer in La Gioconda at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In December 2006, Danny performed with Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles the acclaimed Broadway like show "The Bayou Legend".

Danny Tidwell has worked with several companies and continues to collaborate creatively.

Civic Youth Orchestra
For 50 years, Civic Youth Orchestra has provided excellence in orchestral training to the area’s gifted young musicians. The Civic Youth Orchestra, a non-profit organization, provides young people with the opportunity to study and perform the world’s great orchestral works under the guidance of experienced teachers and conductors. The program includes an intermediate orchestra, an advanced intermediate ensemble, a beginning string ensemble, primary string orchestra, a wind ensemble and a full symphony orchestra. Practices are held at Palomar College in San Marcos and the Civic Youth Orchestra provides special performance tours every two years for its symphony orchestra students. The 2006 Symphony Orchestra tour took the ensemble to Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland and St, Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.

For the past thirteen years, Civic Youth Orchestra has been proud to feature winners of the San Diego Music Teachers Association Annual Concerto Competition at the final concert of the year. This tradition has become a valuable music experience for both orchestra and soloist. Under the direction and guidance of its board of directors, the organization continues to grow, filling a substantial void for music students in North San Diego County. Over the years, CYO ensembles have been acknowledged as among the most outstanding youth orchestras in California and the U.S.A. The CYO tradition of excellence in ensemble education continues under the leadership of an outstanding musical staff. For more information, please call 760-715-4448.

Interviews Available
Carrie Imler, Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell will be available for interviews upon request. Photos included in the press release will also be available at the Nutcracker website:

Directors Lauri-Michelle & Ben Houk
Lauri-Michelle Houk completed her training as a full-time student at the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City. At 18 she joined the Chicago City Ballet where she was featured being coached by Maria Tallchief in the PBS documentary Balanchine’s Ballerinas. From 1987-94 Lauri-Michelle danced for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle where she performed a full repertoire of soloist and principal roles. She performed with Nashville Ballet as a principal dancer in 1997-98. She excelled in the utmost of roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Most recently she has been a very effective teacher and private coach, and has staged several ballets including works by Stowell, and Petipa.
Benjamin Houk began his career with Joffrey II and later joined the Pacific Northwest Ballet where he performed as one of their most beloved principal dancers for thirteen years. Adept at both contemporary and the great classical roles, he performed in a wide range of works by Balanchine, Baryshnikov, Stowell and Fosse’s Anne Reinking among others. As Artistic Director, Mr. Houk led the Nashville Ballet (1996-98), and Fort Worth Dallas Ballet (1998-2001). Thoroughly experienced in Arts in Education programs as director and lecturer, he has enthralled over a hundred thousand children around the country. He has also served as a guest lecturer for among others, Vanderbilt University, Microsoft, and for The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration, and has served on as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Houk has enjoyed popular and critical success on three continents as a choreographer, in over 25 works including Nutcracker, and Shout, and has performed in musical theater, film and TV including PBS’ Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Lauri-Michelle and Ben have enjoyed many performances as guest artists, including in the San Diego area, and most notably together at the Edinburgh Festival. They have taught extensively as master teachers at ballet and modern dance companies, schools and universities. Seven years ago, they founded San Elijo Dance Academy, which has grown to be the preeminent academy in San Diego North County. Former students have gone on to the most prestigious schools and companies including SAB, NYCB, ABT, PNB, SFB and Julliard.
The Nutcracker at California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Together, beautiful dancers, a live orchestra, spectacular sets and gorgeous costumes light up the stage as this magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker comes to life. San Elijo’s sixth annual Nutcracker production promises to be a heart-warming and memorable event for the entire family! Ticket prices range from $18.50 to $42. Discounts are available for children under 12, seniors, and groups of 15 or more. To order tickets from the California Center for the Arts, Escondido box office, call 800-988-4253 or visit

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Next Issue Of Movmnt Magazine

Movmnt Magazine has some big things in store for its upcoming issue:

Starting in 2008, movmnt magazine will give back to the community. movmnt is proud to announce a new project, “Keep It Real,” a non-for-profit effort in the spirit of movmnt magazine, bringing the art world and pop culture together as a lifestyle as well as informing and educating about the world we live in. All details will be revealed in the Winter 2008 Issue featuring Sabra Johnson, Neil Haskell and movmnt magazine’s co-founder, Danny Tidwell, along with an exclusive never seen before fashion story and a very straight forward revealing conversation we had with the top 3 contestants of this year’s So you think you can dance.
Subscribe now to make sure to be the first to “Keep It Real.”

Don't forget the special subscription offer for readers of BSYTYCD. I believe it's only good through the end of the year. It would make a great gift for an SYTYCD fan, too.

Vote For Sabra Again

A-list entertainment blog Buzz Sugar is running a poll: Who's the Best Reality Show Winner of 2007? When I checked, our girl Sabra was running second to Apolo Anton Ono from Dancing With The Stars.


A New Day...One Night Only

Here's a rare opportunity to see Mia Michaels' choreography without traveling to Las Vegas. Celine Dion's record breaking Caesar's Palace show A New Day... will be broadcast to 200 movie theaters around the U.S. One Night Only™ on December 17th at 7:30 p.m.

LINK to more info.
LINK to list of theaters.

This is a TV capture from A New Day... and not from One Night Only™. I'm sure the quality will be much higher.
Uploaded by mabaker

Lauren At Millenium

Lauren Gottlieb with Bryan Tanaka at Millenium Dance Complex.
Uploaded by BryanTanaka

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another Dancewear Video

Jaimie Goodwin and Sabra Johnson together in another video for dancewear maker Lanteri New York.
Uploaded by NYCDA

Jaimie's earlier video here, and Sabra's here.

Dance From China

Chinese TV network CCTV recently aired their own dance competition. Friend and long-time reader Suzanne submitted this routine and warns to have a hankie ready. She's right, it's powerful stuff.

There's some background on the show here, and on the dancers, Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei, here.

SYTYCD News Roundup

Read what blogger Allie went through to be one of the very few to meet the dancers after the final show in Reno.


In the first bit of news we've heard since it was originally announced, we learn that So You Think You Can Dance Canada is set to debut at the end of the 2007/2008 season. Maybe one of our Canadian readers will correct me, but I believe that means sometime in the spring. It was also announced that Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, which will debut after the first of the year on ABC in the US, will also air on CTV.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

After The Last Paso Doble

Click to enlarge.
Courtesy of Jeff Haskell.

Neil Haskell and Sabra Johnson after the final performance of The Nutcracker in Buffalo.

"This picture shows the friendship that has been built between Neil and Sabra throughout their time on the show and on tour."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Final Bow In Reno

Thanks to xrogue81 for uploading. More from Reno here.

Photos From Reno

Photos courtesy of Toastiness

Our friend Toasty posted a great set of photos from the tour finale in Reno to her Flickr stream. Also check out her sets from San Jose, Sacramento, and Oakland.

Australia Update

Australia's TEN has released a preview video from So You Think You Can Dance auditions. We meet a young dancer with Ben Susak hair and learn that judge Jason Coleman is the alpha male who shares Nigel's preference that "boys dance like boys".


From the town of Dubbo (population 28,000, noted for cattle trading and sheep farming) comes the story of dancer Jamie Astley, one of the top 100. They were all locked down for the weekend in a Sydney hotel.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Neil & Sabra's Nutcracker Performance UPDATED!

Neil Haskell and Sabra Johnson flew cross-country yesterday morning to appear in performances of The Nutcracker in Buffalo, N.Y. Our correspondent in Buffalo, we'll call her BC, reports there were some surprises.

Updated with video!

I just got back from this evening's performance of The Nutcracker, by the American Academy of Ballet here in Buffalo, NY. As you know, Neil and Sabra were dancing the Paso Dobles, and I couldn't wait to see it! The Center for the Arts was could have been sold out, but I really couldn't see the balcony from my seat. The Paso was in the second act, where the Spanish variation usually is. You have to know that Maris' (Battaglia, director of the American Academy) Nutcracker is very different...she puts in several non-ballet numbers to get as many children involved in the production as possible, as this is a ballet academy's showcase "winter recital," in a way. There's some acrobatics, a little tap, and some other novelty type numbers. It sounds a bit nutty, but it works for this kind of show. So the Paso dobles wasn't as out of place as you might think. There was also an "Under the Sea" piece (!), and a South American scene (but more on that later!)

Let me just say that Neil and Sabra rocked the Paso! I know that many posters have been critical of the dance, and especially the donut drop. And I saw the tour twice, in Rochester and Toronto, and both times, the drop was a little rough. But tonight! They absolutely NAILED it! Sabra went straight down, and FAST, with no jiggling of Neil's shoulders, NOTHING like before. She stopped inches from the floor. It was fabulous, and very dramatic and very hot. The audience really went crazy!

Then came the surprise: ...


Neil and Sabra had choreographed another piece for the South American scene (one of the places Clara and her prince visited, besides Arabia, China, etc.) Neil was wearing a tight bright yellow wife-beater, and Sabra was in a 2 piece outfit (sorry, can't remember details). They danced a super hot Latin-type number, with lifts, tons of turns, gymnastics movements, everything they were known for on the show. At one point, Neil went off stage, and Sabra did a solo with some nice moves; then they switched, and Neil did his solo with multiple fouettes (beautifully) and his signature 540 jump! Needless to say, that number also got a huge ovation.

At the end, they came out for a curtain call and the crowd went wild. It was SUCH a great performance, and it must have been so much fun for them. And the rest of the ballet was very enjoyable, too, especially the two "leads" from the New York City Ballet and the Miami City Ballet who danced the Sugar Plum fairy and the Prince. I'm sure Sabra especially enjoyed watching them, as she has said that she never saw the Nutcracker before.

They'll be repeating their performances tomorrow (Sunday) at 1 pm and again at 5 pm.

Anyway, for me, it was a great end to the whole SYTYCD experience.

Thanks BC! What a great report!

Here's a video from another audience member.
Uploaded by TrivallieObsessed