So You Think You Can Dance

  Welcome back, Framers! Last night’s episode was even more eventful as we said goodbye to four dancers instead of two.

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 14

The show was kicked off with a group dance which was excellently choreographed by Stacey Tookey.  The 14 dancers performed gracefully and you could also sense a hint of darkness in their movements. After their  great performance, we welcomed guest judge Christina Applegate, and learned which six dancers were in danger  of elimination fans voted last week. These dancers were Casey Askew, Serge Onik, Teddy Coffey, Carly Blaney,  Emily James, and Jessica Richens. These six contestants would have to perform their solos throughout the night  in an attempt to please the judges one last time.

The first couple to perform were contestants Emilio and Bridget, with their fiery jazz routine. Their choreographer Ray Leeper described the dance as being a story of a demon on a mission from hell, trying to get someone to sell his soul.  Next up was Tanisha and Rudy with a contemporary dance choreographed by Mandy Moore.  The couple handles the demanding choreography excellently, even with the many challenging lifts and turns. Then it was time for Serge to perform his solo that could either save him, or send him home. His dance was full of energy, but it seemed like his technique was lacking. When we turned back to the couples, we watched Zack and Jacque‘s Paso Doble choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux. The dance tells the tale of  a vampire (Zack) bringing Jacque back to life, with extraordinary costumes. Mary Murphy claimed that it was “love at first bite,” and the judges all wore fake vampire fangs, giving the two dancers a laugh. (excuse me, what??) Carly‘s solo was graceful and perfectly accompanied by the song “Not About Angels” by the artist Birdy.

Giving the contestants a break, two SYTYCD finalists Cyrus and tWitch talk about their involvement in the new Step-Up movie, Step-Up All In. They also talk about going from TV to film. This is tWitch’s third Step-Up movie, but only Cyrus’s first.


When we get back to the dancing, we get to watch Emily and Teddy perform their jazz piece. For both dancers being in danger of being eliminated, the dance seemed uncoordinated and they certainly would need to make up for this dance in their solos. Speaking of a solo, then it was Casey‘s turn to dance for his spot on the show. His dance showed off his flexibility and he performed many turns in his routine. After Casey’s solo, it was then Emily‘s turn, she performed a charming modern ballet piece that proved that she really did have what it takes to remain on the show. Playing to his strengths, Teddy hit the stage with a hip hop solo, which proved to really be his dance style. Taking a break from the solos, we turned to watch Serge and Carly’s fun quick step. The last solo of the night was a modern ballet routine performed by Jessica, to a Beyonce song. The final couple dance happened to also be one of my favorites of the entire night. Valerie and Ricky’s hip hop routine was performed to the very popular song “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Choreographed by ‘Pharside’ and ‘Phoenix’, the dance tells the story of a witch doctor and his voodoo doll. Their movements are sharp and remain on the music, and Valerie even manages to perform a leg wave while in a side split!

With the couple dances over, it was finally time to watch the top seven girls perform together in a contemporary routine choreographed by Mandy Moore. The girls were completely synced the entire time, and it made for a truly beautiful dance.

The dance crew Academy of Villians took the stage and completely smashed it. Choreographers ‘Pharside’ and ‘Phoenix’ are members of this dance crew, as we first learned here.

After the fantastic dance crew, we got to watch the also very fantastic and talented top seven guys take the stage with their routine by Travis Wall. This is one of my other favorite dances of the night, as it tells the story of lost souls at sea. Their movements are very wave-like and synchronized, the entire dance just proved that the men of SYTYCD can really bring it.

Once we watched all the exquisite dances of the night, we had to say goodbye to Teddy Coffey, Serge Onik, Carly Blaney, and Emily James. The judges chose to save dancers Casey Askew and Jessica Richens.

*written by our social media intern, Rachel Kaminski

Eat Well Wednesday

Eat Well Wednesday Uncategorized

246 Healthy Recipes (That Won*t Break the Bank) Check out more pics like this! Visit: And Simple Healthy Recipes -  I've been trying to find a great 'green smoothie'. This one sounds delicious


Frozen Bananas 

2 bananas

1/4 to 1/3c chocolate chips

1/4 to 1/3c peanut butter

Unsweetened coconut flakes

Set out a large plate with wax paper on it. Cut up the bananas. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips on high for minute. stir until smooth. Dip the banana pieces in the mixture. Lay on the wax paper. Use the remaining mixture to spoon over the tops sprinkle the unsweetened coconut flakes on top. Freeze for about an hour until hardened.


FROZEN BANANA BITES  . 2 bananas 1/4 to 1/3c chocolate chips 1/4 to 1/3c peanut butter Unsweetened coconut flakes  Set out a large plate with wax paper on it. Cut up the bananas. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips on high for minute. stir until smooth. Dip the banana pieces in the mixture. Lay on the wax paper. use the remaining mixture to spoon over the tops sprinkle the unsweetened coconut flakes on top. Freeze for about an hour until hardened.



Southwest Black Bean Salad


15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

9 oz cooked corn, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 1/2 – 2 limes, juice of

salt and fresh pepper

1 medium avocado, diced

Combine items in a large bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice to taste. Marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes.

South west black bean salad with avocado


Tuesday Tunes: What students like to hear

Tuesday Tunes Uncategorized
Hey, Framers! I hope you’re ready for a special edition of Tuesday Tunes. Today, I’ll be talking about my tunes and what I enjoy hearing when I’m dancing. 

Tuesday Tunes: Rachel’s Tunes

As a dancer, of course I have my own musical preferences when I take class. Normally in a class you can’t just pick your own music to dance to, so you’re using the music that your teacher provides. Dancing to music you enjoy always makes those everyday classes even more fun than they already are, or even give you that extra kick of energy at the end of class. Here’s some bands I always love to dance to.









The xx


Have fun listening!

*by Frame Dance Social Media Intern Rachel Kaminski

MFA Monday

MFA Mondays

MFA right










These past several weeks we have had the pleasure of being escorted through a fabulous series of MFA Mondays by Megan Yankee and two of her colleagues Erin Law,  Amanda McCorkle and Gabrielle Aufiero.  What a pleasure it has been.  If you’re just now tuning in, I encourage you to go back through and catch up.

A lot has happened here at Frame Dance, and today I want to fill you in on all things #framer.  First, I’d like to introduce you to our next writer, Lauren Ashlee Small, who will begin her MFA Monday series next week. Her perspective will be new, as she is preparing to begin her MFA program in the Fall.

Lauren Ashlee SmallLauren Ashlee Small
is originally from Springfield, IL. Her training began at Springfield Dance and the Springfield Ballet Company and continued in college where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Belhaven University. Lauren went on to study in The Ailey School’s professional division as a recipient of The Oprah Winfrey Foundation Scholarship and to perform with Amalgamate Dance Company and Dance Into Deliverance. Her choreography has been featured at The Ailey School, Belhaven University, American College Dance Festival, Undertoe Dance Festival at the 92nd Street Y, the New York Jazz Choreography Project, and in Amalgamate’s 7th Annual Artist Series. Lauren has interned with Free Arts of Arizona and Amalgamate Dance Company and was a guest artist at the 2012 Teen Arts Performance Camp in Washington, DC and Emmanuel Ballet Academy’s 2014 summer intensive in Juarez, Mexico.


lydia with littlesSecond, we announced on Friday, that we are starting a program called Little Framers.  It is a children’s dance ensemble that will work with the company this year.  Ages 7-9. Registration is open, and space is VERY limited.  More info is here.






Frame Dance Children’s Ensemble


lydia with littles“Let us first teach little children to breathe, to vibrate, to feel, and to become one with the general harmony and movement of nature. Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child.”

— Isadora Duncan

This 2014-15 school year, Frame Dance will offer a modern dance ensemble for 7-9 year olds.  We’re calling them the Little Framers, a cohesive education of modern dance technique, rehearsal, and performance. They will be dancing alongside the professional company.  The year will conclude with an opportunity to perform with Frame Dance. Little Framers will learn how to work technically in a studio, cooperate, and collaborate in a rehearsal like professional dancers do, and dance in a new piece with the professional company. Fall 2014 – Spring 2015 Thursdays

3:30 – 4:30pm

Teacher: Lydia Hance

Classes will be Thursdays, September 11 – November 20 and January 15 – April 30.  No class March 19 (Spring Break).  We will follow all HISD weather closings.  All classes will take place at Vitacca Dance Project, 2311 Dunlavy Street, Houston TX 77006. The studio is upstairs, parking is on the street or in the lot on Fairview.  Frame Dance Productions is thrilled to be the Resident Company at Vitacca Productions & Company.   Space is very limited. Click here for application materials.

In January, the project will open to students ages 10 through 16, adults, and seniors.  Contact us for more information.

At the Creative Core of Frame Dance We value the process of making art.  We value people making art.  We value challenging ourselves.  We value playfulness.  We value dance as a way to connect with people.  We value working with the community.  We value collaboration.  We value hard work.  We value paving our own paths.  We value using technology, not ignoring it.  We value making Frame Dance events fun and social as well as artful.  We value the creative community’s contribution to the quality of life and the local economy.

Frame Dance exists to help people in Houston and beyond discover the power of dance and movement to communicate, inspire, and connect to the world and others.  We believe community collaboration, artistic collaboration, and technology are the secret ingredients of our craft today, and are completely necessary to expose contemporary dance to more people in our society.

So You Think You Can Dance

 SYTYCD_Google_ProfileHey, Framers! Are you ready for another exciting recap of So You Think You Can Dance?

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 16!

Once again, this exciting episode was kicked off with a group dance choreographed by Mandy Moore. After their contemporary routine we discovered which six dancers were in danger of elimination. Those dancers were Bridget Whitman, Marcquet Hill, Brooklyn Fullmer, Serge Onik, Tanisha Belnap, and Zack Everhart.

The first couple routine of the night also happened to be the first Bollywood routine of the season. Valerie and Ricky’s high-energy routine was exhausting!  Bridget and Emilio hit the stage with a contemporary routine–my favorite. Their dance was choreographed by Travis Wall, telling the story of people moving from their pasts and memories and embracing change. It felt like Bridget and Emilio were truly connecting with the dance, and that made for a very moving piece.
The next pair of dancers made an impressive match for the last dance. Tanisha and Rudy took the stage with confidence and flexibility as they performed their hip hop routine which earned rave reviews from the judges.

Next up was Jessica and Marcquet with their foxtrot, that turned out to be less impressive than the previous performances. They looked awkward throughout the dance and judge Nigel Lythgoe even commented that it made him feel “uncomfortable.”
Afterwards, Carly and Serge took the stage with a contemporary dance about desire. It was simple, but it also required a lot of skill.

Emily and Teddy also displayed their talents in their colorful Salsa, demanding many challenging lifts.

My favorite choreographer (remember who?) was back with a jazz routine choreographed for Jacque and Zack about rekindling an old flame.

The last couple to dance was Brooklyn and Casey with their hip hop routine. Even with their high energy, there was obviously no connection or feeling from the dancers.

After the couples were finished with their routines,  they were split evenly into groups. The first group had Brooklyn, Casey, Emily, Emilio, Tanisha, Serge, Valerie and Zack. Sonya Tayeh choreographed a very intense dance for the first group. It was a story of wounds how they are expressed from us externally.

The next group’s dancers were Bridget, Marcquet, Carly, Ricky, Jacque, Rudy, Jessica and Teddy. The choreographer: Travis Wall. This dance successfully told the story of outlaws escaping the city, with the sharp movements and aggressive nature.

After the fantastic contemporary dances, the talented Lucy Hale performed her new song “Lie a Little Better.”  View the dancer’s profiles! View Dancer’s Profiles Here!

marcquet-hill-bio-374x452 brooklyn-fullmer-bio-374x452After the performance, we said goodbye to dancers Marcquet and Brooklyn.










*by Frame Dance social media intern Rachel Kaminski


Knocked up and dancing


Our last writer on MFA Monday, Amanda McCorkle, wrote that she became pregnant 3 months after she graduated with her MFA.  Amanda = Heroically Brave.

As a woman, I frequently get a question that goes something like this *with slightly squinty eyes panning the head left to right trying to decipher me*:

“so when are you planning to have children…oh I guess you are waiting because of your dance…dancers must have children late….are you having children late?” 

Then I will respond, slightly baffled, with “Well, that’s sometimes tr–”

The follow-up response puts them into one of two camps.

Camp 1: “oh– (realizing the invasiveness of the question) well, you’re still young.”

Camp 2: “people are having children later and later, I’m sure you want to maintain your body because you can only dance so long”

At that point I usually have my Resting B@&*# Face on, but ever the educator, I shift to positive language and attempt to redirect the conversation as quickly as possible.  He/She (usually she) is just curious and trying to figure me out.  It’s lovely that she’s taken an interest in me.  And if I’m being honest, I’m really sensitive to language and tone.  I accept that.  It’s the complexity of the situation that I’m frustrated with.  I then attempt to answer and educate my interviewer by storytelling with examples of women who have succeeded from all angles.  Children, no children, children early, children late, curious, open and lead-strong women who have lived in community and connection with others (via parenthood, friendship, marriage) allowing people to impact and affect who they are.

I have found some great resources on dance and motherhood.  Check them out here:

Baby on Board— teaching dance while pregnant

Two Career Dancers on Pregnancy

Working Mother: Jennifer Ringer

Beautiful photos of pregnant ballerina

Tuesday Tunes: Dance Teachers and Their Tunes

Tuesday Tunes
Good morning, Framers! I hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday. I certainly am after having the opportunity to interview Jane Weiner,  for this edition of Tuesday Tunes. 

Tuesday Tunes: Jane Weiner

Jane Weiner Tuesday TunesR: How do you imagine the future of the dance world?

JOne where we get rid of audience and everyone gets to be a part.  No more proscenium, more communication and interaction.  Maybe we no longer even know who is the “dancer” and who is the “audience.”

R: I know that you had the opportunity to give a TED talk several years ago. What was the most rewarding part of that experience?

JNot sure if I would call it rewarding…more awareness that there is a lot of work to be done to create an Army of Artists that infiltrate all levels of society with their art education.

R: What life lessons has being a dancer and choreographer taught you?

J: That life is short, precious, beautiful, sad, inspiring, frustrating, and beyond my wildest dreams.

R: What music would I find on your playlist when you’re teaching a class?

J: Peter Jones, Norah Jones, Beth Orton, Albert mathias, R.E.M., War, Parliment, Beastie Boys, Zuco 103, Stevie Wonder,  C & C Music Factory, Tracy Chapman, DJ John Kelley, Led Zeppelin, Sia



photos by Simon Gentry

Jane weiner dance shot

Jane Weiner graduated from Bowling Green University with a degree in deaf/elementary education and a minor in dance. She had the unbelievable opportunity to work with the Doug Elkins Dance Company for a decade of fine dancing, touring and experiences before her move to Houston, TX in 1996. She presently is the director of Hope Stone, Inc., and Artistic Director of Hope Stone Dance Company and the Pink Ribbons Project. Jane founded Hope Stone with a dream of unlocking the innate creativity of children and adults and improving their quality of life through the performing arts. Jane also founded and directs Hope Stone Kids, an arts outreach program for children 2-18 years old in Houston, that uses master teachers in dance, theater, music, photography, spoken word and yoga to empower and educate youth. Hope Stone Kids was created to help meet the artistic and emotional needs of underserved and at-risk students. “I see the void and want to help fill it,” Jane says. Jane also founded the Pink Ribbons Project in 1995 and was the executive director from 1997-2002

Jane has set her work on the Alley Theater, Houston Ballet II, Stages Repertory Theater, the Houston Children’s Museum, as well as many high schools and universities and has collaborated with the Houston Symphony, the CAMH, and the Asia Society. She was a finalist for the Cal Arts/Albert Award for Dance in 2001, awarded the CACHH general fellowship grant for 2002, the Houston PBS Speaking Women’s Health Conference Honoree 2004, the Surgical Society of Oncology’s James Ewing Layman Award, the Jung Center Award for 2005, DiverseWork’s Artist of the Year 2011, and was a speaker at the 2012 TEDx Houston and 2013 TEDx TAMU.

At present Jane continues to run Hope Stone, Inc. creating a vision of Art for All, work on projects with her company as well as schools and companies nationally. She continues her work on creating, enriching, evolving and teaching her teacher’s template to make Hope Stone Kids a national arts education project. She is married the wonderful Eric Mallory, has one dog, Oliver Jones and three cat children, Houston, Riley and Spot-ika.

*Interview by Frame Dance social media intern, Rachel Kaminski

MFA Monday: Amanda McCorkle

MFA Mondays

MFA rightI got knocked up three months after I graduated with my MFA. Three months to feel like a fully formed, academically validated Artist before my priorities were completely and totally turned upside down. What did I do with those three months, you ask? Netflix. Maybe a little wine (okay, maybe more than a little). I made myself go to yoga so that I wouldn’t get fat from the aforementioned lounging and drinking, but that pretty much sums up my experience as an unencumbered, independent artist. The next year of my life was made up of two equally daunting challenges: figuring out how to make a living as an adjunct professor, and growing/birthing a tiny human. Both of these things were simultaneously terrifying, frustrating, exhausting, and totally awesome. Needless to say, my post grad school life seemed pretty far removed from my grad school experience, and ultimately, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. of the biggest surprises for me upon graduation was the reality of being an adjunct professor. I thought that I was prepared for the low pay and the hectic schedules. I thought that my experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant would directly translate to my experience as a professor. I thought that I would be rejoining the life I had put on pause for grad school. I was so wrong! In order to cobble together enough money to pay the bills, I now work at three different colleges and a studio. On a typical day, I drive an average of 3-4 hours depending on traffic, I hold office hours on a bench outside of the classrooms I teach in, I eat lunch in my car (often while driving and praying I don’t hit traffic), and I check my four different email accounts from my phone as I sit in one of the many parking lots I pay to park in. To reward me for all of my hard work, I make approximately half of what I was making before I quit my dream job to go back to school. But, I’m happy. I love my many jobs. This crazy life provides me with a sense of satisfaction that I never found in my previous career. This is not to say that I would be happy as an adjunct forever. It is good job for my life at this moment, but it is not a position that I see myself pursuing for years on end.

My experience in grad school indirectly gave me the skills I needed to fully embrace the chaotic nature of life as an adjunct. I learned to be flexible with my time, and strict with my deadlines. I learned to just say yes and then freak out later (hey, want to teach hip-hop during your third trimester?). I learned what it means to really collaborate with my peers, and I gained a strong network of those peers that I reach out to on a regular basis. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, these skills gave me a new sense of professionalism that was different from the professionalism I’d acquired in my previous career.

All of these things are important as an adjunct, because you are ultimately on your own. I was unprepared for the sense of isolation that I felt when I began teaching. There was no one to tell me what I needed to do, to see if I was doing it right or wrong, or even to know if I came to work each day. My network was where I went when I needed ideas or solutions during that first year of teaching. The fact that I met my deadlines and volunteered to help the department set me apart from the rest of the adjuncts and ensured that I’d be offered classes for the next semester. Having the tools I learned in grad school at my fingertips has made my first year of teaching manageable and enjoyable, and it helped me to connect with my colleagues in an environment that does not necessarily foster connectivity.

When I was immersed in the intense atmosphere of my program, I was concerned about falling into THE RUT Megan spoke of in her earlier article. Since I was returning to school after 10 years in a non-dance related career, I was painfully aware of how hard it is to maintain a dance life that is separate from one’s professional life. I tried to treasure the daily technique classes, the free and beautiful studio space, and the abundance of creative minds and technically brilliant bodies to collaborate with. I took advantage of all that my program had to offer, and in the end, I desperately needed a break. Rather than seeing my year of artistic unproductivity as falling into the dreaded RUT, I believe that the past year has provided me with the opportunity to marinate in the experiences I acquired in school in order to shape the artist I was into the artist I am now.

The artist I am now is one who is excited about learning and growing as I figure out how to incorporate my grad school experience into my actual life. I’ve developed my teaching self, but my artistic self is still emerging from a haze of stiff muscles and pregnancy hormones. Because I got pregnant so soon after graduating, I spent the last year too sick or too big to effectively create or perform. I’m just now feeling the urge to choreograph again, and I enjoy that it’s on my own terms. The freedom of creating a dance because I have an inspiring idea is something that I didn’t have during school. You create because you have to fulfill a class requirement, or because you want to get into the prestigious show at the end of the semester, but not because you’re driven by an idea that you can’t get out of your head until you illustrate it with your body.

There is a pure joy in that kind of dance making for me. Not to discount the value and necessity of making a dance on a deadline, but I relish the open possibilities.

My message to dancers in graduate programs now who are contemplating life after MFA is simple. Be easy on yourself. Allow yourself time to decompress from what is likely a very emotionally and physically intense situation. Don’t stress about finding the perfect job, or creating the most amazing work of your life straight out of school. You might spend a while doing nothing dance related, but as long as you don’t let a while turn into forever you’ll be fine. Listen to your gut, and you’ll know when it’s time to get yourself back in the studio. Life will be completely different post graduation, and that’s okay.

Amanda McCorkle is a choreographer, performer and teacher from Austin, Texas, who currently resides in North Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance from Texas State University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Texas Woman’s University.  After taking traditional dance classes for most of her life, Amanda was first introduced to modern dance through a college dance class taught by Darla Johnson, who she went on to study with for several years. Amanda has worked with many choreographers such as: Caroline Sutton-Clark, Andrea Ariel, Sally Jacques, Katherine Duke, Kathy Dunn Hamrick, Jose Bustamante, D. Chase Angier, and Sarah Gamblin. In 2006 she became a founding member of the Shay Ishii Dance Company. Through her involvement with SIDC she has performed in concerts and festivals across Texas as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

 Amanda has shown work as an independent choreographer in numerous venues including: the Big Range Dance Festival in Austin, the Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, the Austin Fringe Festival’s Long Fringe and as a guest choreographer for Spank Dance.

 Currently, Amanda teaches undergraduate courses at Tarrant County College, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Collin College. She has participated in several community outreach residencies, and has extensive experience teaching dance to young children. Her teaching philosophy centers around building a sense of community within the classroom in order to both support and challenge her students.