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Dance like a Rockette: College students take unique class

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Dance like a Rockette: College students take unique class

Rhapsody Stiggers has been dancing since she was 2, but the 20-year-old college junior has never taken a dance class quite as challenging as the one she’s in now.

She is one of 38 students at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee enrolled in the first for-credit college dance class taught by the Radio City Rockettes, the precision dance team famous for its annual high-kicking “Christmas Spectacular,” seen by more than 69 million people since 1933.

The class, taught by a current Rockette, focuses on their meticulously precise technique, based on tap, ballet and jazz, in which the dancers move and kick in perfect synchronicity. The course also teaches strength training, choreography and lessons that can be applied to pretty much any dance genre.

“What’s unique about this class is the level of technicality,” said Stiggers, originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. She said she’s skilled in ballet, modern, jazz, salsa, West African and improvisation, but “no other style of dance really emphasizes the precision of every single body part.”

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“Like the Rockettes, we have to know exactly where our eye is, or where they’re pointing, or where the fingers are pointing, or how extended they are. So in that sense, it is more difficult than other styles that I have done in the past,” she said.

It’s one of the most popular dance classes this semester at the performing arts school founded in 1867. Slots filled up fast and though enrollment was originally capped at 30, there were 38 students ultimately allowed in, said Mila Thigpen, chair of dance at the conservatory.

Their instructor is Amarisa LeBar, who has been a Rockette for about five years. LeBar, 25, of Iselin, New Jersey, started teaching at her mother’s dance studio at 16 but finds sharing the Rockettes’ style with college students definitely more intense.

“Teaching on a Rockette level is completely different and is a lot more difficult to do because we really tune into the perfection of our movement,” LeBar said.

The students also get a sense of the teamwork Rockettes to develop while rehearsing six hours per day, six days a week.

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“So to be a Rockette, first off you have to have a love of wanting to work together as a team,” said Julie Branam, director and choreographer of the “Christmas Spectacular.” She started as a dancer 36 years ago.

“Sometimes it can be very tedious,” Branam said. “We’re checking what 36 people do in that line over and over again, to say ‘Is your head at the same angle? Is your arm at the same height?’ So it’s the willingness of wanting to work as one to make the effort of the 36 looks beautiful.”

The college-level class is an extension of the Rockettes’ dancer development program, which includes invitation-only summer training for promising dancers. The partnership is natural, Thigpen said.

“We have very similar core values,” she said. “Both the Rockettes and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee have a very long history, and as much as we have to celebrate in our history, we also are both thinking about how we evolve and push both dance education and the profession of dance.”

Stiggers has been so inspired that she may audition for the Rockettes someday.

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“It’s a just fun thing to strive for,” she said. “If I don’t apply or get in, it’s still useful knowledge that I’ve learned that can carry on into the rest of my career.”

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Batman wins EU trademark dispute with Italian designer

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Batman wins EU trademark dispute with Italian designer

Caped crusader Batman won a trademark fight with an Italian clothing retailer after Europe’s second-top court sided with an EU patent office, ruling that the Batman logo is distinctive enough to warrant its EU trademark.

Warner Bros Discovery’s DC Comics, which registered the Batman logo with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) more than two decades ago, faced a challenge from Commerciale Italiana Srl in 2019.

The Italian company had asked EUIPO to annul the trademark for clothing and carnival items, saying that it lacked a distinctive character.

After EUIPO rejected its application, Commerciale Italiana Srl took its grievance to the Luxembourg-based General Court. Judges backed the EU trademark body.

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“The evidence submitted to the General Court is not sufficient to show that the EU trade mark representing a bat in an oval surround was devoid of distinctive character on the date of filing of the application for registration,” the Court ruled. “For the relevant public, that distinctiveness makes it possible to associate, according to EUIPO, the goods covered by the trade mark with DC Comics and to distinguish them from those of other undertakings.”

The Italian company can appeal to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest, on points of law.

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Taylor Swift accidentally swallows a bug during Chicago show

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Taylor Swift accidentally swallows a bug during Chicago show

American singer Taylor Swift accidentally swallowed a bug during her concert.

During her Sunday night Eras Tour performance at Soldier Field Chicago, the Grammy-winner briefly paused for a mild coughing fit. “I swallowed a bug,” explained the singer as she turned away from the crowd to cough. “I’m so sorry. It’s totally fine. It’s just stupid.”

“That was delicious,” the singer joked, as the crowd erupted in laughter. She added, “Is there any chance none of you saw that?”

Swift was in the middle of introducing the newest member of her band, pianist Karina DePiano, when the offending bug flew into her mouth.

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“This is going to happen again tonight,” Swift warned the audience. “There’s so many bugs. There’s 1,000 of them.”

The Grammy winner then finished the introduction and segued into the Evermore era of the show. Later, she introduced DePiano properly, coughed a bit more, and moved on to singing “Tolerate It.”

At the risk of consuming more bugs, Swift has several stops ahead on her Eras tour — including newly added concerts in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, where she’ll be joined by pop singer Sabrina Carpenter. In announcing those eight additional dates on Twitter, Swift promised “LOTS more international dates to come soon!”

As the name implies, Swift has divided The Eras Tour concert into sections paying tribute to every phase of her 17-year music career. The tour originally scheduled to end in August with the Los Angeles shows now allow the singer a few weeks off before continuing on to Latin America. The additional dates bring the Eras tour total concert count to 60, an especially impressive feat given the reported 3 hour length of her onstage performance.

While swatting flies onstage will certainly keep her busy, the “Mastermind” singer has more than just concerts on her summer agenda. Swift is fast approaching another album release, with her latest re-recording, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), set to debut on July 7. Earlier this week, she revealed that Fall Out Boy and Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams will be featured on two separate bonus tracks.

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Iftikhar Thakur got emotional talking about Madina

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Iftikhar Thakur got emotional talking about Madina

 Iftikhar Thakur is a famous Pakistani comedian and actor. He is considered one of the accomplished comedians of Pakistan. He has worked internationally as well.

Recently, he appeared in a podcast where he got emotional while talking about his visit to Madina. He said that he has been to more than forty countries but no place is like Madina.

He said, “my blood pressure was constantly getting low when I was visiting Baab Ul Salam. I was in shivers while visiting Roza E Rasool, it was a task for me to cross that place because of respect, it’s another feeling which I can’t explain. He started crying while sharing his experience of visiting Madina.

He further said that your life remains in peace till you are in Madina. 

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He got emotional on various occasions in the podcast while describing his experience in the holy city. The podcast host also started crying on his narration. Iftikhar Thakur said that he cried a lot seeing Bab Ul Bilal. 

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