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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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Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

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Kareena ignores Shahid Kapoor at award show

The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards (DPIFF) 2024 took place in Mumbai on Feb 20. 

On the red carpet, exes Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor had an awkward encounter, which is now going viral on social media.

It looks like Kareena ‘royally’ ignored Shahid and went on to pose for the paparazzi.

The viral video, which is now doing the rounds, shows Shahid Kapoor holding a trophy in his hands and posing with director duo Raj and DK.

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As the photo session was underway, Kareena Kapoor arrived and greeted the directors as she moved past them to pose for the paparazzi.

Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s past relationship has always made headlines.

The two worked in superhit films like ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Udta Punjab’. In several interviews, they have spoken about sharing a cordial relationship after they moved on with their respective lives.

But, the recent video seems to indicate otherwise.

Work-wise, Kareena Kapoor Khan will be seen next in ‘The Crew’ and ‘Singham Again’. Shahid Kapoor’s upcoming release is ‘Deva’, which is currently under production.

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Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

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Faryal Makhdoom threatens to expose ITV after CBB axe

Faryal Makhdoom has threatened to expose ITV after she was dropped from Celebrity Big Brother, just days before the show airs.

The wife of Amir Khan was reportedly signed up for the show.

However, Faryal later said Celebrity Big Brother axed her over her pro-Palestine views on social media.

On Instagram, Faryal said: “As many of you know, I was offered to do a show for which the producers had offered me a few years ago and I had previously refused.

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“This time, they made a very lucrative offer and after a lot of convincing, I finally agreed to sign for the show.

“I also wanted to do this show to make it more inclusive for the Muslim community.

“But it seems from my social media activity and being pro-Palestine is not appropriate for ITV and its sponsors.

“Mind you, ITV and this particular show has had many controversial people on it before, but for some reason, I was singled out.

“I was told to step down 10 days before going in.

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“I have never in my life been treated like this. It’s a violation of free speech.

“This is why cowards with a huge following (especially Muslims) refuse to speak on this issue because they deprive you of opportunities and so you have no choice but to support them and stand them.

“Bear in mind, I was offered substantial money not to speak on this issue but I rejected it.

“For me, no amount of money will ever stop me from speaking on the injustice happening in Palestine.”

ITV responded and denied Faryal’s claims, with a spokesperson saying: “We meet numerous prospective housemates when casting for Celebrity Big Brother, however the final lineup is not confirmed until closer to transmission.

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“As per our welfare protocols, we are unable to comment on the casting process for individual prospective Housemates, other than to say that suitability to participate is determined by a number of factors.”

Faryal hit back, sharing what appeared to be a screenshot of her contract between herself and Celebrity Big Brother producer Banijay.

She wrote: “Attempting to downplay a situation when I have my contract right here.”

In another post, she said: “Do better with the lies ITV.

“I had gone through all of the relevant and necessary assessments, including a mental health assessment.

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George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

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George Michael honoured with UK collectible coin

Late British singer-songwriter George Michael is being honoured with a personalised collectible coin.

Britain’s Royal Mint said on Monday the new coin, which depicts Michael wearing his trademark sunglasses, pays tribute to the music star’s 1987 hit solo single “Faith”.

Officially approved by Michael’s estate, it was designed by artist and sculptor Sandra Deiana.

“From his debut with WHAM! to becoming one of the bestselling solo musicians of all time, George Michael is a global superstar whose work has inspired and influenced generations with his music and his unique style,” said Rebecca Morgan, director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint.

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“Loved by millions of fans worldwide, we are delighted to be introducing an official UK coin celebrating his life and legacy,” she said in a statement.

Michael, who rose to stardom in the 1980s with Wham! before embarking on a successful solo career, died on Christmas Day in 2016 at the age of 53.

Wham!’s enduring 1984 festive song “Last Christmas” finally secured the “Christmas Number 1” spot for the first time on the UK music charts in December, 39 years after its release.

The new coin is the latest addition to the Royal Mint’s “Music Legends” series, which has previously honoured David Bowie, Elton John and Queen with coins, and will be available to purchase from Monday.

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