'Hairspray, Live' Premieres Tonight

Hairspray Live!

Hairspray Live will air tonight, December 7th, at 8/7c on NBC, as the next installment in their live musical series (previous productions include Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz). Hairspray will be broadcast from the Universal Studios backlot in Hollywood, where they have recreated a 1962 Baltimore street. Let's hope the weather cooperates - 40% of the show will be filmed outside!

You'll definitely recognize some familiar faces: Dancing with the Stars' Derek Hough will play Corny Collins, Broadway powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth will play Velma Von Tussle, Jennifer Hudson is Motormouth Maybelle and pop superstar Ariana Grande is Penny Pingleton. Newcomer Maddie Baillio hits the screen for the first time at Tracy Turnblad.

Choreography for the live staging has been done by Jerry Mitchell, who has worked on Broadway shows such as Kinky Boots and On Your Feet. Planning on watching tonight? Let us know what you think!

Dancing in a Wooden Dress

I love how much dance is happening in unconventional spaces these days. Take, for example, this sweet new video that's going around Facebook. 'Transmissions' a traveling photography exhibit, recently decided to incorporate dance into their exhibit while it was moving through France. But they didn't stop there - they also worked with a designer to create a wooden dress that is absolutely captivating. All of these elements work together to create a really interesting and dynamic work. The piece is danced by Melissa Sicre, with an exhibition designed by Charlotte Gautier and dress designed by Elodie Le-Prunennec.

Modern Dancer and Choreographer Nancy Meehan Passes

Nancy Meehan - photo: Lois Greenfield

News has surfaced that choreographer Nancy Meehan passed away last week at the age of 85. A modern dance pioneer in her own right, Ms. Meehan was best known for her nature-inspired works and innovative choreography. Mentored by notable and influential dance makers Anna Halprin and Erick Hawkins, she was noticed first as a soloist with Hawkins' company in the 1960's. In 1970, she founded the New York-based Nancy Meehan Dance Company. Ms. Meehan was a beloved teacher at several colleges, as well as the American Dance Festival. She will be greatly missed by the dance community.

photo: Lois Greenfield

Space: The Final (Ballet) Frontier

What do you get when you combine two of ballet's powerhouses and throw a little space in the mix? "Frontier" (tentative title), a new ballet commissioned by Washington Ballet director Julie Kent and choreographed by notorious ballet 'bad-boy' Ethan Stiefel. Washington DC will celebrate the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy in May; Kent wanted to present a ballet at the Kennedy Center that was in some way connected to the former president.

In a new interview with the Washingtonian, Stiefel says knew immediately that he didn't want to create a ballet on the life and times of JFK and Jackie - he wanted something bigger than that. The space program was so important to JFK - and remains so incredibly relevant today - that Stiefel decided to pull inspiration from that and create a ballet.