What happens when two professional dancers get hitched? The couple holds their wedding on a theater stage, and the groom choreographs and performs an incredible groomsmen’s dance for his delighted bride.
Time reported on the viral video, saying that bride Valerie Telmann-Henning had requested that her fiance, Kirk Henning, choreograph and perform a dance with the groomsmen at their wedding. Henning initially shrugged off the request, arguing that he didn’t have time, but secretly planned a flashy, multi-layered performance.
One section showcased the groomsmen’s line-dancing expertise, complete with cowboy hats and a country song; another spotlights the men in aviator sunglasses reacreating “Danger Zone” from the movie Top Gun.
The last song played was “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, and amid a shower of confetti, Valerie and Kirk shared an embrace and a kiss, and danced together with their guests.
This year, New York City was explored and interpreted by an artist who captured the beauty of city life with works that ranged from quirky to majestic.
Street artist J.R. hails from France, but has recently gifted the US with beautiful art installations and films centered around the cultural mecca of New York City. His artwork contains reoccurring motifs: eyes, black and white color schemes, interpretations of cultural tensions, dance, and the beauty of humanity.
The Huffington Post recently highlighted an art installation created directly on the walls of a building on Franklin Street: A fifty-foot ballerina seemingly caught mid-leap, her white tutu fluffing out around her and her feet perfectly pointed in her pointe shoes.
This ballerina recalls a nearly identical dancer in J.R.’s film “Les Bosquets” released at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. In the film, dancers from New York City Ballet interpret J.R.’s experience of the 2005 riots in the French suburbs.
Every art installation created by JR is meant to invoke feeling and compassion between humans. His project “Inside Out” from 2012 centered around portraits of everyday individuals all over the globe: JR says, “Can art change the world?” He pauses for a moment, “Maybe not in one year; that’s the beginning. But maybe we should change the question: Can art change people’s life? From what I’ve seen this year, yes.”
Angelique Clark, a junior high school student from Las Vegas, Nevada, had to decide what to do when her school, West Career and Technical Academy, denied her application to start a Pro-Life club. Determined to fight for her rights, Clark sought the help of law firm Thomas More Society, a firm known for helping out in cases like this. The firm sent a demand letter to the school.
When the school board made no answer whatsoever, Clark and the law firm filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school.
“When I first applied to form a pro-life club, I never imagined I would have to sue my school to be able to exercise my free speech rights,” Clark says.
According to a Fox and Friends interview on Fox News, the school claims that the club would be too controversial, and that Angelique doesn’t have a faculty advisor supervising the club. Angelique points that she in fact has had an advisor backing her up since December of 2014, and that considering the school’s inclusion of other Bible clubs, Gay/Straight Alliance clubs, etc., she shouldn’t be discriminated against.
Angelique states that she is a passionate pro-life advocate, has “studied a lot about abortion, and I know the real facts behind it, and I really wanted to educate people about what it really does to women and pre-born human beings. It’s not just a choice. It’s something that affects a lot of people in a very negative way.”
Ten-year-old Brianna Heim poses elegantly for the camera, a bedazzled sash ornamenting her beautiful purple dress. The tiara on Brianna’s head is nearly as bright at the cheerful smile on her face. Sitting close by is Brianna’s service dog Emily, who recently accompanied her on a special trip to Los Angeles to compete in Miss Amazing, a pageant designed for girls and women with special needs.
Earlier this year, Brianna won the title of Miss Preteen in Utah’s regional Miss Amazing Competition. Brianna, who lives with a speech and motor-skill imparing disorder called glutaric acidemia type 1, attended the National pageant where she participated in the weekend’s activities, including a talent portion, interviews, and an evening gown walk.
Brianna even got to witness the opening ceremony for the 2015 Special Olympics, held in Los Angeles that same weekend. Brianna’s mom says, “(The pageant) is a nice place for these girls to go and be themselves and it doesn’t matter what your disability is.”
The Miss Amazing Pageant was founded in 2007 by Jordan Somer in Omaha, Nebraska. Now, eight years later, the program has impacted more than 800 girls and women with disabilities all over the nation. Somer explains that Miss Amazing is designed to help young women see their unique capabilities and celebrate their individuality.
Jordan Somer says: “According to a study conducted by The Center for Women Policy Studies, disabled women and girls live at the corner of disability and womanhood. With two minority identities, a double dose of discrimination and stereotyping, and multiple barriers to achieving their life goals. Miss Amazing is looking to change that fact.”
Several promotional videos on Miss Amazing’s website highlight the joyful energy of the women who participate in this event. They dance, perform on instruments, bond with friends, and are given a platform to articulate their thoughts and to express themselves. These ladies tear up as they are handed trophies, and wave happily as crowns are placed on their heads.
Somers states: “The Miss Amazing Pageants are inspiring a culture that encourages women and people with disabilities to reach their fullest potential.” It’s clear that this is the case when one looks at girls like Brianna and young women like Mikayla Holmgren, individuals who truly are embracing their identity and thriving.
Who has a beautiful smile, gorgeous red hair, lots of style, and is walking in New York Fashion Week this Fall? Madeline Stuart, an 18 year-old model with Down Syndrome who has wowed the world in recent months with her successful foray into the modeling world.
In a previous story, we covered Madeline’s first steps as a model, but there are big things on her horizon now: She recently signed contracts to model for fashion companies Manifesta and everMaya, and now is set to walk the runway in New York Fashion Week.
Next month, Madeline will travel to New York City and walk for Moda in a show put on in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Moda has featured models with disabilities before; last february, models with disabilities ranging from amputation to paralysis traveled the catwalk in designs by Antonio Urzi, who has dressed celebrities like Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
Participating in New York City Fashion Week is a big step for Madeline, who’s ultimate goal is to help society to become inclusive of people who are different. Her mother, Susanne, says: “The thing I’d like people to take away from this is to not discriminate. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I would just like people to accept, love, and show kindness…The modeling is fun and everything, but it’s just a vehicle to get the message out.”