Rockettes’ Pick for Dancer of the Week: ‘This Is Us’-Inspired Dancers

Who: The dancers of 360 Dance in Louisville, Kentucky

Their dance:

Why we chose them: As if we needed another reason for This Is Us to make us cry. Only this time, it isn’t the show itself bringing us to tears. It’s this amazing dance performance, inspired by Kevin’s emotional monologue from last season’s episode, “The Game Plan.”

When Gret Gulley, who teaches at 360 Dance in Louisville, Kentucky, first saw the monologue, where Kevin uses a painting to explain the concepts of life and death to his young nieces, it “immediately became a dance piece” for her. Why did it strike such a chord? She and her students were coping with losing a studio alum, 20-year-old Amanda, to a rare form of brain cancer.

So Gret and her dancers, ages 11 to 14, set to work and created a piece they titled “The Painting.” And it’s stunning. The powerful choreography gives movement to the monologue’s expressions of sadness, wonder and hope as they relate to life and death.

“Our studio is more than a studio; we are a family,” Gret wrote in a letter to actor Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin. And just like a family, these dancers support each other—literally and figuratively—as they cope with loss and honor a life in this beautiful performance.

Fun fact: The dancers actually got to meet Justin Hartley when he stopped by during a recent trip to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby!

Rockette kicks (on a scale of 10 to 10!):