Commencement Speech from Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 | News @ Wesleyan

Because it’s Lin. Because Hamilton opens for previews on Broadway in two weeks. And mainly because it’s badass.

A commencement speech many of us could learn from.

Simply Golden: Dancing With the Stars Season 20 Finals

Again, I find myself reviewing an episode of Dancing With the Stars. And again, it’s about making history.

The finals aired last night, which I was already excited about because the three professionals involved–Sharna Burgess, Allison Holker, and Valentin Chmerkovsky–have never won the mirrorball trophy. I already have obvious sentimental attachments to Val and Allison (Val being Maksim’s brother…and talented and hot in his own right; Allison being a SYTYCD alum and married to one of my favorite dancers of all time), but Sharna’s work has been exemplary this season. But even more than that, their celebrities are CRUSHING it. Rumer Willis and Riker Lynch are the nearest to absolute perfection in non-trained dancers, and Noah Galloway’s strength and passion have me seeing him as not just an incredible dancer despite his physical shortcomings, but as an incredible dancer PERIOD. Seriously, some of his numbers I really have to look hard at the left side of his body–I’ve seen people with all four of their given limbs try and fail to move with that kind of grace.

Going in I couldn’t pick a winner, but figured I’d get a nudge from the freestyle dances, known for packing an extra in-your-face punch. So naturally, not a one of them obliged me, going for somewhat subtle and understated. Which, in itself, was a sneakier hit. Noah’s contemporary based freestyle again pulled from his life experience and put all his vulnerabilities on display; Riker went classic Old Hollywood in look and a medley of old school and new jack swing in movement; and Rumer stripped her routine down to just her and her partner, dancing sharp, Latin infused choreography to music they themselves covered. All were excellent in their own way, and at the close of the show Rumer and Riker were perfectly tied, with Noah right behind them with a respectable score of his own.

Only one of these couple will actually hoist that golden mirrorball tonight. But all three are champions….and ultimately, we are the winners for having witnessed it all.


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