“As [dramaturg Ruth Little] and Khan explored their own ideas about Giselle, they realised that the ballet’s apparently formulaic simplicity was actually its strength … Most fruitful to them was exploring the underlying issue of power – the gulf of money and class that separates the aristocrats from the peasants in the ballet, and that dooms Albrecht and Giselle’s love to tragedy.”
“Hire anybody that shows skill and talent and give people the chance to surprise us. They would never have thought I would end up one day playing Romeo in the Royal Ballet, so the same thing has to be done for others – give them the chance to see what Romeo lies inside of them.”
“So, how do some academies in Texas – and across the U.S. – get more boys to sign up for ballet? One way is free tuition. While girls can pay thousands of dollars a year for lessons and gear, boys can get lessons for as little as nothing.”
Her predecessor, Septime Webre, “stamped the Washington Ballet as a showcase of youthful punch and audience-friendly showmanship. … [Kent] She aims to groom the Washington Ballet in the more refined, elegant language of the classics and first-rate contemporary works.”
“Emergency evacuation drills, though necessary, are a pain: they seem to always happen when we least expect it and interrupt us when we’re at our most productive. At SIGNAL gallery, the procedure becomes a delight, with artist Madeline Hollander transforming what we’ve all rehearsed with irritation into a mesmerizing performance.”
“Dancer Jonathan Ollivier was killed when his motorbike was hit by a minicab while the driver was making a hands-free call on his mobile, a court has heard. Ollivier died last August after his motorbike collided with a car as he was making his way to the final performance of Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man.”
Alastair Macaulay: “Nobody can miss how vividly different its stage worlds are: the green romantic medieval French forest of ‘Emeralds’ (music by Fauré); the red Modernist high-energy American urban world of ‘Rubies’ (Stravinsky); the wintry white (both snowscape and palace) grand imperial Russian classicism of ‘Diamonds’ (Tchaikovsky). What other artist could conjure these three dissimilar realms with such easy mastery?”
Diavolo’s taste for heights, soaring numbers and gigantic playthings hasn’t changed much since its early days, but the method behind the madness has evolved from freewheeling experimentation to fine-tuned research and development, especially after the company was commissioned to develop a trilogy of dance works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2005.
“I danced for a long time before I asked myself the question,” he says. The question being, “What is dance?” He now thinks it’s “an invention by human beings to express space and time…to express wonder and emotion by losing control in how we move in time.” Needless to say, that’s something everyone should have in life, in some form, at some time or another. It’s so obvious to D’Amboise he never even says that.
“If fashion is chimerical fantasy, Mr. Happel brings a dose of earthbound reality to the work: Will all that detailed embroidery read from far away? Will dancers actually be able to raise their arms in that bodice?”
“When things got painful, we’d hug each other and speak either French or German with each other and dance together.”
“The theater looks a certain way, the curtain goes up on a company, and whatever happens on a stage can be vastly different from week to week. However, the experience itself of attending the Joyce has grown to be somewhat regular, and this is a way to challenge that.”
“I love the culture here. … The kids here enter into the school to become ballet dancers. They’re not doing it for a hobby so therefore the training is really, really intense.”
“Three men to partner five women! … I’ve often wondered if the name Divertimento No. 15 gave him the idea: 15 = 5 x 3, a kind of numerical pun. Having eight principals (5 + 3), he matches them with a corps of eight women. As you watch the changing corps patterns, Balanchine shows how neatly divisible the number eight can be – two fours, four twos: symmetries abound. But then you see those eight principals. Eight, after all, can contain an imbalance.”
“Around the world, there are prominent Argentine doctors, scientists, international-law experts, conductors, musicians. This is especially striking in the world of dance. Ballet was more or less a twentieth-century import to Argentina, brought by travelling troupes like Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, but its roots have dug their way down deep.”
“With his silky moves and electric personality, [Steven Mitchell soon rose to prominence as a swing dancer, receiving a star’s welcome in every city. When interest in swing experienced a resurgence, particularly in the 1990s, Mitchell – depending on who you ask – either rode the wave or created it. But there’s a group of women who know a very different Steven Mitchell.”
“The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, which for the past 15 years has showcased the works of Farrell’s mentor, George Balanchine, and which is bankrolled by the Kennedy Center, will shut down after a final series of performances in December 2017, the center has announced.”
For a recent shoot Vogue España elected to dress the model in a variety of ballet-adjacent outfits and to film her sashaying around a dance studio. And when the ballet world caught wind of the video, it was not pleased.
“Every day, billions of people in America and around the world wake up and start their daily rituals to eventually end up at work. Preparing for work can entail so many details, but for most it involves both mental preparation and some kind of physical preparation, whether it’s getting into office-appropriate clothing or physically traveling to one’s place of work.” Enter choreographer Dana Gingras and her company, The Holy Body Tattoo.
“Wall Street dealmaker Frederic Seegal has acquired five titles of Dance Media from Macfadden Communications. Seegal, the one-time CEO of Wasserstein Perella and current vice chairman of Peter J. Solomon Co., … has been a longtime patron of the arts, serving as past president of the American Ballet Theater’s board of trustees and as a trustee for the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera.”
“I thought of building a better system, like the movie industry. I talked to David, and he asked, “Do you have an agent?” When I told him no, he said, “How do you guys get work if you don’t have an agent?” Then I talked to Ralph Fiennes and found out he has huge support; he has managers and agents and a company. Dancers don’t have that, and I realized that’s the key. That’s what we need to create, because that creates the industry.”
“On Thursday, France’s state auditors, the Cour des Comptes, lambasted 10 directors for running up nearly €93,350 [$104,281] in taxi bills between them in 2013 and 2014 … [as well as meals worth] about €52,000 [$58,000] in 2014 by just four members of staff.”
“Couples are everywhere, moving fast and vying for the judges’ attention. You have no control over the music – please, you think, just let it have a discernible beat. You’re counting – ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8’ in your head, and your teacher is hissing in your ear to get your head back out of her space and keep your frame up.”
“Cisneros was a pigeon-toed swan. Her left hip was too tight and her left foot was pigeon-toed — potential career-enders because ballet is grounded in outward rotation. She overcame what could have become a disability through a brutal work ethic.”
“The petition states an ‘outright rejection’ of the idea of joint directors, demanding a single candidate ‘with a clear artistic vision and relevant experience.’ It contends that these appointments, announced three years in advance, are politically rather than artistically motivated.”
It was at the Paris Opera in 1862, still the age of gas lighting, which is not a good combination with tutu skirts.
The Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva, a principal with American Ballet Theater since 2005, will give her farewell performances with the company [next June] … Ms. Vishneva, 40, is also a principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, and will remain with that company.”
“Performers from the Royal Ballet, the Washington Ballet and the Staatsballett Berlin – who all trained under the Royal Academy of Dance – have joined forces to call on parents not to push their children into starting pointe work just because some of their peers might have.” Says one, “Starting too early can cause enormous damage.”
An ugly, months-long saga that saw renowned dancer-choreographer Johan Kobborg – engaged as artistic director in 2014 to bring the ballet company at the Bucharest National Opera up to top international standards – demoted without warning to corps de ballet member, a theatened exodus of foreign dancers (whose Romanian colleagues yelled “Foreigners out! at them), Kobborg first brought back and then barred from the building, and the resignations of two opera house general managers (one after one day) and Romania’s culture minister, is now over. The house’s current (third) interim director, Beatrice Rancea, says that, regardless of what position her predecessors may have offered Kobborg, Romanian law does not permit a foreigner to hold the title of artistic director at the company and that Kobborg refused to stay on with a lesser title. His successor, now “artistic coordinator,” is Italian choreographer Renato Zanella – whose pay, Rancea pointed out, will not be as high as Kobborg’s was. (That was another point of conflict with Romanians in the company.) Another Italian, Marcello Mottadelli, has been appointed music director at the opera house. (in Romanian; Google Translate version here)
“The rise of YouTube and the internet have made it more difficult than ever to impress the viewing public, the dancers have said, as they are expected to perform ever-more gymnastic feats to keep up with what people can see online.” Says one, Alexander Campbell, “I think there’s a video of a Chinese acrobat standing en pointe on someone’s head, and that’s incredible. So if you come and see someone en pointe on a massive floor, it doesn’t have that same excitement.”