Dance

Misty Copeland’s Long, Strange Journey

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“Copeland’s proceeding along a kind of inevitable music-box destiny, but her path to becoming a star ballerina has been as dramatic, unlikely, and hinged on coincidence as the plots of most ballets – the ones that have plots, anyway.”

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Frozen In Time? Is Dance Stunted By Attempts To Label It?

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“Just when the dance world has become so stimulating with its jumble of influences from all over the world, and when classical ballet and contemporary dance are criss-crossing in interesting ways, we have recently seen announcements for two major initiatives that stake out claims for a certain kind of dance—a limited kind of dance that is easy to name.”

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Miami City Ballet Cleans House, Gets Fired Up With A New Vision

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“The most obvious changes are in the company leadership and staff. There has been an almost complete turnover — from a new board president and new executive director to new teachers at the company school. The board has become better organized and more functional, with a more clearly defined and helpful relationship with the company.”

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Why Justin Peck Is The New It-Boy Ballet Choreographer

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“Peck stands apart for his ability to channel an almost conservative approach to ballet through an athletic idiom that’s easy for newcomers to appreciate.” Says New York City Ballet ballet master in chief Peter Martins, “He’s willing to break the rules but stay within the classical vocabulary.”

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Bringing Boston’s North Atlantic Ballet Back To Life

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The chamber-size company was launched in 1979 by former Boston Ballet dancers Skip Warren and Rachel Whitman and moved around the Massachusetts coast until sputtering out on Cape Cod in 2003. Now the founders’ daughter, Lucy Warren-Whitman, has revived the troupe.

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Robert Curran Wants To Make Classic Ballets “Cinematic”

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Says the former Australian Ballet star, who’s just starting his new job as artistic director of Louisville Ballet: “I might be a bit presumptuous in saying this but I would really like to bring a cinematic quality to these productions, to these traditional ballets. I think audiences are used to and expect a certain quality in period pieces, whether they be on the silver screen or whether they be on stage. So what I would really like to bring is reality.”

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Why Ira Glass Moved Into Modern Dance

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“Glass has experimented with visual forms before: television, live shows, movies. Until he encountered Monica Bill Barnes & Company, dance was the exception. … But when he first saw Monica Bill Barnes, something clicked. There was confetti, goofiness, turtlenecks, pop music. ‘I really loved it,’ he said. … “It felt so much like the work I tried to do on the radio, and what was surprising about that is that you can’t get further from radio than dance.”

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Royal Ballet Dancers Become Canvas For Chris Ofili

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The Turner Prize winner personally paints the leotards of all six dancers in Unearthed, a collaboration with choreographer Aakash Odedra that mixes ballet with kathak (North Indian dance) to retell the story of Prometheus and the creation of the first man from clay.

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The Senior Ballet Pros Going Back To The Barre

Betsy Gregory in rehearsal for Elixir festival

“They all admit to varying degrees of trepidation. There’s no disguising that, collectively, they are a wrinklier, baggier version of their past selves, and there’s much searching for reading glasses whenever they need to consult their rehearsal notes.”

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World Ballet Day: Behind The Scenes With Five Major Companies In One Day

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“Starting at the beginning of the dancers’ day, each of the five ballet companies – Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet – will take the lead for a four-hour period streaming live from their headquarters starting with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne. The live link then passes across time zones and cultures from Melbourne to Moscow to London to Toronto to San Francisco.”

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How To Become America’s Favorite Dancer

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“Produced by TV geniuses who are also perhaps sadists, the rigorous celebration of dance might be the most demanding talent competition out there, requiring its contestants to leap, pirouette, cha-cha-cha, and toss their dance partners in the air with unrelenting frequency over the course of its summer run each year.”

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Frederick Wiseman Is Moving From Ballet Documentaries To Creating An Actual Ballet

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As part of his residency at NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts, Wiseman and choreographer James Sewell are collaborating on a stage work based on – no, not his dance documentaries, but his 1967 fim Titicut Follies, about the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Massachusetts.

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Jennifer Homans To Lead New NYU Center On Study Of Dance

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“Her new organization, the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, where she is a scholar in residence, will open this month with the help of a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ms. Homans said that its goals include establishing ballet as a serious subject of academic inquiry; drawing new voices into a discussion of its past, present and future; and expanding the conversation beyond the confines of the dance world.”

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Dancing With The (Public Radio) Stars

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Ira Glass has included dancers in the occasional live performances of This American Life. Now the dancers have returned the favor, building a new stage work with him – and the collaboration has had surprising benefits for everyone involved.

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Daniel Ezralow Launches New Dance Company

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“With this new company of 9 dancers, I want to build a creative home for the huge amount of repertory I’ve developed around the world. Being an eclectic artist means that I’ve been lucky enough to jump from film to TV to stage, but there’s been no way until now to collect everything into a single body of work.” Ezralow Dance debuts this month at the Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

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An Aboriginal Dance Company Explores Australia’s Cultural History

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Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia’s most famous indigenous performing arts group, popular at home and overseas. Supporters argue that it gives today’s indigenous Australians an important way to retell and process their own history – not to mention providing all-too-scarce employment for aboriginal performers. “[But] some critics have described Bangarra’s liberal use of traditional indigenous dance spiced up with modern moves as a Disneyfication of aboriginal culture.”

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Joffrey Ballet Creates Employee Training Videos For Marriott Hotels

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“Starting Saturday, employees throughout the luxury hotel chain’s properties will get tips from Joffrey dancers as well as its artistic director on the importance of warming up, proper breathing, flow of movement and connecting with the audience, delivered through a series of four short videos. The aim is to improve guests’ experience.”

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You Dare To Arrive Late? We’re Dancing Here!

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“The curtain rose five minutes ago, the corps de ballet is building the atmosphere, the ballerina is about to enter, the audience is collecting itself in mounting excitement when — — “Excuse me, I’m so sorry.” Upheaval follows. Sometimes eight people have to rise or adjust themselves as the patrons claiming the ninth and 10th seats make their way past.”

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Bloodbath At Pennsylvania Ballet

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“With a single swing of the ax, the new leadership of Pennsylvania Ballet has cleared out the longtime artistic pillars of the company” – the ballet master and mistress, both of whom were there for nearly 40 years; the director of the company’s school; and the assistant to the artistic director. Angel Corella was named the new artistic director last month.

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ABT’s Not Just Wringing Its Hands About Lack Of Diversity In Ballet, It’s Going Out To Develop More Dancers

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“Classical ballet in the United States has an image problem, as dancers at the top companies are almost entirely white. … In an attempt to make ballet more diverse, the American Ballet Theatre has launched a new programme to search for talents from the excluded communities. Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak reports from New York.” (video)

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