Dance

Will These Twin Ballet Dancers Be Among The Last Cuban Artists To Seek Refuge In The US?

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“When they set foot in the U.S. almost three months ago, they had no idea what was next — where they might end up, where they’d be sleeping a week later. (A lucky break connected them to someone at the San Diego Ballet, which intends to hire them when their work authorization papers come through; for now they are not paid, said the ballet’s executive director, Robin Morgan.) They understood they might never again see the mother they adored.”

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The Art Of Making A (Perfect) Tutu

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“Bacon only takes on a handful of commissions per season—this year, she has five in the works. They’ll keep her busy until competition time rolls around early in 2015.”

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La Monnaie, Belgium’s National Opera House, Eliminates Dance Programming

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Faced with huge funding cuts from the federal government, the Brussels theater – home to Maurice Béjart’s company for 27 years, the place where Mark Morris created his most popular works, the base for Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her company – must abandon dance, says its chief executive, so that it can continue its core function as an opera company. (in French)

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Police Investigate Corporate Philanthropy Chief’s Grant To His Partner’s Ballet Company

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“The chair of supermarket chain Asda’s charitable foundation … resigned from his twin roles as vice president of corporate affairs and head of the £8.6 million foundation in September following the discovery that he had sanctioned [£180,000 in] payments … to the MurleyDance company, without the approval of the foundation’s board.”

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The Essential Ballet? It’s About Generosity

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“Again and again among dancers and teachers, I saw examples of generosity that were not simply random, but intrinsic to this world. The real-life counterparts of the ballet teacher who nurtures Billy Elliot and his talent turn out not to be the exceptions but the rule. The die-for-your-art histrionics of The Black Swan and The Red Shoes mercifully exist mostly in the realm of fiction.”

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OMG! Our City Is OVERRUN With Nutcrackers! WHY???

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“I would call our Nutcracker The Great American Way Nutcracker! You get your Nutcracker in a half an hour, you can sit with your family, enjoy coffee, bagels, muffins, a balloon twister and dancing with the Nutcracker characters. And… photos with Santa! No mall lines!”

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Alexei Ratmansky Recreates One Of Petipa’s Classic Ballets

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Marius Petipa more or less created what we now think of as classical ballet, but very few of his works have survived intact. “Together with Doug Fullington, an expert in Stepanov notation, he[Ratmansky] has painstakingly pieced together this 1881 Petipa ballet [Paquita], created for the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg.”

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The Dancer Who Conquered Autism Through Ballet

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“I was diagnosed with autism when I was three, and I was always obsessed with dance. Anything movement-related I loved. My mother tried to put me in sports when I was younger even though I said I wanted to dance; she wanted to see if I could do anything else besides dance, maybe so I wouldn’t get bullied. But when I was six, she finally let me do my first ballet class. I stuck with it ever since.”

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Grant Saves Dance/UP – For A Time

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“The William Penn Foundation has decided to provide short-term funding for Dance USA/Philadelphia, the service organization whose grant application was unexpectedly denied by the foundation last month after many years of support.”

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Talking Ballet History With Jennifer Homans And Kevin McKenzie

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Homans, author of the survey of ballet through the ages Apollo’s Angels and director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts, and McKenzie, former star and current artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, discuss the long Paris-to-Vienna-to-St. Petersburg-to-America trajectory of the art form with host Leonard Lopate. (audio)

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How George Balanchine Found His Ideal “Nutcracker”

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“Fifty years ago, George Balanchine finally staged the Nutcracker of his dreams, a triumph for the New York City Ballet in its then new Lincoln Center home. Laura Jacobs tells how Balanchine’s childhood Christmases, his youth in St. Petersburg (dancing multiple roles in The Nutcracker himself), and his 41-foot tree sparked an American holiday tradition.”

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Dancing With Fractals (It Changes The Way You Think About Moving)

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“I realized that when I dance I use all the space around me with my arms. But in this case the fractal responded to motion in some parts of space more than others. For example, moving my arms up and down made the fractals change much more than moving them side-to-side.”

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“The Happiest Ballet Studio In The World”

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Sarah Kaufman: “The happiest ballet studio in the world may be the one just down the street from a Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery [in Charlotte], inside a bright purple building bearing the words ‘Patricia McBride/Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance’.”

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The Dancer Who Chose Ballet Over Harvard

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Elizabeth Mateer of the Pennsylvania Ballet: “Ballet is a young career and you only get one shot at it … My admissions officer told me, ‘Elizabeth, you worked really hard and you are so multitalented, but Harvard is always going to be here.'”

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Venezuela Presents A Hugo Chávez Ballet

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro hold a picture of late president Hugo Chavez during a May Day demonstration in Caracas

“The state-sponsored work, Ballet of the Spider-Seller to Liberator, is to show at a Caracas theater on Saturday in homage to Chávez’s life from poor boy selling homemade spider-shaped sweets in his rural hometown to president for 14 years.”

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Do Choreographers Need Editors?

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Judith Mackrell: “In dance, however, there’s no real equivalent, no institutional version of an outside eye to spot a weak narrative, a slack structure or an idea that’s not quite working. … Nor is it even clear who that figure might be. … [Even so,] I think the art form is suffering needlessly from this lack of systematic editorial input.”

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