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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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)
There are “thousands of so-called square dancing troupes of Chinese seniors that have sprung up in the last few years, descending on public plazas, parks and other urban open spaces across the country daily for nostalgia-infused light cardio workouts. The phenomenon has grown so widespread that it’s causing social friction, with multiple groups battling for pavement space and sonic supremacy in many parks, much to the annoyance of often younger nearby residents.”
“A little more than a year ago, the company and school faced debt and considered cutting back on performances and even closing its doors. It reorganized as an artist-led organization, with dancers taking on administrative roles. Heading into the 2014-15 season, it looks like the dancers’ dedication has paid off.”
“There’s something unsettling about watching 1,000 robots execute a perfectly choreographed routine. … And yet, these machines – tiny $20 robots that take five minutes each to assemble, for a total of 83 hours – are actually completely banal. In fact, according to the researchers, their capabilities are pretty abysmal.” (video)
“Hip-hop dance is not going global – it’s been global for years … The global reach was evident not only in the winners of the major world dance crew competitions” – groups fro Japan, Canada and the Philippines – “but also by the fact that a dominant team, New Zealand’s the Royal Family, was so popular that it had a special performance Saturday night.” (includes video)
“This choreography of grit and grace perseveres, despite an increase of arrests by the New York Police Department, as a delicate wonder, glued together by exacting precision and indelible stamina. Plus, there’s the joy of watching a dance where dancing is not allowed: It’s a subversive performance. It’s also a surprise.”
Alastair Macaulay: “Opera people often – and rightly – remark on the marvelous films of the soprano Maria Callas in concert; they show us the very moment when her whole face subtly switches into the character she is about to sing. It feels miraculous. Yet such moments keep recurring during individual Indian dances: the face changes contour; the body becomes another being.”
When the news hit that Millepied was to be artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet beginning this fall, observers were skeptical (despite his protestations) that he’d continue to pay attention to the company he had founded just in 2012. Now LADP has announced it will premiere a new Millepied work in October.
“With her strong jaw and confidently bared breastbone, Degas’s Little Dancer statuette … absolutely does not care what we think. Yet her mystique has only grown. Who was that girl, really? And who was she to Degas? These questions fuel [a new] musical, which is reportedly part fact, part fantasy,” in which Peck is starring this fall.
“Although the ballet did not provide an explanation for letting her go, from the beginning, [Assis] Carreiro was a controversial choice for the role of artistic director. … Dancers wrote a letter to the organisation’s board late last year citing that 69% of them had voted no confidence in the artistic director. Eventually, one-third of the company left.”
“It is interesting to see any company in class, to glimpse behind the greasepaint and the glamour to see the sheer hard work and repetitive grind which makes onstage greatness possible. But it is particularly fascinating to watch the Mariinsky in action, partly because their dancers are so famous – but mainly because their style is so pure.” (includes video)
“In ballet, the muscles on the inside part of your legs work, but here you use the muscles on the outside of your legs. There’s a lot of pressure on the knees, which you don’t get in classical ballet, and you dance practically barefoot, which is also unusual. Lots of falling movements – when we were rehearsing we were covered in bruises, all beaten and battered!”
“Racism is less about what happens to you and more about what doesn’t happen to you.” As ABT’s Misty Copeland prepares to dance the White and Black Swans for the first time, she and several of her dark-skineed colleagues (including Carlos Acosta) talk about the challenges they still face (yes, including hate mail and physical threats) and the progress that’s being made.