Power is currently the artistic director and CEO of the Prix de Lausanne dance competition and is the former administrator and AD of the Houston Ballet Academy. She said, “I like to build things, I like to develop things, whether it’s programs or strategic planning, and implementing and organizing strategically the path ahead.”
One choreographer: “We don’t have time to play around anymore.”
“There are times when I do just want to make a dancey dance. … But for me, I always get to a certain point when I feel it’s a waste of time and energy. Being black and gay there’s so much that I’ve faced in my life that I can’t be oblivious to what’s happening in the world. I can’t put all that aside and say: ‘Let’s just choreograph this pretty picture.'”
Siphesihle November, aged 19 and a new member of the NBC corps de ballet, talks to Q about his personal and artistic journeys to the far side of the globe. (audio)
“It turns out he was adrift in a sea of Carlton Draughts … During more than a year of self-imposed exile in Melbourne, he spent hours on park benches, washing away the pain of a wrecked career with six-packs of beer.” Sarah Kaufman looks at Hallberg’s new memoir.
The company is breaking ground for its first permanent studio, a former furniture store and auto repair shop in South Philadelphia that will be called the Center for World Premiere Choreography. BalletX director Christine Cox is serious about that name: in addition to space for morning dance class and rehearsal, the Center (which is expected to open over this winter) will provide space for choreographers to work, and Cox promises 40 new ballets over the next ten years.
A new study, published in the open-access journal <a href=”https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00305/full“>Frontiers in Human Neuroscience</a>, shows that older people who routinely do physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing as a form of exercise is the most effective.
Six months ago, critic Siobhan Burke raised the issue in The New York Times. Now, in Britain’s The Observer, Luke Jennings writes, “In the last few seasons the Royal Ballet stage has seen record numbers of female characters brutalised and killed. … Consider this body-count alongside the number of recent abstract works in which women are split, splayed and otherwise manhandled, and certain embedded attitudes reveal themselves. None of these works, in which female characters are defined by their passivity and victimhood, was created by a woman.”
Robert Fairchild, the recently departed New York City Ballet principal dancer who starred in An American in Paris and will now co-star in a City Center Encores! production of Brigadoon, says, “The two disciplines, ballet and singing, they’re really at odds with one another, because they come from such different parts in your body. It’s exciting, but it’s definitely a challenge to both sing and dance at the top of your game.”
Britain’s MacMillan “also effectively reinvented the 19th-century narrative ballet for an audience ready for tales of passion, drama and violence rather than those involving myths, swans and chivalry. He was — like Jerome Robbins and Antony Tudor in the United States — a bringer of neurosis, psychological drama and real-life grit to the rarefied world of ballet.”
Yorgos Loukos, artistic director of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon was given six months in prison and ordered to pay €25,000 in damages for refusing to renew the contract of a dancer returning from maternity leave. (in French; Google Translate version here)
The ABT star shows a butch, slightly stiff video producer how to do an assured waltz and a gracious stage bow – and even gets him doing a changement. (video with transcript)
“What started as a technique class – focused on turnout of the legs, placement of the arms, straightness of the back – became a larger kind of learning experience, when Ms. Copeland, 35, was joined for an after-class discussion by a trailblazing African-American dancer of another generation, the 86-year-old Carmen de Lavallade. The two spoke about breaking down barriers for black ballet dancers and honoring those who had done so before them.”
“As a young dancer, when approaching a step or lift or turn I deemed hard, I would say to myself, Don’t [expletive] this up. … At times I wondered if it was a form of superstition, that the very act of thinking Don’t [expletive] this up would protect me from any and all regrettable mistakes. But I had come to realize that the common thread among the disparate artists I admire most is that they do not protect themselves at all.” An excerpt from his new memoir.
Despite what’s going on inside her body—and the scars that look like “the zombie apocalypse”—Bailey Anne Vincent dances. She glides across the floor with ease and grace, with extended lines and delicate movements that belie the medical battles within.
This dancer “formed the Fredericksburg dance group Company 360 eight months ago between operations, lung infections and doctor visits. … Dance takes her to another place, beyond the aches and pains and away from a body that causes so much grief.”
Danzon began a long decline on Cuba after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, but the dance is kept alive, and even revived further, in the public squares of Mexico.
“‘It’s a confirmation of sorts when the old pieces live,’ she says. ‘Back in 1973, people gave me flak because that work didn’t look classical enough. I said, ‘This may not be your version of ballet but ‘classical’ is simply what survives.'”
The director of marketing and sales at Sadler’s Wells writes about how the theatre was losing tens of thousands of pounds in income due to discounts that had become too successful – and how it fixed that problem without alienating members and other ticket-buyers.
“A few years ago, photographer Takiyah Wallace was searching for a dance studio in Dallas for her 3-year-old daughter, who had expressed an interest in ballet, when she noticed something. ‘One of the first things that jumped out to me in visiting local studios here was that there were not any faces that looked like her,’ she says.”
“Parade was advertised as the world’s first cubist ballet – mostly in deference to Picasso’s designs, but also as a way of explaining the comic, disconnected logic of its fairground scenario and the clash of musical styles and found noise (pistol shots, sirens) in Satie’s score. … But for National Dance Company Wales (NDCW), it is Diaghilev’s relation to the Russian revolution that has provided the starting point of its show P.A.R.A.D.E.” Judith Mackrell has a look.
“In the American ballet world, issues of diversity and equality are front and center. Many have pointed to a lack of female choreographers and heads of major companies. Millepied says that’s a problem that’s specific to ballet. ‘There are amazing choreographers in contemporary dance. If ballet schools made that more part of their mission, I think more women would be choreographing.'”
“When we’re in a dance battle, it’s really like a battle – it’s a way for people to let their emotions out,” says one contestant in the ever-evolving subculture.
That’s right, a dance of oral history: “‘Sit, Eat, Chew’ also staged performances in a private apartment, a restaurant, a public park, and a museum. The stories — told in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and through movement — were culled from interviews with senior citizens and local youth. The project, born out of a desire to share oral histories from Manhattan’s Chinatown residents with the public in an engaging way, was funded through a Kickstarter campaign as well as several nonprofit and city and state grants.”
Basically? Hire a good choreographer, or two. “The critic in all of us gets particularly savage when watching a dance film or a musical. We demand great acting and exceptional dancing, seeking both to transport us. During this current resurgence of the musical genre, and as more dance-focussed films emerge, the choreographer has become central to many productions.”
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
Kathleen McGuire: “When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one: ‘Dance isn’t for everyone.’ This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.”
“It turns out it wasn’t easy to find dancers in their 20s (or even a decade older) who were moved by it or who had even seen it: They came of age with Center Stage and Black Swan. … But for an older generation, and for some just discovering it, the film is a touchstone.”
The news broke yesterday that the fledgling company, announced with fanfare earlier this year with an emphasis on diversity of backgrounds and body types – had fired nearly two dozen dancers and had seen yet more resignations, including of its marquee star. Jennifer Stahl and Amy Brandt talk to ANB’s executive director as well as current and former dancers – and piece together a tale of changed management, a changed vision, and a hush-hush impending merger with another company.
The still-gestating Charleston-based company, which announced ambitious plans to “reinvent and diversify” the art form earlier this year, asked its members last Friday to sign nondisclosure agreements. Then, on Monday, “23 dancers … were told they were demoted or fired. It was part of an effort to address financial realities.” Three choreographers and coaches, including Rasta Thomas and Octavio Martin, left the company in August; its leading principal dancer, Sara Murawski, resigned this week. (ANB says that 24 dancers remain on its roster.)