Acosta, who had a painful separation from his country and family in order to become a star in Europe and the U.S., says “I want to bring them to the world, but also to bring the world to them.”
“Both the creators of the ballet and its performers have been nominated for the Benois de la Danse, nicknamed the ballet’s Oscars, in four professional categories: Ilya Demutskiy for Best Composer, Yuri Possokhov for Best Choreographer, Kirill Serebrennikov for Best Stage Design, and dancer Vladislav Lantratov for Best Performance in the title role of the ballet Nureyev.” Serebrennikov, whose recent film Summer will be in competition at Cannes next month under house arrest in a case many observers consider trumped-up, just had his detention extended into July.
“‘Justin,’ yelled the ballet master Patrice Hemsworth. ‘Move your arms. Good, good, good. Boys, you look beautiful. Go girls. Use your shoulders.’ She watched silently for another few beats and then, as the recorded music stopped, yelled out: ‘The feet were good but, the arms have to work with it. And you’re rushing like crazy.'” A reporter visits Ballet Tech, a city academy for middle- and high-schoolers founded by choreographer Eliot Feld.
Olga Smirnova, one of the Bolshoi’s biggest stars, and Jacopo Tissi, a La Scala Ballet alumnus who joined the Moscow company in 2016, were refused nonimmigrant worker visas to dance at a Youth America Grand Prix gala at Lincoln Center this week.
“In the West, our idea of monastic ritual involves prayer and quiet reflection. But there are monasteries in Assam, in the far reaches of northeastern India, where prayer has always been, and continues to be, expressed through dance. The monks in these communities, or sattras, perform with and for each other, and for the deity. Sattriya, as this dance form is known, became one of the eight official classical dance forms of India only in 2000 – since then, its visibility has grown beyond the monastery walls.”
“‘I would rather try and fail than not try,’ he says. He’s applied that same philosophy to his career: Last fall, he decided to leave life as a ballet star behind to find out what possibilities might lie in musical theater, TV and film. In the course of our conversation, he repeats the same sentence over and over, like a mantra: ‘You never know how far you’re gonna go if you don’t jump.’ This is his jump.”
The new team chose two of the six premieres City Ballet will present in the 2018-19 season, reaching beyond the traditional ballet world to commission works by Kyle Abraham and Emma Portner. They learned the puzzle-like intricacy of planning a year’s worth of ballets, which must be chosen so subscribers won’t see too many repeats and scheduled so the whole company — dancers, orchestra, costume shop and more — can handle the workload. And they learned to use analytic tools — think Moneyball, but for ballet — which forecast how well each dance will sell.
“The complaints were compiled in a survey conducted by Paris Opera Ballet’s internal ‘artistic expression commission’ and sent to 132 dancers. It found that some 77 per cent said they had either been a victim of harassment in the workplace or seen a colleague mistreated … The survey was also damning for dance director Aurélie Dupont as it found that almost 90 per cent of dancers felt that they ‘did not have a quality management’. ‘The current director doesn’t seem to have any management skills or any desire to acquire such skills,’ reportedly wrote one dancer.”
“More than 60 presenting organizations and dance companies from around the world are expected to participate, and the Royal Ballet in London will be one of several to tackle Cunningham for the first time. … A highlight of the centennial will be a ‘Night of 100 Solos’ to be performed on the evening of Cunningham’s 100th birthday, April 16, 2019. One hundred dancers will perform anthologies (called Events) of solos from the 1950s to 2009” in Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles.
He saw a dance performance by chance in his freshman year at the University of Iowa. He “was lucky to discover dance when he did, in the early 1960s — the tail end of the heroic age of American modern dance. The summer after his freshman year (1962), he headed to the American Dance Festival ‘to find out what dance was.’ His first class there was taught by Martha Graham; the second, by Alvin Ailey; and the third by José Limón.”
“The aptly named Unbound Festival runs at the War Memorial Opera House Friday April 20- May 6. The range of the choreographers is astounding to find all in one place, from Alonzo King, artistic director of LINES Ballet for 35 years, to Justin Peck and Myles Thatcher, who are still dancing in the New York City Ballet and S.F. Ballet, respectively; and from Christopher Wheeldon, who is creating his 10th work for S.F. Ballet, to David Dawson, Cathy Marston, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Dwight Rhoden and King, who are all premiering their first pieces for the company (though they have all created a prolific amount of work for other companies around the world).”
“On an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday evening, I found myself facing a stranger, swinging my arms back and forth, and hooting like an owl. … Ecstatic dances are essentially free-form dance parties, and the directions for the one I attended … were pretty simple: no shoes, no drugs or alcohol, no phones or cameras, and no talking on the dance floor. The only directive: Allow your body to move exactly how it wants to move.”
Neurologists and psychiatrists admit they still don’t fully understand OCD or how it works. The condition can’t be cured, but it can be managed, dialing down the barrage of obsessive thoughts — and the compulsive behaviors or physical tics that briefly relieve them — so they aren’t so overwhelming. And for reasons that also aren’t fully understood, some highly trained athletes and performers find that being onstage or on the field, in front of thousands of people — an environment most people find highly stressful — actually reduces their anxiety.
The crew defines “ill-ability” as “creating advantages from disadvantages” and “an adaptation of power, strength and creativity.” It’s clear from the video what they mean: The crew isn’t just breaking, they’re pushing the form by tapping into what makes them different.
“The choreographer, who turns 70 this year, will leave the London venue in November in order to concentrate on leading the Richard Alston Dance Company towards its 25th anniversary in 2020. He has been artistic director of the Place since 1994 and formed his company, which is resident there, in 1995.”
“Reality set in when news broke that the damage to the Wortham Center turned out to be much worse than first anticipated. The artistic and administrative team found out that the floodwaters had gone all the way up to the basement ceiling. Costumes from some 50 ballets, which accounts for 60 percent of the repertoire, were destroyed. The theater would remain closed until September 2018, and the company would need to find other venues for the remaining season. But as artistic director Stanton Welch made clear … hurricanes shouldn’t mess with ballet dancers. The company would get through this, and be stronger for it.”
“After more than 45 years working in Europe, changing the face of dance, he has returned to his native America. … More significantly, since he left his own company in 2015, he has turned his attention back to the ballet studio. After a journey that took him to the outermost shores of contemporary movement, where he has reimagined the classical vocabulary, turning it around, taking it apart and examining it from every angle, he is back working with pointe shoes and traditional forms.”
“Alicia Graf Mack, an educator and former performer with Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will become the director of the dance division at Juilliard … She will begin in July, when Damian Woetzel, the former New York City Ballet principal, takes over as Juilliard’s president.”
Says Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director Janet Eilber of Childs, “She is one of the people who truly went in the other direction of Martha Graham, and part of what we do now is inviting vastly different perspectives on our legacy. We want their own separate, unique voices. We want the contrast. It brings context to the Graham classics.”
Ashley Bouder: “It’s as if the image of a man leading a woman into the wings is a metaphor for how the dance world is run. A male director leading the careers of dancers. A male choreographer laying down the pathway of steps to perform. Of course, there are women who have broken through this mold. But there it is in the phrase: ‘broken through.’ A simple place at the table would be sufficient. Instead, it’s like women are crashing the dinner party. … Too many times I’ve felt the proverbial pat on the head and heard a ‘Good for you, sweetie’ comment. A few times, I’ve actually gotten a real pat on the head.”
Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Even so, Jennifer Stahl reports: “Dr. Matthew Henley, a professor at Texas Women’s University [and a former dancer for Seán Curran], is gathering data to advocate for the value of dance as an intellectual practice – and build a framework for how to describe dance intelligence to non-dancers.”
“3. Ignoring your hands.
Give yourself a stock list of things to do with your hands, especially if you tend to always hold them in ballet positions. Gesture is completely different from port de bras.”
“In Auxerre Cathedral in northern France, and most likely in cathedrals in Sens and Amiens (and perhaps Chartres, as well), clergy gathered around the labyrinth [patterned into the floor of the nave], danced in a circle, and tossed a ball from person to person. These games, according to medieval religious observers, had ties to pagan practices. In certain places, they were incorporated into church rituals for hundreds of years.”
“Clare Croft, a dance dramaturg and assistant professor of dance at University of Michigan, answers all our questions on what dramaturgs actually do, and how to best take advantage of one.”
What is it about dance, a non-verbal art, that allows it to do what words cannot? Is it that it is physical/gestural rather than verbal, or instead that it is characteristically artistic experience rather than everyday discourse? To answer this, we must also consider for comparison the two other possibilities: non-verbal non-art and verbal art (literature/poetry).
Senior stage manager Johanna Adams-Farley and deputy Sarah Woodward talk about their work at Covent Garden, from productions that have been the company has known for ages (“Manon has been in the rep for so long it almost runs itself”) to preparing world premieres.
The free-to-play Fortnite: Battle Royale has become a cultural sensation with a wide-ranging playerbase. How do we know? Because professional sports players won’t stop mimicking the game’s weird dances in real life. Maybe one day they’ll be doing one of your dances — because Epic Games just launched a contest for players to submit video of their smooth moves, with the best one making it into Fortnite.
Students aren’t supposed to have “unauthorized absences,” but what could be more authorized than students taking school-approved dance, music, theatre and other arts exams? Apparently, a lot of things. “Leaving school for a dance exam is not exceptional, it’s actually quite routine that children leave to take a dance or drama exam outside school and then come back.” But many head teachers simply don’t agree.
This is the history of how the Catholic Church in Ireland influenced the law in the 1930s – and made it possible for any parish priest to stop any dance he didn’t like, for any reason, with the full cooperation of the Irish government and police. One priest “was wary, in particular, of outsiders – ‘devils’, as he saw them. ‘Persons who came to these dances from outside towns in motor cars were scoundrels of the lowest type, and were devils incarnate,’ he said.”
Aimee Meredith Cox, an associate professor at Yale, might say so. “While working in Brooklyn, Detroit, and Newark, Cox noticed communities, particularly communities of women, gathering together to create a common place for making art, utilizing such forms of expression, in some ways, as a form of protest.”