“The provocative image of dancer Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya striking a pose, covered in blood with a nail through her foot, was chosen to advertise [Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal’s] performance of Stabat Mater, set to a score by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.”
Performances of the new biographical work were abruptly called off just a couple of days before the scheduled premiere on July 11 – allegedly, though not officially, because the piece would have violated Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law. Meanwhile, the ballet’s creator, avant-garde stage director Kirill Serebrennikov, is under house arrest on unrelated charges, and the premiere may proceed without him.
“A few months ago, I was sure that I was going to stop dancing to become a good actor. But then when I was by myself for a week, I asked myself, What are you doing? You have that talent. Use it to the fullest. And if I can use that talent as well as acting, that’s magical to do both. Would I be happy just to be an actor? I don’t think I would.”
“We’re highlighting some of the influential black women who came before, and have been changing the game in the downtown dance scene for almost four decades. They continue to thrive and survive, although in [one case], posthumously. As young dancemakers, we have to know the shoulders on which we stand.”
Skip back a generation or two, and those to have emerged from other Hull dance schools include former Royal Ballet principal Mark Silver and ex-Birmingham Royal Ballet principal Robert Parker. Hull seems to have a particularly good record with male dancers.
“The Sleeping Beauty is being adapted to cater for those on the autistic spectrum, with a learning disability or a sensory and communication disorder. Taking place on February 20 at the Birmingham Hippodrome, the ballet will have a shorter running time, with changes to lighting, sound and seating. It is the first time the company has staged a relaxed performance, a practice that has become increasingly common in theatre.”
The secret of Hull’s success is the Skelton Hooper Ballet School, which trained a slew of principals at leading ballet companies in Europe, most notably Xander Parish (now at the Mariinsky) and Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare.
“Over the course of those years since 2009, the company’s future has become more clear. Crucially, there appears to be an undiminished appetite for Bausch’s emotionally driven style of tanztheater (or dance theater) … (Performances tend to sell out weeks in advance.) Part of that future is a product of continuity. There aren’t many dance troupes whose performers range in age from their 20s to 60s, but that is the situation in the company today. Many veterans are still there to pass on the knowledge embedded in their bodies and memories.” Marina Harss talks with three dancers from various stages Tanztheater Wuppertal’s history.
Jen Peters talks to Annie-B Parsons, Aszure Barton, Susan Marshall, and others about the influence the late German choreographer had on their work on their outlook.
“Lourdes Lopez, Miami City Ballet’s Artistic Director, has reported that the company’s Miami Beach headquarters, its dancers, students and staff are safe and have experienced Hurricane Irma with minimal damage.”
“One of the ballet world’s busiest superstars is adding another role to his resume, and it’s a big one. American Ballet Theatre principal Daniil Simkin is joining Staatsballett Berlin as a principal beginning with the 2018-2019 season. Though he will be based in Berlin, the virtuoso will maintain his position at ABT, performing with the company as often as his schedule will allow.” Here he talks with Lauren Wingenroth about how he got the job and what his plans for it are.
In fact, you may already know two or three of them. They’re ballet star Diana Vishneva, hip-hop maestro Rennie Harris, Linda Celeste Sims of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and physical therapist/dance medicine pioneer Marika Molnar.
“When you’re performing with a whirling cinderblock or giant hamster wheel as your partner, there is no time for second-guessing your physical fitness. Fortunately, STREB EXTREME ACTION member Cassandre Joseph knows exactly what her body needs to stay safe, even when flying off 30-foot platforms. What are the five habits that prepare her to tackle anything that director Elizabeth Streb might throw her way?”
“[He] said that with a number of acting and musical theater roles on the horizon, he felt he needed to choose a direction. … ‘I have adored my time at City Ballet. But you can’t do everything forever, and I did try for a bit.'”
Repairs are well underway at the Center for Dance, and the Academy should be back to a full schedule of classes by Sept. 11. The subfloors from both the small studio and the dance lab on the first floor have been removed, as well as two feet of drywall. A new pump and electrical panel for the water system is currently being installed.
“People with disabilities lived with the stigma that they can’t do this, they can’t do that, they can’t dance, they can’t walk, they can’t talk. When you dance with a partner, you really forget who you’re dancing with. You forget their age, you forget their ability, disability, ethnicity, height, weight, you know, forget all of that. You start to see people and feel people as people, not a person in a wheelchair.”
A dance scene as determined as Dallas’ deserves a festival that makes its aspirations visible at one big gathering at least once a year. It’s time.
“In the world of classical ballet, the presentation of flowers to the lead ballerinas is a carefully choreographed ritual, one steeped in tradition and rules, and perfected by decades of practice. It’s also a study in contrasts, as ushers with no stage experience must walk across the stage to meet the most graceful of performers at center stage. What could go wrong?” You’d be surprised. Peggy McGlone talks with ushers at the Kennedy Center who do it.
“Dance is a physical manifestation of abstract thought, and I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate this than by making work inspired by independent thought, by self-starting businesses. Using dance as a device for work advancement and learning also taps into something that Millennials increasingly desire in their work experience, something not only fun outside of work, but something applicable to professional growth.”
Lucinda Childs, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Maguy Marin talk about their approaches to Beethoven’s strangest music.
“Executive director Jim Nelson said the company will stage four performances of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling Sept. 22-24 (including two evening shows and two matinees) at the Hobby Center for the Arts’ Sarofim Hall. It also will stage two evening performances of its postponed ‘Poetry in Motion’ mixed repertory program there Oct. 26 and 27.”
Tara Pandeya writes about how she came to study the rigorous, highly developed styles of the Tajik and Uyghur traditions, and how she traveled to Tajikistan to study and ended up a member of the national dance ensemble and winning a televised national competition.
Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, granddaughter of the late King Sihanouk and half-sister of the current king, toured the world in the 1950s and ’60s as one of the leading dancers of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia. In the 1990s, after the years of the Khmer Rouge and the later Vietnamese invasion, she located surviving dancers and musicians and refounded the company, and she’s now training a new generation.
“Two years after headlines screamed ‘Ballet in crisis’ – and the company was a hair’s-breadth from shutting its doors for good – the troupe has received coaching from arts turnaround expert Michael Kaiser, hired an executive director and rebuilt its board of directors. And after four years of travails that began when a mold infestation cost the ballet its longtime home, officials say it’s finally time to start moving forward.”
One line of experimentation has involved electronic shadows on the stage floor, an effect that can be hard to see from the seats of many conventional theaters. That’s not a problem at the Guggenheim, where the audience is above the dancers. Here’s how it works: An infrared camera scans the dancers’ outlines, 60 frames per second, even as they move, and transmits that information to a computer, which then projects images around the dancers. As Mr. Simkin explained during a recent rehearsal, the speed of the computer processing is crucial. “If there is a lag, the brain sees it as a technological trick,” he said. “If there is no lag, as we can do it now, it is like magic, giving another layer to the movement — like a big dress, my father says.”
The new Duplass brothers anthology series, Room 104, just aired an episode that included no spoken text – only dance. Dance Magazine talks with choreographer Dayna Hanson, who created both the storyline and the movement of the episode.
“In November 2005, the city’s oldest professional ballet company, Ballet Internationale, was preparing for its annual Nutcracker performance at the Murat Theater when the company suddenly closed their doors – canceling the upcoming show and leaving professional dancers in Indianapolis out of work. For Victoria Lyras that was the beginning of a long twelve years to bring professional ballet back to the Circle City.” (video)
“The culture believes there is a limitation to how long you can do this kind of thing for your job and to be onstage performing dance. How do we make that interesting? Both because of the movement and because of that idea, we just started talking about athletes and sports. Can you open up an audience to feel like they want to jump out of their seats at one moment? Or even boo, and feel like something is totally failing onstage? And can this movement that is so athletic lead us into a direction that creates a totally different relationship with an audience?”
“I want our audiences to understand the vast scope of what a ballet can be,” says Paul Vasterling. Pushing that distinction means thinking outside the norm, whether in terms of subject matter, movement vocabulary, use of text and singers, or in performance structure and duration. This raises interesting questions around where exactly we draw the line between ballet and modern dance or musical theatre.
“It’s the same as in sports. Once you win a season, repeating everything that you did the next season is the surest way not to win. To stay on that edge, you have to question and risk everything. Once you get used to winning, then you just love that edge. You love the fact it’s risky. Otherwise, I’m sorry, it gets really boring. So there is no formula.”