The company was performing its “Romance” program last Thursday (April 6) when the lights on the musicians’ stands flickered and then, in the woodwind and brass sections, went out completely. Yet the musicians played on and the dancers danced on. Peter Dobrin has the details.
“Crystal Pite and actor/playwright Jonathon Young won Best New Dance Production for Betroffenheit, their harrowing exploration of loss and grief [at Sadler’s Wells]. … Tamara Rojo has made some gutsy choices since becoming artistic director in 2012, and ENB’s Best Achievement in Dance Olivier ‘for expanding the variety of their repertoire with Giselle and She Said at Sadler’s Wells’ is just one more spot of validation. … Not only did he garner the Best Theatre Choreographer award for his production of The Red Shoes, Bourne also got to accept the award for Best Entertainment and Family, again for The Red Shoes.”
Yes, that’s right: New Yorkers just want to have fun. “Members of the newly created Dance Liberation Network are battling, Footloose-style, for their right to cut loose — by rescinding the city law that bans busting a move in an establishment that doesn’t have a cabaret license.”
The turnover may be somewhat normal for new artistic directors, but it’s partly because of an intense change in style: “For some of the veteran dancers leaving the Atlanta Ballet, the switch from former director John McFall’s contemporary style to Bolshoi-trained [Gennadi] Nedvigin’s traditional style was a major adjustment.”
Thanks not only to the two “Magic Mike” movies starring Channing Tatum but also to “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its sequels, business is booming for the several dance teams who also sometimes sing and always strip. The movies and books “have prompted women in more conservative areas … to more openly enjoy watching guys gyrate onstage.”
“What exactly is Doggie Hamlet? The 70-minute production, which unfolds at dusk, includes five performers, three herding dogs, a dog handler, a dog trainer and a flock of sheep.” A rough, heavily-edited three-minute video of sections of the piece was picked up by a conservative website and posted under the headline, “Taxpayers Foot Bill for ‘Doggie Hamlet’.” Gia Kourlas investigates, and, as a dance critic, comes to Carlson’s defense.
The Times‘s Daily 360 team pays visits to the free community auditions that the School of American Ballet offers six- to ten-year-olds in five neighborhoods around New York. (video)
“Multiple sources within the company told ArtsATL that the departures are the culmination of a culture clash between the open and modernistic atmosphere fostered by previous artistic director John McFall that was embraced by the dancers, and the classical ballet ethos favored by Gennadi Nedvigin, the new Bolshoi-trained artistic director.”
“Seven years ago, the Colorado Ballet appeared to be at a financial death’s door, but Saturday’s bustle and a 2017 season finishing with record attendance and box-office receipts show the company is very much alive.”
Former English National Ballet director Peter Schaufuss has teamed up with video game tycoon Leslie Benzies (Grand Theft Auto) to buy a historic but disused church in Edinburgh and turn it into a venue for both local and international touring companies.
“Under the USSR regime, Moscow put particular effort into developing dance in the area, through the non-negotiable funding of a national dance school. In time, Kyrgyzstan became the best dance training center in Central Asia, forming many dancers who went on to have international careers.” Things changed after the Soviet collapse …
Film and documents “are among the highlights from the Joffrey’s archive, which has been donated to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’s Jerome Robbins Dance Division. The gift coincided with the company’s return to New York for the first time last week since it moved to Chicago in the mid-1990s.”
“Janet Collins, Raven Wilkinson, Debra Austin, Nora Kimball, Misty Copeland, Francesca Hayward. All of these successful black ballet dancers have something in common: they skew toward the fairer end of the sepia spectrum. Onstage, the duskiness of their complexions can be all but washed out, bleached by the lights. From the audience, they could present as a white girl back from a beachside vacation, or be perceived as Latina. This observation is in no way meant to challenge these women’s ‘blackness,’ or their talent. It’s to highlight a long-overlooked fact.”
575 linear feet of material has been donated to the dance division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, on the grounds of Lincoln Center.
“When you do physical theatre. you learn when to give your weight, and when to let go. These are skills that are fundamental in a human being’s life, but we tend to ignore them.” His pupils, he said, learned how to “reach out” to others. They learned how to communicate. They learned how to listen. They learned how to work as a team. Oh, and their academic performance soared.
Shawn Theagene joined the Bloods at age 12, dealt drugs by age 14, and got a knife in the back of the skull at 15. Twenty years on, he says the ‘bruk up’ style of street dance saved him, and he’s spreading it to others.
The University of Tokyo designed a high-speed projector that projects 1,000 frames per second — which they say is the world’s fastest. By using the projector alongside a 3D-mapping system and precise sensor tracking, the video creators were able to change the look of the dancers and the aesthetics of the video in real time.
Bunch, speaking of Eugene Ballet Artistic Director Toni Pimble: “There were times when I’d play what I had for her, and she’d say, ‘That’s great, but I’m going to need probably twice that length, because of the time it’s going to take people to get off the stage.'”
Lerman, who teaches at Arizona State University, “has paved the way for a whole generation of dance makers to discover the power of social change through community engagement and by, as she puts it, ‘rattling around in other people’s universes.'”
The high-speed projector works at 1,000 frames per minute, and “over the course of about one minute, the dancers are made to look like skulls with empty eye sockets, big-toothed clowns, and terrifying dolls with their jaws unhinged.”
“The level of dancing has improved tremendously. It’s especially notable in the ballet companies. The depth of technique really extends from the principals all the way to the corps de ballet. That’s quite astounding. There are also changes in the system of dance and not necessarily in a good way. When I came here 30 years ago, touring was still a viable option for most dance companies, in particular the modern companies. We had grants to dance presenters, to dance companies. There was a network of support for touring activity, which is crucial to dance. There were multiple streams of income that went towards those presentations.”
A Q&A with James Whiteside, 32 and a principal at ABT, and Parker Kit Hill, a 21-year-old student at the Joffrey Ballet School with triple-threat talent, a decidedly un-classical look, and a big social media presence.
“I’m a very hard worker, and I know that about myself. But I like a supportive environment, and I don’t necessarily think I do my best in that competitive, edgy vibe. And I knew something different down here. I knew that there was like a real supportive family vibe. I’m just very grateful that this existed down here. If it hadn’t, I don’t know – I don’t know if I would have pursued it.”
“At the same time as she was becoming more difficult, she was also becoming more accessible. Part of Judson Dance Theatre’s deglamourization program was a refusal, by most of the choreographers, most of the time, to use conventional music, sets, or costumes. But Brown eventually put music back in, and while she often said that she did so because she got tired of hearing the audience cough, it cannot have escaped her notice that most spectators prefer dances set to music.”
Bridget Kuhns of the Houston Ballet isn’t one of the ballet dancers who uses the pre-show ritual of “‘brush your shoulder, touch your toe,’ she says, laughing as she mimicked those movements. But Kuhns does have a thing about fresh breath onstage, she explained. She always brushes her teeth and then chews on a piece of gum until the stage manager delivers the two-minute warning call.”
Unless one considers the relationships among the criminally insane and their terrible “care”-givers a traditional ballet subject, a new ballet inspired by Frederick Wiseman’s 1967 long-censored documentary “The Titicut Follies” will likely be a bit of a surprise. “Adapting the film’s troubling message has been a challenge for every artist involved in the new ballet.”
“Repeated injuries – and a longing to finally join her boyfriend of several years, New York City Ballet resident choreographer and dancer Justin Peck – mean that Delgado is retiring from the company.”
The London critics were not fond of David Dawson’s The Human Seasons, onstage at Covent Garden as part of a triple bill. In the comment section for one particularly harsh review, Dawson’s assistant choreographer, Tim Couchman, left a rant blaming the poor quality of the performance on the dancers, insulting their professionalism, skill, work ethic, attitude and egos. The Royal Ballet is not happy.