“Anyone who thinks that Irish dance is a necessarily rigid form, defined by a stiff upper body and dancers moving in militaristic unison, should spend some time watching Colin Dunne.”
“For the generation who grew up watching the show, it proved that dance has a place on television. … It’s undeniable that dance today is part of pop culture in a way that it wasn’t a decade and a half ago. This increased exposure hasn’t necessarily translated into more ticket sales for live performances, but it has presented an alternative way of experiencing the art form. … [Yet the show’s] biggest impact was setting the standard for dance on the internet with its ‘snackable, and eminently shareable’ dance clips.”
That would be Valery Gergiev, the general director of the storied St. Petersburg house as well as a compulsively globe-trotting conductor who’s found himself caught in controversy before. This time, in addition to opining on male dancers’ diets and female dancers’ size, Gergiev discussed the preference for small breasts on ballerinas and dissed the Mariinsky’s Moscow rival, the Bolshoi.
When you’ve been a principal for decades, one dancer says, ‘You hone your craft as you go. All the years of experience come into play when I approach any role, all of that muscle memory and stamina is in your body.’ … After years of repetition, she says, ‘You’re able to focus and dig deeper. Once you have the technical mastery under your belt, your focus is freed.'”
The dancer, 31-year-old Grey Davis, lifted the unconscious 58-year-old man on the tracks to safety “with a lift that they do not teach in dance school.”
When only 1.8 percent of ballet exam candidates are boys, there’s a bit of an imbalance. So, the Royal Academy of Dance has hired a choreographer to shake things up. That choreographer: “Whether that be developing their favourite footballer’s elaborate goal celebration, jumping and posing like super heroes, spinning across the room like Angry Birds, or creating patterns and shapes like building blocks in Minecraft, … I hope the choreography I have created will motivate and excite aspiring male dancers to get involved.”
“The $32 billion sports brand has asked him to model for its latest campaign for NikeLab’s all-conditions gear in both still and video ads.”
The most popular segment of the series, transmitted from the company’s residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, drew 211,300 views by itself. “What’s interesting is that this livestream wasn’t what we’re typically used to: It was more of a live dance film happening in real time than an intimate peek in on rehearsal.”
“When your instruments are human beings, is there a limit to how far you should go? Five choreographers open up about where” – and when and why – “they draw the line.” (Elizabeth Streb’s answer is, of course, that she doesn’t.)
“We submitted a 300-page document for the Chinese. That was the second document. The first document, I think, was 100 pages.” What’s in those fat documents? Responses to a seven-page “request for evidence” from USCIS.
“The Australian Ballet has begun sharing the costs of some productions with companies overseas in an attempt to rein in an operating deficit which blew out by $2.5 million in 2016.”
“The nation’s richest performing arts company posted a $4.1 million surplus from its 2016 program of 158 main-stage performances and numerous other activities, with a new production celebrating the life of dancer Nijinsky emerging as the season’s hit.”
In 2014, he was a genuine ballet celebrity, admired enough to become the first American ever invited to become a principal at the Bolshoi Ballet. Then he suffered a complex ankle injury, and a year later, he was ready to give up dancing entirely. (And he was already getting offers to direct companies.) But ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie convinced him not to abandon the stage just yet. Candice Thompson has the story of how Hallberg struggled through a surprisingly difficult recovery, reworked his technique and returned to performing.
“While still in the corps of New York City Ballet, Jason Fowler was drawn to the role of répétiteur. … So it comes as little surprise that 20 years later, Fowler is a primary stager of Christopher Wheeldon’s ballets around the globe.”
Regular ballet slippers are no good for dancers’ feet, and pointe shoes? Forget it. “While they may run, jump, squat, leap and pivot like any NBA star, dancers do it without shock absorption, arch support or any foot-comfort features whatsoever.”
“I often get calls when a spot opens up, but I don’t see myself in that position. I believe myself to not be a director because of the system. Having a male artistic director is a tradition that’s passed down, and it becomes ingrained and it’s like, ‘Oh, fuck off.’ It’s a fake system. It’s hard to break it down unless you talk about it, and I think talking about it will slowly open it up, but even a feminist ballerina like me can still realize that I can be biased at times without knowing it.”
The idea is to teach staffers about both non-verbal communication (with customers and each other) and about gracefully negotiating tight spaces. Says one restaurant choreographer, “I went into it thinking it would be almost like movement coaching, but the amount of dance terminology, spatial composition, effort and tempo decisions left me feeling each experience couldn’t be more of a choreography gig if I tried.”
Unlike some incoming directors, Ms. Kent has not tried to remake the company in her image by quickly replacing large numbers of dancers with her recruits. (S he has not let anyone go, though she has added four dancers.) Ruthlessness is not her style.
“I went silent with shock [on hearing the news]. I have never been the type of person to burst into tears or visibly show my emotions, and my immediate thought was that I didn’t have the right to feel emotional about this. I had just arrived on the scene and had no real history with the man, or his work for that matter.”
“The production, called Within the Quota, criticized restrictive immigration laws that had been passed by Congress [in the 1920s]. … Now, to protest President Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, the Princeton University Ballet is reviving the production.” (includes audio)
Merce Cunningham might be gone, but his work lives through his dancers. “It’s hard to overstate the brilliance of the dancers — Dylan Crossman, Silas Riener, Jamie Scott, Melissa Toogood — who catapult Cunningham’s spirit into the present more than any tangible artifact possibly can. Their movement lives on a precipice, reads like a succession of narrow escapes: almost collapsing, almost colliding. Yet it springs from an unshakeable foundation, from knowing the rules deeply enough to transcend them.”
“One of the 21st century’s greatest choreographers is taking another drink from the fount of classical ballet: Alexei Ratmansky plans to create a new Harlequinade next year for American Ballet Theater, a reconstruction of Marius Petipa’s ballet Les Millions d’Arlequin.”
“Ballet abounds in self-contradictions. It continually shows mere mortals becoming works of ideal geometry, and helps us see music in terms of three-dimensional space. It can turn silliness into enchantment, make myth real, or — even in a work of pure dance — make us feel how the sublime coexists with the comic.”
“Before Terminus Modern Ballet Theater even puts a pointe shoe onto a Marley floor, it is already one of the most prominent dance troupes in Atlanta. First, there’s the star power of their five company dancers — perhaps the most recognizable faces in the Atlanta dance community from their tenures at Atlanta Ballet.”
“It’s an unusual choice for a playwright, especially one prone to having his characters gush torrents of words. Speaking over the phone from London last week, Mr. Walsh said he knew early in the writing of Arlington that the middle segment had to be dance.” Brian Seibert reports.
It’s even in Utah. “A breath of fresh choreographic air is coming to Salt Lake City. Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute has invited companies from across the country to join Ballet West for the first annual National Choreographic Festival, May 19–20 and 26–27. Over the course of two weekends and two different programs, premieres and recently acquired repertory will be performed in the new, state-of-the-art Eccles Theater.”
Benjamin Millepied’s “ambitious vision is redefining what an independent dance company can do: grow into an online dance platform and a lifestyle brand, host a building and performance space, and build an international presence.”
FLEXN, created by opera and theatre director Peter Sellars and flex pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, has grown and changed a lot in the two years since its premiere. Courtney Escoyne talks with Regg Roc about flexing as a dance form and how social justice messages were integrated into the piece.
“Shelby Shellz Suzie Q Felton is a rarity in the flex world: a woman. However, as her name implies, she’s not just one woman, but three, wrapped into a single, articulate body. There is the day-to-day Shelby, who is quiet but given to quick humor. Then there’s Shellz, who ‘is very smooth, very relaxed,’ Ms. Felton said. And Suzie Q? ‘Suzie is more cutthroat.'”
If such sleek, unexamined images of violence against women — this wasn’t the only one in “Odessa,” but to me the most prominent and inexplicable — weren’t so pervasive in contemporary ballet, I might have felt differently. But they are, and I’ve seen enough.