It was a decade that saw the loss of major dance figures. But it was also a decade in which dance renewed and reinvented itself…
“I never associated myself with that troupe, which has its own, clearly expressed characteristic, its own style. I didn’t think of experimenting with that repertoire. I thought that I would never dance English ballets, that they don’t suit me! But two years ago Kevin O’Hara, the director of the Royal Ballet, invited me to dance Swan Lake.”
“The importance of the center – a project spearheaded by DanceCleveland and funded by a five-year, $5 million pledge from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – is difficult to convey, given that it’s essentially an abstraction. Even when it’s fully up and running, the center, a standalone nonprofit, will basically amount to a network, a collection of diverse regional resources for choreographers to access as they conceive and create new dance.”
“I didn’t know if another black woman would be coming behind me and be given the same opportunities… That’s why I danced through a severe injury with ‘Firebird’ because I felt, had I not done that role and not done a really good job, that I would be given the opportunity again,” she said, recalling her brutal performance in which she danced the title role while enduring a nearly career-ending foot injury in the Stravinsky ballet from which she titled her children’s book.
“Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a disgruntled dancer, will lose his job when his contract expires next spring. Bolshoi Theatre chief Vladimir Urin announced yesterday in Moscow that he is abolishing Filin’s position and replacing it with a more management-focused director, indicating that artistic decision-making is to be taken ‘jointly’ with the theatre directorate.”
“[Charles] Pregger, a ballet teacher, said Farm to Ballet was born after he led outdoor classes at Oakledge Park in Burlington. He saw that alfresco ballet was possible and joked that he’d like to do something like a flash-mob-styled performance halfway up Mount Philo. That lighthearted thought became a more meaningful and concrete plan to bring dance to Vermont farms.”
“Forced into ballet as a child in Mao’s China, Li Cunxin defected to the US and had to work as a stockbroker to support his family back home. But he never quit dancing. As he brings the Queensland Ballet to Britain, he talks about his traumas and triumphs – and shock at seeing people take their privileged lives for granted.”
“More than half of professional dancers [in Britain] earn less than £5,000 a year from their performance work, according to a new survey. The statistics also show that around 50% of dancers’ jobs pay less than the minimum wage, and that 70% of dancers have performed in ‘unsuitable work environments’ in the past 12 months.”
“After Ms. Homans’s book was published, her assessment burned through the industry, sparking arguments and some resentment. It also caught the attention of the Mellon Foundation, which began a series of conversations with Ms. Homans about what could be done to change things. The idea of actively drawing in new thinkers won because ballet, in its very nature, can be cloistered.”
“A pole, like most props on a dance stage, doesn’t mean much on its own. It stands ready and waiting for the bounds of a choreographer’s imagination, a means to provide a vertical space and fresh vocabulary for a story spelled out in movements. In this capacity, pole dance as an abstract art form is taking shape, growing in a starkly contrasting direction from its place in strip clubs and competitions.”
“Cuban dancers and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, founded by Alicia Alonso, are known all over the world. … Here & Now’‘s Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with José Manuel Carreño, a Cuban-born former principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater, who is now artistic director of Silicon Valley Ballet.” (audio)
“It’s an exciting time for the art form, with new works and artists emerging: there is plenty to look forward to. It’s very different to the sense of gloom I remember when I started watching in the Nineties.” Zoë Anderson has a theory about why ballet was in a funk 20 years ago (like so much else in the world, it’s about the ’60s) and why things seem so much more promising today.
“Why is [Misty Copeland’s] breakthrough possible now, and what does this civil rights triumph mean for the future of ballet’s performers and its audience? Copeland and … Raven Wilkinson and Carmen de Lavallade joined us live on stage for a conversation on July 17, moderated by writer and producer Susan Fales-Hill.” (video)
“The restless Christensens couldn’t seem to stay put. Which turned out to be providential for American ballet, especially on the West Coast. Willam brought ballet to Portland, Oregon, and later established the formidable Salt Lake City company that would be known as Ballet West. In between, there was San Francisco, where he and Harold spun off the ballet troupe from the opera company.”
“The Rural Touring Dance Initiative, a three-year project, has been launched by the National Rural Touring Forum and seeks to address an under-representation of dance in rural areas. A report by Arts Council England in March found just 2% of national portfolio dance companies toured to rural regions in 2012 and 2013.”