“Since retiring from the Royal Ballet and founding Acosta Danza in 2015 with the aim of fusing classic and contemporary ballet, the 44-year-old artist has brought the work of many renowned foreign choreographers like American Justin Peck to his Caribbean island. Some have created new pieces for the company.”
“My entire career, I stood out too much to fit in. And that whole time, I was the one who couldn’t accept that short, fat and bald could be the next best thing on the block. I had to change how I saw myself. All of my accomplishments were not in spite of my short, fat, bald body, but because of it.”
Kurt Froman trained Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman for Black Swan, and more recently he’s been training Jennifer Lawrence for the upcoming Red Sparrow. “One of the biggest things, I think, for a non-dancer is just understanding dancers hold their arms from their backs. … When I was working with Jen, as well as with Mila and Natalie, getting them used to holding their backs that way and understanding that their arms are an extension of their backs, that’s the first thing that I need to instill in them and I have to remind them of that the entire time.”
By all outward appearances, she had a successful start, quickly putting her own stamp on the company. End-of-the-year wrap-ups in The Dallas Morning News and other local performing arts publications cited Bridget Moore’s contributions to the local dance scene as among the most important in 2017.
The negotiations have been tense, and the vote came as the ABT dancers and stage managers have been without a contract since July of last year. “Noting the long hours and hard work put in by the members of the company, [a union representative] said in a statement that they ‘all deserve to be able to retire from dance with dignity and respect and payments better reflecting what they have given to the company throughout the years.'”
Andy Blankenbuehler, Sergio Trujillo, Josh Rhodes, and Christopher Gattelli all performed in the 1999 show assembled from the late Bob Fosse’s choreography. “[They] didn’t appropriate the distinctive Fosse style. But it’s more than happenstance that the show produced this bumper crop of choreographers. Ask them why, and they make the school analogy.”
“[Raven] Wilkinson, now 82, risked death and arrest by touring with the [Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo] in the South during a period when it was illegal for black and white dancers to share a stage. Though circumstances have changed in the years since then, the saga of what she went through is still relevant to today’s dancers, says Copeland.”
For instance, time to radically reimagine the ballerina and her agency: “That would begin with addressing the various stages of female puberty instead ignoring it. Her blossoming womanhood would not be treated as plague. Instead, ballet would develop a system of support for girls during a time when their bodies seem to be rebelling against them and their susceptibility to eating disorders and chronic body image issues is at its peak. The ballerina could have breasts, hips and muscles and look as strong as she indeed is. She could be different shapes, sizes and shades as well.”
Roman Baca, who trained in ballet before deploying to Fallujah, has founded Exit12 Dance Company, “a small troupe with a goal of inspiring conversations about the lasting effects of violence and conflict. Through Exit12, he began to get involved in art and healing for military veterans.” (includes video)
“Neuroscientist Agnieszka Burzynska … and her team looked at 40 female college students: half highly trained in modern dance, and half non-dancers. They had the subjects do various tasks – from watching dance videos to remembering the location of dots on a screen – and used scanners to look at their brain structure and activity. Here’s what they found.”
Former NYCB corps member Sophie Flack: “I have known some of you for a long time, so I’m telling you this as a friend: by posting on social media your sadness for Peter’s downfall, you are siding with an abuser. You are discrediting the men and women who’ve come forward, an extraordinarily difficult thing to do outside the ballet world, and career suicide when it’s done while still ‘inside.’ Even if you were to discredit each and every allegation, Peter’s documented crimes are inarguable, and would be fireable offences in any other setting.”
Chase Johnsey “says that he no longer believes the company” – the travesti troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – “stands for openness and gender freedom. He claims that he and other dancers have been mistreated, sexually harassed and discriminated against for appearing too feminine in classes and rehearsals, adding, ‘We’re being bullied for expressing our femininity and we’re being given ultimatums just because we don’t live up to some masculine idea of what a gay man is.” (includes video)
And the kind of “society” we’re talking about here is the kind you can see in Degas paintings: Wealthy older gentlemen wanted to buy attention and “love.” The Paris Opera Ballet was the prime example. “Throughout the 19th century, it raised the bar for dance — but on the backs of many exploited young women.”
Arthur Mitchell “was inspired to form Dance Theater after the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But before that, Mr. Mitchell broke the color wall in ballet by becoming the first African-American principal dancer at New York City Ballet.” He has always “been driven by the belief that dance can effect social change.”
“L.A. Dance Project recently launched the subscription-based ladanceworkout.com, offering streaming workout videos led by company members. Groups of all sizes and even some individual dancers have launched merchandise lines bearing their logos. And, of course, there’s the perpetually innovative Pilobolus, which has been in the creative-revenue game for years, with books, advertisements, corporate appearances and more.”
“Today, choreography once considered sacred and only transferred person-to-person is now self-taught, edited and remixed in bedrooms and basements, across the U.S. and beyond. No aspect of the dance industry, however commercial or ‘purely artistic,’ remains untouched by the explosion of video around the internet over the past decade. It’s made a profound impact on everything from how students learn to what audiences want, when choreographers succeed and which artists win support from donors, funders and presenters.”
Kelly Cass Boal, who was one of the first to publicly accuse Martins of physical violence, describes her interview with the lawyer leading the inquiry as more like a cross-examination than a fact-finding effort: “I felt she was uninterested in the facts, and was just trying to mess up the timeline. She asked me, ‘Why weren’t you watching the performance when he grabbed you?’ … She was trying to spin it that I wasn’t being punished.” Another dancer says the same attorney refused to allow her to record her interview or bring a witness.
“The former Pacific Northwest Ballet star and concurrent director of Grand Rapids Ballet took over RNZB last June, and although the most troubling aspects of what has been reported, such as accusations of abusive behavior and other workplace grievances, pre-date her appointment, some complaints have been directed at her.” Steve Sucato gets her side of the story.
“Until accusations of sexual harassment and brutish behavior led to his retirement Monday, … Peter Martins reigned with impunity for nearly 30 years despite reports of inappropriate behavior and complaints about his leadership, according to several current and former company executives and dancers.”
George Balanchine set up a uniquely concentrated model of artistic leadership at his company: he choreographed, taught, coached roles, and controlled artistic policy. Peter Martins continued that model (even if he ultimately delegated choreographing duties after his own efforts fell flat). Now that Martins has resigned, Alastair Macaulay wonders if it’s time to change that model and split Martins’s job.
“The dance world tends to compartmentalize itself: There is uptown dance (code word for ballet) or downtown dance (the more experimental variety). I follow both and everything in between. What am I looking for in terms of any kind of performance? Imagination. To see how a choreographer thinks, how a dancer responds and how the art of theater creates an atmosphere.”
“Sure, New York City is home to lots of dance troupes, but if you’re a dance fan these two groups may not even be on your radar. Don’t be a snob. The Brooklynettes and the Knicks City Dancers perform intricate choreography during the breaks between quarters of pro-basketball games, in arenas with 360-degree views. And they are not messing around.”