“Unfortunately, I [now] understand that our country is not ready for what Johan [Kobborg] and I have offered these two years … We hoped that what were doing was a break from the circle of malice and destruction in which our country finds itself. … But it seems I was wrong. Few are willing to see and accept that there are people like Johan who aren’t self-interested – quite the contrary.” (in Romanian; Google Translate version here)
Lesley Stahl does a 13-minute segment on the star choreographer. (video plus transcript)
Tuesday evening, after Johan Kobborg formally resigned as artistic director of the ballet company at the Bucharest National Opera, about 30 dancers (many of them from abroad) joined Alina Cojocaru – the country’s leading ballerina and Kobborg’s fiancée – to protest the situation; all of them agreed that they would not stay with the company if Kobborg were not brought back. Meanwhile, some other opera house employees counter-demonstrated, booing the dancers and shouting, “Foreigners out of the country! This is the Romanian National Opera!” (in Romanian; Google Translate version here)
“Administrative tumult, a prominent snub on the Bucharest National Opera’s website and questions over artistic direction have cost the Romanian national ballet company its two biggest stars: Johan Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru.” Michael Cooper gives an English-language recap of the situation as of Tuesday morning.
The “Barbs” is a certifiable hit in the Middle East. A fun mix of hip-hop and early 1980s-style break dancing melded with Arabic rhythms, the routine is performed by a bunch of young Saudis, including one wearing a dark suit and bright red high-top sneakers. Their video has gone viral.
Last week, the interim director of the Bucharest National Opera who stripped Kobborg of his artistic director title was quickly replaced, and Romania’s culture minister worked out a deal with Kobborg to stay on, with title. But things haven’t exactly worked out.
“Dancers are like a special species, … and the company is a place that ties their destiny together in a very intense way.”
“Several dancers noted that under Ms. Lopez’s direction, the company is starting to feel more connected to the culture of Miami, rather than like an outpost of New York City Ballet. This is also reflected in its roster, which includes a higher-than-average number of Latin Americans, including a large contingent from Brazil.”
“Last year, for example, he commissioned Shepard Fairey – of Obama-Hope poster fame – to design the set for his Miami City ballet, Heatscape, and collaborated with Opening Ceremony for their New York Fashion Week show.”
“The company features dancers from all over the world who have had varying entry points into the Graham organization. Yet each was pulled in by the force of Graham, who died in 1991 at 96, and by her technique, which is rooted in the breath; movement is initiated in the pelvis and concentrates on the oppositional force of contraction and release.”
The project Men & Girls Dance “is exactly what its title suggests: adult male performers dancing with young girls. That relationship, though, has been tainted in recent years. Put the words ‘men’ and ‘girls’ in the same sentence and it’s likely to call to mind suspicions of abuse. This is what Fevered Sleep is hoping to challenge.”
“[Choreographer Meg] Foley and three collaborators committed to creating an improvised dance at precisely 3:15 p.m. each day for six months, and documenting the results in writing, photos, or video. … Members of the public also are urged to do their own 3:15 dances – and document, upload, and hashtag them as part of the project.”
“It is some people’s favourite movie but the stage version was one of the biggest disasters in Broadway history. So the choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne admitted he was taking a risk as he announced his next production.”
Muir thus becomes the third woman in her 40s to be named director of a ballet company in the last two months. (Aurélie Dupont will take over Paris Opera Ballet, and Julie Kent will lead Washington Ballet.)
In his two years at the helm of Romania’s national ballet company, Kobborg is universally acknowledged to have raised standards and reinvigorated the troupe. But this week, one day after a new interim director took over the Bucharest National Opera, Kobborg found his name missing from the ballet’s artistic director slot and listed instead among the corps. The new boss says it’s a misunderstanding: he wants Kobborg to stay, but there’s not supposed to be a “ballet artistic director” post at the house at all. The dancers are saying that if Kobborg goes, they go. (in Romanian; Google Translate version here)
Antonina Chapkina was walking on the street near Milan’s central train station when a streetcar struck her; though her head hit the pavement hard, her body did not fall under the vehicle.
The former ABT star “has announced his decision to take ‘a temporary break as artistic director’ of the National Ballet of Uruguay, a post he has held since 2010.”
“Even vague critiques can lead to breakthroughs.”
“‘When you rocks are split up by the erosion, don’t look at each other like you’re anticipating it,’ she tells the company. ‘It’s about the awareness two tectonics plates would have.'”
“‘The dancers here love the work so much,’ said Lloyd Mayor, a member of the company. ‘It’s just like a beautiful precious crystal that we will keep polishing.'”
Godoy said jokingly that the president asked her repeatedly during the dance “When does this end?” but relaxed when he saw his wife enjoying herself as she simultaneously tangoed with Godoy’s partner. “When he saw Michelle, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll keep going.’”
“The unlikely new position means that the 41-year-old choreographer from New York has been tapped to create new works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (the Harris’ company in residence), Miami City Ballet and [his own company]. Additional companies will be announced at a later date.”
“There are some interesting changes afoot within the Morris community as the tradition has adapted to remain relevant in modern times. Among those changes: the inclusion of women, the adoption of Steampunk aesthetics, and the blasting of Guns ‘n’ Roses.”
After a few months of “dancing” in a close embrace, Gabriella Condrea started to slowly pull away from Tho Nguyen so he could stand for a little while on his own, his posture primed and his confidence up. It took just over a year, but one day when Condrea pulled away, Nguyen looked at her and said, “Watch this,” then took three steps without support. It was the first time he had done so in 20 years.
“The new job’s best perk: weekends. She and [husband Victor] Barbee will work Monday through Friday for the first time in their professional lives. (ABT’s workweek is Tuesday-Saturday, meaning Sunday is the only day the family has together.) Their workdays will end at 6 p.m., rather than at 7 with ABT. The two [currently] travel separately some 10 weeks of the year – she to audition students, he to accompany ABT on tour – meaning more splintering of the family.”
“The word ‘Ballez’ was born, initially as a joke. We thought, ‘What could be more ridiculous than downtown, queer dancers expressing their values in a ballet?'”
“Scarlatti felt overshadowed by his composer father Alessandro and so left Italy to accept a position in what at that time must have seemed the far-flung and distant country of Portugal.”
“Lately, the world of ballet has been scrutinized and criticized for two things: its lack of diversity and the paucity of female choreographers. Dance Theater of Harlem has the first one covered. This season, it will do something about the second.”
“New York City Ballet announced Thursday that it would focus on new and recent works next season, with a spring festival dedicated to dances it has commissioned in recent decades, world premieres by Alexei Ratmansky and Justin Peck, and, after a notable absence of new works by women in recent seasons, premieres by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Lauren Lovette.”
Choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and theatre director Nancy Meckler talk about creating She Said, a piece about Kahlo that Tamara Rojo commissioned for English National Ballet. (Rojo had not, at first, expected to take the title role.)