“Dressed in skirts decorated with coins and shimmering tassels, male belly dancers are back in vogue, jerking their hips and trembling their abs to hypnotic Turkish rhythms. Known as zennes, the performers were once a mainstay at the courts of Ottoman sultans, but they have been largely out of sight for decades. Their renewed popularity comes amid a broader revival of Ottoman-era culture that has spread to television, fashion and politics.” (includes video)
“Balanchine knew how quickly his ballerinas could lose details he taught. He used to tell them, ‘If I go away for a weekend, and I come back, I see the difference. If I’m away for two weeks, other people start to see it. If I’m away for a month, everybody sees it.’
“‘And so – it’s been more than 30 years,” Ashley said.”
“Ballet officials quietly began a fundraising drive in January and have thus far tallied half a million dollars. Now they must match that figure to keep the company afloat. Company officials also estimate they will need to have raised $3.5 million by October to be able to fully reinvent the company’s business model and ensure its long-term stability.”
“You might think of Silicon Valley as awash in youthful exuberance and money, enough to keep a medium-size ballet company afloat. Indeed, the challenge of getting young techies excited about works by Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine was what lured Jose Manuel Carreno, 46, to San Jose.”
When the Bourbon Street burlesque club Lucky Pierre’s dismissed performer Ruby Rage – over the objections of the show’s producer – “word spread quickly and social media did what it does best, dumping voluminous righteous outrage on every conceivable target: the club, its owners, its employees, [producer] Bella Blue, the traditions of burlesque itself.”
“I think the thing that’s changed the most over the years is that it just becomes more and more and more difficult to sustain organizations and to sustain the art itself. The funding climate has changed over the years: it’s much more difficult and much more competitive. And the nature of the audience has changed as well. There is just so much more competition for people’s time especially with what’s available online, in new media, and on demand.”
“[Dance education] should not have a cost or price. … When you put a price on [access], then you divide into two camps those who can and those who cannot. In the camp of those who cannot I bet there is a lot of talent there, a lot of Nureyev … I think we should demand at the highest level that these things should happen. It is a fight to take to the government.”
“How miraculous that amid all that suffocating tulle, a ballet flame-thrower named Leonid Yakobson emerged. … Dancers hungry for a challenge loved the odd body shapes, sexiness and wit of his choreography. Among his disciples were the young Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov” as well as Maya Plisetskaya. Even Richard Nixon was a fan.
“She was, and is, longer than most. More angular. Like calligraphy, critics said. And that’s just the start. They go crazy for her work ethic. Her astounding strength. Her rapturous, incandescent spirituality. So have choreographers. … Last fall, at 47, Whelan left the New York City Ballet. But she’s still dancing.” (audio; includes video clips)
Judith Mackrell: “A couple of months ago I asked whether choreographers need editors and whether dance, like literature, might benefit from having some kind of inbuilt system of feedback, comment and control. It became clear that this was a question that others were asking. And a few weeks later, it was taken up by Rambert in their offer of a public debate.”
Two years ago, the Teatro del Maggio Musicale, facing the same cash crises that afflict most Italian opera houses these days, announced that it could no longer afford to maintain its ballet company, called MaggioDanza. Supporters put together a private entity intended to maintain the troupe at the theater. It didn’t work (and they’re all suing each other), so MaggioDanza will close after all. (in Italian)
“There are so many talented female choreographers out there, but they’re much less quick than men to accept work. Some of the women I approached had little children and decided it was too much to deal with. Some felt they were not ready for a big London commission. … There’s no shortage of men who want to experiment and put themselves forward, but we have to go out to find the women.”
“Since founding her practice in 2008, Rodriguez has become the go-to physical therapist for much of the ballet world’s elite talent, treating marquee dancers like Benjamin Millepied and Wendy Whelan, as well as members of companies including the New York City Ballet, the Alvin Ailey school and France’s Paris Opera Ballet.”
The 33-year-old Quebecker is a principal and the National Ballet of Canada and arguably the nation’s biggest male ballet star. He also makes high-profile guest appearances, composes and performs music, runs a summer arts festival in the countryside north of Montreal, and is choreographing a full-length ballet based on one of the most beloved works in all of French literature (Le Petit Prince). And he’s a dad.