“It isn’t uncommon for dancers to generate gigs outside of their main company’s season: Ballet Theatre dancers work on a 36-week contract, leaving 16 unpaid weeks when it is easy to fall out of shape.”
“How these dancers are cast is not always based on merit. It’s about who you are loyal to and who you butter up, and who patronises you. That’s the legacy of a communist past. … I asked [Bolshoi Theater chief Vladimir Urin] once if he believed in democracy and he just laughed at me, which is a sort of communist disposition. People of his generation are quite, shall we say ambivalent about democratic principles.”
After The Apple Tree in 2006, “it was all upward – 2007’s In the Heights, for which he won a Tony; 2009’s 9 to 5; 2012’s Bring It On: The Musical (in which he debuted as a director), as well as the heralded revival of Annie that same year. And now there’s Hamilton.”
“Academics from the University of Roehampton have found that ballet can have significant physical and emotional benefits for patients.”
“What’s certain is that ballet is changing. Little girls also now dream of playing football and fighting fires and little boys can now dance the lead in Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. And just in time, as far as Bussell is concerned.”
“The crowd of about 200 huddled in the parking lot of San Pedro City Ballet, ensconced in fog and drizzle. Restless and excited, they might have been awaiting the arrival of a rock legend. … Neighbors crouched on the roof of a small bungalow next door to get a glimpse of the action. When at last a gray SUV rolled up, smartphones and tablets shot into the air and the chanting began: ‘Misty, Misty, Misty.'”
Five of the pros involved in Dance Machine, the company dedicated to preserving the choreography of great Broadway musicals, make their predictions – and one or two names keep coming up.
“As a Christmas gift to its patrons, the archive at Jacob’s Pillow has sent out this wonderfully vivid clip of Alexandra Danilova in the [Lev] Ivanov Sugarplum solo. … It’s worth comparing Danilova’s performances with that of her great friend Alicia Markova … who danced the Sugarplum in the first complete Western production of The Nutcracker (1934) and continued in the role well into the 1950s.”
“The world of the theatre is cruel,” the ballet master Boris Akimov says at one point, with a fatalistic shrug. Akimov has spent his entire career at the Bolshoi since joining the corps de ballet, in 1965; for a couple of years in the early two-thousands, he even directed the company. He has seen it all: the dashed ambitions and bitterness, as well as the fleeting triumphs.
“This year we gave our readers the power to weigh in on the most memorable dance moments of the year. You nominated performances you loved, voted on the top five and selected a diverse group of artists and productions that span the country. Here’s what you chose as your favorites.”
“‘When shows close, the book remains, the score remains, but there’s really no notation for choreography,’ said Nikki Feirt Atkins, the producing artistic director of Dance Machine, which is committed to passing on musical-theater dances from one performer to the next. She gestured toward Ms. de Lappe, who was showing some young men how to rein in their imaginary horses. ‘This is the living mission statement of the company.'”
“When you go up Argyle Street and there’s that big arch, you feel like you’re taking a step back in time. There’s a real sense of history there. I like when you’re off the tourist path and there are these beautiful old terrace houses.”
“In Russian ballet, there are no easy people. We’re all difficult characters. Some are more intelligent and some are less intelligent, but you don’t have any people in Russian ballet who are angelic with easy characters. We live in a difficult country; we work in a difficult theater; we depend only on ourselves.”
“It’s not just relatively advanced techniques like pointe work that can cause problems, the academy warns – but forcing ‘turnout’, where dancers splay out their feet and open their hips, can also cause damage.”
“The world of the theatre is cruel. It looks beautiful from the outside, but underneath everything is boiling.”
So the Winter Olympics have convinced you of skating’s potential, but Disney on Ice just isn’t for you? For his company Imperial Ice Stars, producer Tony Mercer takes skilled Russian champions, trains them in character acting and mime, and staged skated adaptations of classic ballets; Canada’s Le Patin Libre takes the contemporary dance approach, exploring shape, flow and composition in non-narrative works.
“Almost as artistically as the two dancers themselves, the drones hover up and down, left and right, to cover up the private parts of the human performers with thin sheets of white paper. A complex performance between man and machine unfolds, and one cannot help but admire the perfect timing and placement of the little artificial dancers.” (video)
Alastair Macaulay: “Ballet exudes tradition, is surrounded by conservatism and still depends on a small core repertory of 19th-century classics. This century, though, it’s been showing multiple signs of changing its character. … What’s become evident, especially this year, is the new propensity shown by diverse choreographers to give equal weight to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”
Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Wayne McGregor, and Liam Scarlett. “All five men are wonderfully accomplished choreographers. … But are companies oversaturating the market with these [brand names], and making ballet too safe?”
Mark Monahan: “Look back over the new and recent work that the Royal Ballet performed at Covent Garden in 2015, and it is hard to feel much festive cheer.”
“‘Try it. Just try it,’ he said. ‘I thought I would never like it, but I’d venture a guess it’s even harder than football. With football, there’s a limit to what you can do. But when you’re dancing, you really have no limit. Because you can get better and better and better.'”
“‘I said to him, ‘You see these two men, French police, you have to go to them,’ ‘ says Ms Saint in a program to be aired by the BBC. ‘It’s like in a ballet. He jumped. The French policemen took him, and then there was a fight between one of the policemen and one of the bodyguards. The French policeman said to the Russian: ‘Don’t touch me’, screaming ‘Vous etes en France ici.’ ‘”
“Though it is rare for dancers to perform into their 40s, Ms. Boykin said, ‘We’re not dancing late, we’re dancing just right.'”
“The State Street Ballet, from Santa Barbara, California, was traveling from Spokane, Washington to Durango for their performance of The Nutcracker when they found themselves with a five-hour layover with nothing to do.” When they posted the video on Facebook, it got 1.8 million views in under an hour.”
“I was told by the director of the Royal Ballet School that they are getting more applications for boys than they are for girls – it’s amazing!”
Sarah Hay, whose regular gig is with the ballet at the Semperoper Dresden, says that when she was studying in New York, “I had a lot of controversy about my figure.” One teacher even pulled her offstage, told her, “Your breasts are distracting me,” and gave her a sports bra to put on.
The 45-year-old company “announced Wednesday that Eduardo Vilaro, its artistic director since 2009, would become its chief executive officer as well. … [He] has experience running both the artistic and managerial sides of a company: he served in both roles for the Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago, which he founded in 1999.”
Louise Lecavalier, longtime member of La La La Human Steps: “A choreographer once told me, we all have our tricks in our pockets. I thought: I have nothing in my pockets. … But then I worked with Benoît Lachambre, who encouraged me to create choreography. He would arrive at the studio and find me already dancing my guts out, and helped me feel that movement was pouring out of me, and I didn’t need anyone to tell me what to do.”
“Redesigning the dance major is an example of how Mills can retain a contemporary liberal arts education in a competitive environment that demands continuous innovation,” President Alecia DeCoudreaux said.
“[Ellen Robbins] has been teaching modern dance to children as young as 5 since the 1970s. She has a knack for tapping into the creativity of her students while painlessly introducing the rudiments of music theory and compositional structure … Even the 5-year-olds are given a chance to make up their own dances. By the time they are teenagers, they’re composing multipart group works.”