Seven such humanoid robots, of the model NAO, are the stars of “ROBOT,” a dance-theater work by the Spanish-born choreographer Blanca Li that had its American debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House on Tuesday. There are also eight human dancers, but the 90-minute production perks up when the robots arrive, and it sags whenever they’re absent.
“I was still amazed at the high standard of dancers. Every company has its own strengths and atmosphere but the RNZB is very strong. The dancers are hungry to learn, they are looking for coaching, they want to be the best they can. I always tell dancers that to be good you have to put your heart in your legs, that you can’t dance without heart, and that’s what I’ve found here.”
“Yes, the musicians have to keep an underlying dance pulse going if they want listeners to get out of their chairs and shake their hips. But the venue also has to provide an open space where that can happen without blocking the view of others. And the audience has to be able to identify the beat within a jazz number that has a lot of different moving parts. In New Orleans, audiences are trained by family and friends to hear that dance pulse from an early age.”
“His new ballet, Woolf Works, which is derived from, or based on – the verbs being precisely the problem – three novels by Virginia Woolf, recently premiered at Covent Garden in London. It is a brilliant, uneven, tender piece – and it offers one way of thinking about [a] constant conundrum for the art of ballet:” that, as George Balanchine put it, “We can’t dance synonyms.”
In the twentieth century there was a strong anti-narrative trend in some quarters of the ballet world: storytelling was seen as corny. Consequently, a great deal of the mime, or hand-talk, in the nineteenth-century ballets was dropped. According to Alexei Ratmansky, this was definitely the case with “The Sleeping Beauty.” In the movement score he found much more mime than we see in today’s productions, and he says he restored every scrap of it.
“Queerness specifically in ballet is a funny thing; ballet does have a history of having a lot of gay men perform it, and you can read into certain ballets’ narratives about gay men. There’s a lot of coding there. So it’s not like there hasn’t been any queerness in ballet, but related to the representation of women, I don’t think there has been.”
“Despised as pests and preyed on by thugs, rapists, pimps and murderers,for tens of thousands of abandoned orphans and abused runaways life on the streets in the Philippine capital region is unspeakable misery. … In recent years, [a few lucky street boys have] undergone a complete transformation, thanks to an opportunity to join ballet classes at the Academy One Music and Dance Centre.”
Former Australian Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Marina Gielgud explains how much of the job is coaching and how much is teaching steps, the preparation she has to do for a job, the challenges of remounting another choreographer’s work, and how she handles a star dancer who wants to do the steps his way.
“Then there are the ornate headpieces and floppy, wide-brimmed hats. Everyone wears a wig. … There are 210 of them, three times as many as in any other Ballet Theater production, the head of the wig department, Rena Most, said. The Queen’s perruque towers above her like a sheaf of wheat, augmented further by a spray of giant feathers.”
Eifman is unwavering in his belief in dance as theater and spectacle and not shy about expressing his disdain of most prevailing contemporary approaches to choreography. “There is one problem in the modern arts scene, that many younger choreographers are really creating some movements just to the music. For me, ballet theater is not just about movement and music. It’s about something more; it’s about theater.”
“Bone-breakers are known for dislocating their shoulders to create fluid movements that are spectacular to watch — but also might make you a bit squeamish. Instagram users are loving it, though. Dancers have uploaded more than 7,000 posts under the hashtag #bonebreaking, with 4,000 more under #bonebreak.”
Pittsburgh is helping to pen a new chapter to this “A Chorus Line”-esque experience that’s colored many dancers’ early careers. Rather than fleeing here after school for the likes of Manhattan or Los Angeles to find a gig, lots of aspiring artists are choosing to stay and start their own dance groups or collaborate with some of Pittsburgh’s already established ones.
“English National Ballet (ENB) is to move to a new “state of the art” home in east London, its artistic director Tamara Rojo has announced. The company will share the building – on the new London City Island development, close to the Canning Town railway interchange – with the English National Ballet School.”