Gia Kourlas: “Fred Astaire, as the famous saying goes, may have been a great dancer, but Ginger Rogers did everything he did – only backward and in high heels. At least she had gravity on her side. Synchronized swimmers often perform upside-down and without air.”
“[Pedro Pablo Peña] came to Miami in 1980 on the Mariel Boatlift. … Over the years, he has gained a reputation for running a safe haven for Cuban dancers when they touch down in America. ‘They are able to continue their career in the United States. I offer to help with everything.’ Peña gives them a spot in his Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami or helps them contract with other companies. He also provides housing and a surrogate family for those with no local relatives.”
Specialists in four genres – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Mohiniattam – offer demonstrations of their art. (videos)
“‘It was a very easy decision,’ [Andrew] Daly said, surprising even himself, as he’d expected to dance for another 10 years. ‘I knew that if I stayed another year that I would’ve been emotionally completely destroyed.'”
“The pair reportedly had been fighting in their apartment in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. After the fight, Bellamy reportedly contacted a neighbor, who called police. Bellamy was waiting for them and surrendered peacefully.”
“I’m venturing to bet if there was a Lip Sync Battle between [Britney Spears] and a Broadway dancer, the Broadway dancer would kick her ass.”
“There’s not a single game made with ballet dancers in the past so many years — why is that? … How many other ideas haven’t been used?”
“Every dancer knows, soon enough, that standing still is remarkably more tiring, and painful, than moving. The blood pools in your feet and lower legs, which swell and throb. And when you are in the corps de ballet and learning new choreography, you spend much more time standing in the back of a studio than you do dancing. The cursed burden of being an understudy.”
“This is my last column as The Spectator‘s dance spectator. It’s been the deepest pleasure to wander on your behalf around the fertile landscape of dance, but I’m off to Oxford University to do some research. Thank you for bearing with my thoughts and I hope you bought a few tickets as a result.”
Michal Staniszewski, director of the studio which created Bound: “The character we had, with her mindset, she has these kind of emotions in her. I realized we should use dancing. … There’s not a single game made with ballet dancers in the past so many years – why is that? How many other ideas haven’t been used?”
“On a hilltop overlooking the sprawling Complexo de Alemão favela, girls fill an old basketball court in Rio de Janeiro. Wearing pink leotards, pink tights and pink shoes, they stand with their hands on their hips as they learn proper passé technique. The girls practice ballet on a basketball court because in their favela, considered one of the most dangerous in the city, there is no other place for them to go.”
How do you ask dancers who are working for free to really push themselves and show up day after day? Broadway dancers are at the top of their field. Who at the top of their field works for free?
“Enrollment at the company’s school has surged since it moved into the custom-built space in 2005. That has created bottlenecks and scheduling conflicts at the building … The plan would add more than 10,000 square feet – including four new studios and classroom space – to [Ailey’s] home base at Ninth Avenue and West 55th Street” in Manhattan.
When a Twin Cities ballet company found itself in new space next door to a boxing gym, the dancers and fighters left their stereotypes and squeamishness behind, and each side learned the other’s disciplines could add to its own skills. (includes video)
“Rounding out the top five of the most physically active jobs in American are fitness trainers and aerobics instructors at No. 2, structural iron and steel workers at No. 3, reinforcing iron and rebar workers at No. 4, and forest firefighters at No. 5. Those four occupations look to be the toughest on earth, yet dancers beat them out.”
“The good news is that $60,000 worth of Minnesota Ballet costumes haven’t been damaged as much as expected. The bad news is that the ballet remains out of a practice studio for the time being and needs a place to more closely examine its hundreds of costumes that were trapped under rubble for three weeks after Duluth’s July 21 windstorm.”
“Ms Havelka made headlines in 2012 when she was invited to join the prestigious ballet, but behind the curtain, she had a difficult journey to the stage.”
“When he was in fifth grade, his mom signed him up for what she thought was a summer reading program. It actually turned out to be a hip-hop dance program. He decided to stay and he got hooked.”
Sergei Danilian is nothing if not determined. He has long supported the work of Mr. Eifman, an expressive Russian choreographer who inspires strong feelings in audiences, love or hate and little in between. While Mr. Danilian’s taste can be questionable — recent iterations of “Kings,” which felt cheaply commercial, as well as many appearances by Mr. Eifman — he is driven by a love of dance.
Carrie Seidman talks with Anthony Russell-Roberts, Ashton’s nephew and the inheritor of the rights to his works, about preserving and reviving his dances, what Ashton loved about New York, and how Sarasota, Florida became the modern-day standard-bearer for Ashton’s choreography.
The subjects of this Sadler’s Wells project, whose episodes are being posted online weekly through 2016, “range from the 29-year-old dance-maker Alexandrina Hemsley to the 91-year-old choreographer Robert Cohan, and from performance artist Hetain Patel to Royal Ballet principal Zenaida Yanowsky.”
“In an era when dance has exploded thanks to social media, [Tricia] Miranda wanted to share her dance moves, unfiltered, with the rest of the world. So in 2014, she hired a videographer to tape her dance studio in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, with students performing her signature moves.” Her first video racked up 27 million views, a later one 41 million, and her YouTube channel now has a million subscribers.
“A Vermont ballet group brings whimsical performances outside to farms around the state. The Farm to Ballet Project raises money for agriculture while widening the audience for classical ballet.” (video)
“Alberta Ballet will be asking supporters across the province to each donate $50 to the organization over the next seven months to help weather financial hardships the company has suffered over the last few years. It’s part of a $1-million fundraising campaign launched on its 50th anniversary to help put the organization, the second-largest ballet company in Canada, on steadier ground financially after revenue fell drastically in its 2013-2014 season.”
Deborah Colker: “I wanted everything to bleed together. Like here in Brazil, where everyone is surviving and sharing together. Samba, funk – a style specific to Rio, born in Rio – and passinho, which combines breakdance and hip-hop, and maracatu, from northern Brazil. I mixed all of this.”
“The picture of two ballet dancers soaring across a simulated lunar crater comes from the set of Destination Moon, a 1950 space adventure film. But the dance is not in the film. The context of the photograph is unknown, and the identity of the dancers a mystery — one that William Higgins, a radiation safety physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, has been trying to solve since he first stumbled across the photo seven years ago.”
“Ms. Colker is a passionate mixer of forms. (In addition to dance, she has a background as a competitive volleyball player.) Her company, Companhia Dança Deborah Colker, combines death-defying feats on giant hamster wheels, vogueing, hip-hop, acrobatics and anything else that suits her eclectic sensibility. And she loves props: walls, vases, ropes, wheels. This was all evident in the show.”
“Traditionally, ballet here was for the white and wealthy. Black South Africans were excluded, leaving a legacy of disinterest. Ballet teacher Muli Mokgele is among those trying to change that.”
“In Ashley Tuttle’s increasingly popular ballet classes, actual dancing is encouraged — something that’s less common than you might expect. Ballet class is usually a place to hone an impossible technique, and dancing is for the stage. But Ms. Tuttle doesn’t subscribe to that notion; what’s startling about her classes is the freedom she pulls out of her students. She cares deeply about technique, but for her, ballet is about more than positions; by the end, even beginners find themselves linking academic steps into swirling dancing phrases.”
“Many young dancers find themselves in compromising situations as they begin their careers. While some involve misunderstandings that become funny over the years, other bad situations – including public weigh-ins, sexual misconduct and unpaid overtime – can be so damaging to the spirit or the body as to end a career. There may not be a completely foolproof way to avoid a nightmare job, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and learn what will be expected of you before signing on the dotted line.”