Ah HAH: “It was to identify song features that could be predictive of mega-hits. Researchers found that top-ranked songs tended to have more difference from past hits than lower-ranked songs, defying the trope that popular songs are just copies of other popular songs.”
“The National Choreographers Initiative in Irvine seek[s] to emphasize the creative process and take the pressure off producing a finished, polished product. The three-week summertime workshop — now celebrating its 15th year — will culminate with a public performance July 28 … Unlike formal, completed dance productions, the show will start with four choreographers introducing their pieces, 16 dancers presenting what they’ve learned, and a question and answer session with the audience concluding the program.”
“You’d think the Paris Opéra Ballet would be in damage-control mode after a leaked dancers’ survey, in April, brought up worrying reports of harassment and mismanagement. But instead of addressing these issues internally, the French company is suing one of its own dancers in order to strip him of his union representative status and subsequently be free to fire him.”
The general public known him as the auteur behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Her. But some of his best work has been in dance-heavy music videos for the likes of Björk, Fatboy Slim, and Weezer. Jonze has even created for himself a dancing alter ego with an, er, inimitable styke.
“Graham, always on the lookout for ways in which people use their bodies to make meaning of the air around them, observes that Keller ‘could not see the dance but was able to allow its vibrations to leave the floor and enter her body.’ … She has taught herself to pay attention using the vibrations around her and is still able to see and hear by following the directions of sound waves created by voices, bodies, and instruments.”
Judith Mackrell talks about counteracting the powerful forces of discipline/submissiveness, competition, ego, and tradition with Royal Ballet artistic director Kevin O’Hare (“We had issues with one guest coming in recently who was behaving in ways that we aren’t used to any more”) and Scottish Ballet artistic director Christopher Hampson (“We have 40 dancers, and there are still about 15 who would rather I shouted at them and tell them what to do.”).
Theresa Ruth Howard: “There are the … dance feeds that I find myself simultaneously intrigued and horrified by: the hyper-elastic, hyper-extended, gumby-footed girls always at the barre doing developpés to six o’clock. There are the multiple turners, the avid stretchers and we can’t forget the endless balancers. … This is a slippery slope. Surfing Instagram is like watching the virtue of dance as a high art deteriorate in real time. Who and what goes viral is a reflection of a newly-forming value system. With each ‘like’ and ‘follow,’ we vote on the future of our field.”
The Royal Ballet is rich in tradition, but the company’s 97 dancers are now supported by a 17-strong team of sports science and healthcare experts. “Our facilities are now similar to those of a Premier League football club,” explains Gregory Retter, clinical director of ballet healthcare. “Strength, jumping, force attenuation, cardiovascular fitness, psychological wellbeing and nutrition; all support the dancer to be free to create artistic excellence. This is a completely new concept in dance.”
Adolphe Binder, previously the director of the GöteborgsOperan Danskompani, was the fourth director to run the Tanztheater Wuppertal since Bausch’s death, and the first to have had no direct relationship with the choreographer or her works. (The longtime Wuppertal member Dominique Mercy ran the company with Bausch’s assistant and rehearsal director Robert Sturm until 2013, when they were succeeded by Lutz Förster, another veteran company member.)
Mental health is an issue that can be difficult to approach and discuss. Dance can break down this barrier as it allows us to express ourselves without using words: how we move our bodies can say so much. Dance allows us to explore complex ideas, feelings and emotions, and find creative ways to express that in movement.
For five years, Henry Alford signed up for everything from pas de deux classes and a swing dance conference to tap lessons with Alvin Ailey and a “contact improv jam.” He researched the lives of the greats — Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Bob Fosse, Arthur Murray, Mikhail Baryshnikov — and includes anecdotes about each. For example, in the early 1960s, Martha Graham told a roomful of Texas college students that “all great dancing stems from the lonely place.” “Where is the lonely place?” asked a girl in the audience. “Between your thighs,” Martha told her. “Next question?”
Dance Magazine talks to Sergio Trujillo, Gabrielle Lamb, Joe Goode, Rosie Herrera, and Claudia Schreier, who says, “Often I am already thinking about the things they mentioned. Translating dance into words is the gift of the critic, so to hold that reflection back at you can be incredibly helpful.”
Rodent damage to a high-voltage electric line caused a power failure at the Adelaide Festival Centre in South Australia Wednesday, forcing evacuation of the audience by flashlight. The disrupted performances were The Australian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty and Australian Dance Theatre’s production of Garry Stewart’s The Beginning of Nature (where the audience at first thought the blackout was part of the production).
“STEM From Dance [is] a New York City-based nonprofit founded by Yamilee Toussaint — an MIT grad who’s been dancing since age 5. The program targets middle and high school girls of color, who are vastly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, and might not otherwise see STEM as an option or be encouraged to try it.”
“In the 1800s, tap appeared along the East River at Catherine Market, where slaves from Manhattan, New Jersey and Long Island would congregate. ‘They were coming in to sell herbs and roots on their days off — they were allowed by their masters to do that — and they also had their dancing skills to sell. … They’d put down pieces of wood they called shingles and do a jig and a breakdown for money.'”
An Iranian teenager had thousands of Instagram followers with videos of herself dancing – without a hijab – to pop music. Last week she was arrested, and on Friday state TV aired her “confession.” In response, many young people are now posting to social media videos of themselves dancing; the hashtag is Persian for “Dancing is not a crime.”
In recent decades, belly dance has inspired conflicting impulses among Egyptians, who see it either as high art, racy entertainment or an excuse for moral grandstanding… But if Cairo is the global capital of belly dance, then why do its hottest new stars come from everywhere but Egypt?
During a performance of Swan Lake, “The curtain came down. The orchestra stopped. The house lights came up. There was no announcement. Most people were on their feet, and many started heading for the doors. We debated what to do. We scanned the crowds below, trying to make sense of what we were seeing. In the balcony, we were acutely aware of how high up our seats were and how many people were in the building. Our hearts were pounding. We did not see a threat, but people were reacting as though something were very wrong.”
“From 2005 to 2014, Dance Manchester held a biennial festival, Urban Moves International Dance Festival, that presented professional dance performances outdoors and in unusual spaces … However, funding changes over the past six years have disrupted that vision and trajectory and … the subsequent loss of [Arts Council England] funding announced in 2017, though devastating at first, has liberated us to pursue our own path. The future may remain insecure, but it allows excitement to build as we return to our vision to develop home-grown artists and audiences through a dance for placemaking approach.”
“‘No nudity at all,’ said a dance presenter, incredulously, as she emerged from the final showing of the DCA LA Dance Platform presented here in early June. ‘That would never happen in New York.’ But the dance showcase … was not about what is happening in New York, or London or Berlin. It was focused on dance in Los Angeles, a city where companies, big and small, classical and contemporary, have historically struggled for visibility and viability.”
“[American Ballet Theatre] made the announcement yesterday, and it makes sense — Radetsky has served as a ballet master for the group since 2016, as well as a teacher for the main company. He succeeds Kate Lydon, who is leaving her post to direct the dance program at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire.”
Lauren Post caught her foot in the hem of her costume and tore a knee ligament onstage. Michele Wiles was being lifter high over her partner’s head when he lost balanced and they crashed – onstage. Natalia Makarova famously has a piece of scenery crash onto her mid-performance. And there’s that dreaded pop! of the Achilles tendon rupturing. Sarah Kaufman tells tales of bodily disaster and recovery.
“Using the movements of everyday workers, she crafts large-scale extravaganzas that have included more than 75 performers (and sometimes trucks), audiences of 2,000, and a deep research process that may involve her learning how to scale a power-line distribution pole or riding with a sanitation worker at 4 am. She recently spoke to Dance Magazine about her unique creative process.”