“In the studio we’re so often created on,” David Hallberg, the American Ballet Theater principal who dreamed up the workshop, said recently. “I really wanted to give the dancers a chance to have a more inclusive part in the creative process.” Mr. Hallberg first introduced the idea of a choreographic workshop in 2010, but after a few tries it didn’t stick and he was too busy with his international career (and a major injury) to help keep it going. Now, he’s determined to make the Incubator a yearly fixture at Ballet Theater.
While Lang’s career as a choreographer has been going well, things (mostly money) for her company have been as difficult as for any small, independent dance troupe. “You have to raise so much money, the smaller companies don’t have enough staff, and Jessica was running the company for the last seven years without a day off,” said Lang’s manager. The group will disband in April, after completing a final tour.
Australian Ballet audiences at the Sydney Opera House waited for half an hour to find out what was happening. Then the news came: “”We’ve tried everything to get it going, they’ve restarted the whole … system. They have rung Europe to see if there’s something they can do. Unfortunately nothing is working.”
Tamara Rojo: “In the past, the ballet master was an almost godlike figure. You did what he said and there was no room for conversation. Certainly at the ENB, that’s not the case. We encourage dancers to have opinions, ask questions and contribute to the process. The work is good because it’s the work of everyone in the company.”
That’s not without its challenges: “Directing singers is a very particular art: Try to make them move too precisely to the music, and some of them look like unmotivated marionettes, the more so if they have to share the stage with dancers.”
Dance anthropologist Judith Lynne Hanna, who (on top of her scholarly work) has served as an expert witness in legal proceedings against exotic dancers, “has spent her career getting us to think about dance’s relationship to society. … She hadn’t performed since college when she got a call from a music video producer, who caught a video of her dancing with her 13-year-old grandson. The rockers of Egg Drop Soup loved her energy and flew her out to Los Angeles for a day-long video shoot. We spoke to Hanna about the experience.”
This Aeon Original video explores that unifying feeling of group ‘electricity’ that lifts us up when we’re enthralled by our favourite sports teams, participating in religious rituals, entranced by music – and, yes, dancing the night away.
Angel, César, and Marcos Ramírez, now 18, had secure jobs dancing with the National Ballet of Cuba. But they gave them up to study at the Rock School in Philadelphia. Ellen Dunkel meets them. (includes video)
“Raffaella Maria Stroik, 23, was reported missing Tuesday after a state park ranger found her unattended vehicle at Mark Twain State Park, about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis.” Her body was discovered floating in Mark Twain Lake Wednesday morning. She had joined St. Louis Ballet only last year.
Marie’s tour with the Nutcracker Prince in Act II includes, of course, Spanish chocolate, Arabian coffee, and Chinese tea. New York City Ballet is one of several companies that has rethought how those dances — tea, in particular — play to American audiences in the 21st century. To wit: out go the Fu Manchu mustache and pointy fingers.
“A former dancer and once rising star of Ballet San Antonio remains in jail accused of sexual assault after he was found not guilty recently of a different sexual assault charge. In both cases, Hugo Ihosvany Rodriguez, 27, was accused by female dancers in the ballet company.”
A ballerina who contended with anorexia nervosa for years, Anais Garcia, who is just over five feet tall, has reached 105 pounds, a safer weight than the 79 pounds of a year ago. In her gray turtleneck sweater and casual black leggings, her extreme thinness remains apparent. “For the past five years, I’ve done nothing but hate and try to disown my body,” she says.
“Westerners often imagine the [“Oriental”] dancer as the femme fatale. But the dancer is not a femme fatale. She is a mother.” In an interview that cites a Lacanian psychoanalyst and an anthropologist, the dancer known as Malak, born and raised in Spain and now an established instructor in Cairo, talks about the power of belly dance and the relations (of several sorts) between dancer and viewer.
“An early-morning substance-free ‘party’ held about once a month in 25 cities across the United States …, Daybreaker events are like the compression shorts of Millennial experiences: Sort of uncomfortable, but also uplifting.”
Limpopo-born musician King Monada’s hit song Malwedhe, which means “illness” in the Bolobedu dialect of the Sepedi language, has inspired a dance unlike anything we’ve seen before. The dance sees fans falling to the ground at the chorus and words: ke na le bolwedhe bao idibala (I have an illness of fainting).
Liv Lorent, who created BalletLorent 25 years ago: “Being in the north suited me very well. There was a small clutch of very sincere artists working across disciplines, whereas in London the dance bubble was big enough that I didn’t explore outside it. I liked the light and the weather in Newcastle. … People in the north are less precious generally. There’s much more self-censorship and affectation in London, worrying about what’s the most current thing.”
There are, for instance, “numerous nods to [Martha Graham’s] work in Suspiria — even the floor-length dress Tilda Swinton’s character, Madame Blanc, favors in the movie.”
When I left NYCB I was looking at my decision as very black and white: either dance or school, with nothing in between. I imagined I’d go into a career completely separate from the ballet world. It would have relieved some of the pressure to have known that you can marry the two. Sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle, or even entertaining, to run from coding school to rehearsal, put your pointe shoes on, and be up and moving. But it is possible.
Margaret Selby: “I work with small and mid-sized companies, so what they need is different than big companies with a lot of infrastructure. It’s not just booking dates — I always say I’m a strategist and booking is a side product. It’s really about developing an artist. … It’s important to trust your own gut. It’s about seeing something before other people recognize it, and jumping on it because you believe in it.”
“Yabin Wang converts movement into liquid that spills across the stage. A celebrity in her home country of China, this choreographer, dancer and actress has helped to pioneer modern dance there by blending Chinese classical and contemporary dance. … This month, she is back stateside for the U.S. premiere of her Moon Opera, Nov. 3 in Pittsburgh.”
“Not only does [the episode] ‘Mac Finds His Pride’ contain heartfelt dialogue — like Mac admitting to Frank, ‘I don’t know where I fit in as a gay man and it’s starting to get to me. I’m not feeling very proud.’ — but it ends with a five-minute, show-stopping contemporary-dance number featuring Rob McElhenney and professional ballerina Kylie Shea.” Here’s the inside story of how McElhenney, who insists to this day that he cannot dance, pulled it off.
“[Five] renowned defectors from the Cuban National Ballet took the stage at the 26th Havana International Ballet Festival as part of a wide-ranging and profound reconciliation between Cuba and its millions of expatriates and exiles around the world. … Asked about his feelings upon performing once again in Cuba, [one of the returnees] began to cry.”
“[Eddie] Nixon is a former associate director and more recently director of theatre and artist development at the Place. … He takes over from Richard Alston, who leaves the role this month after 24 years at the helm of the contemporary dance venue.” (Alston’s eponymous dance company, which has been headquartered at The Place, will be shut down.)
The move is part of a collaboration between professional company Ballet Black and dance shoe design and manufacturing company Freed of London and has been “over a year in development” according to the Ballet Black website.
“If you didn’t know much about classical ballet, you might think it’s an obvious home for queer artists and narratives, but it’s more complicated than that.” The canon is small and its stories are very conventionally heterosexual; even today, openly gay male dancers can have trouble getting cast as leads. “[Now] a new generation of dancers who are collapsing the boundaries between queerness and maleness in ballet by challenging its, and the culture’s, preconceived ideas of masculinity.”
“A jury took less than three hours Friday to find a former Ballet San Antonio dancer not guilty in a sexual assault case brought by a ballerina in the company. The defense had argued that the accuser regretted having consensual sex as the two slept in her apartment bed in March 2017. Prosecutors said Hugo Ihosvany Rodriguez, 27, once a rising star with the dance company, never received a hint of approval yet forced himself on her.”
To be a professional-level dancer demands incredible discipline and years of training. It also requires an acute sensitivity to music, which in most instances serves as a choreographic propellant. Imagine, then, the challenge of becoming a dancer if you are seriously hearing impaired.
Edward Gorey “was very breezy about his opinions,” tossing them off in an artless manner, Peter Anastos says. “He just sat back and proclaimed evident truths about the company from a lofty cloud.” He had a flair for the bitchy bon mot, dubbing Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins, neither of whom he could abide, “the world’s tallest albino asparagus.” Asked about the moldy chestnuts of the classical repertoire, he sniffed, “Les sylphides? Where they’re all looking for their contact lenses?” That said, his pronouncements were never mean spirited.
Fernando Montano grew up in Colombia and came to the Royal Ballet in 2006. The soloist, “said he used cosmetics during his early years at Britain’s largest ballet company as he was one of only three black dancers.”
Misty Copeland thinks so. “‘[People] feel comfortable sitting in a movie theater rather than walking through the doors of the Metropolitan Opera House; you feel that ‘Oh, that’s not for me.’ Especially as black people, that’s not a space for us,’ Copeland said. ‘Everyone goes to the movie theater, so this is an amazing way to do that.'”