Well, for one thing, some investigations – and a call for the government to dissolve and recreate the board. Here’s a tidbit: “On Friday, the RNZB announced former deputy State Services Commissioner Doug Craig would lead an independent inquiry into allegations of workplace bullying and reports that the Ballet favours overseas dancers over New Zealanders.”
“By portraying gay love as beautiful and dignified, the ballet transcended its buffoonery and did justice to its subject.” Joy Neumeyer gives an eyewitness report of the long line to buy the (few) tickets available to the public, the crowds in the theater, and the actual production.
The board of directors of the national company has commissioned an independent inquiry following the departure of more than half of of RNZB’s dancers since the arrival in June of new artistic director Patricia Barker. (Another third of the dancers had left under the previous artistic director.)
“The [Paris] Exposition Universelle of 1900 marked the height of Art Nouveau and its flowing, feminine subjects inspired by nature. [Loïe] Fuller herself personified the movement, with performances that incorporated swirling yards of silk attached to bamboo wands sewn into her sleeves.”
“Making the case for a serious art form for dancers who use wheelchairs meant a lot of advocacy. … ‘The first 10 years we spent just trying to convince people in the bigger dance world, the funding world, that what we were doing wasn’t ‘just therapy,” [said AXIS co-founder Judith Smith]. ‘We really wanted to be taken seriously as a dance company.’ … Today, AXIS’s work is fairly well known within the field of contemporary dance. It is less visible, however, to the general public for many reasons.”
“Behind the satin and tulle, the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality thrives and some dancers depend on good genes to cancel out bad behavior. ‘I don’t know any group of people that treats their bodies worse than dancers,’ says [Miami City Ballet’s Simone] Messmer. ‘They don’t rehab from injuries, they drink too much, they eat a lot of sugar. The idea that all dancers are healthy is a big myth.'”
“As [director Kirill] Serebrennikov himself notes in a program interview: ‘I am doing an exotic, probably nonexisting job. Perhaps I am the only ballet stage director around.’ And so the big questions: Does having a director make a difference? And is Nureyev any good? The answers are yes and somewhat.” Roslyn Sulcas reports.
Retired ballet stars generally take a few select paths in their second stage of life, among them teaching, joining the artistic staff at their home company, directing some other troupe or running a university dance department. Not many continue filling their calendar with dance gigs.
I suddenly found myself getting giddy with the thought that a woman might lead New York City Ballet. I pictured a former NYCB principal coming in and calming the dancers down, respecting them, inspiring them, treating them like adults, listening to them and encouraging communication between all factions of the company.
The group of four includes “Jonathan Stafford, a ballet master and former principal dancer with the company. Joining him will be Justin Peck, City Ballet’s resident choreographer and soloist, along with Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both ballet masters.”
Says Saratoga Performing Arts Center president Elizabeth Sobol, “Here is what I observed: 80 percent of the audience only buys tickets to one performance, 11 percent buys a ticket to two performances. Only 9 percent buy for two or more night. And while it’s wonderful to have this deeply passionate audience, by presenting two weeks we are doubling our expenses and cannibalizing our audience.”
“One of the most important directors in the ballet world, Martins, 71, said he would temporarily step away from both NYCB and its affiliated School of American Ballet, which he also heads, in a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon. He issued the statement after The Post sought Martins’s comment on a previously undisclosed claim by former NYCB soloist Kelly Cass Boal that Martins behaved violently toward her.”
Corrections NZ has invited the Royal New Zealand Ballet into a women’s prison to offer classes. A pair of journalists visit just as a group of inmates is getting ready for holiday performances. (audio and video)
The New York Times dance critics pick their favorites.
Marina Harss asked Farrell, who answered – “enigmatically,” notes Harss – “I don’t really know. If I had my choice I would go on forever.” Kennedy Center representatives, for their part, say only that the facility’s upcoming expansion provides “a natural moment to transition” and that Farrell could “expand her teaching” there after construction is completed.
The continued growth of the company is rare, given what often happens to dance organizations after their founder dies and there is no new repertory to tour. Ms. Brown, part of an influential generation that ushered in postmodern dance — she was an original member of the experimental 1960s collective Judson Dance Theater — was a maverick.
After several seasons of performing to recorded music only due to financial difficulties, the company’s upcoming productions of Romeo and Juliet and Beauty and the Beast will use a live orchestra. “The live music is possible because revenue is beating the ballet’s projections, says board president Jonathan Ledden.”
“Immediate reactions were varied, though emotionally charged. Here are a few of the many responses”
The School of American Ballet said in a statement that it “recently received an anonymous letter making general, nonspecific allegations of sexual harassment in the past by Peter Martins at both New York City Ballet and the school. … Thus far, our investigation has not substantiated the allegations in the letter.” Several former dancers say that “Mr. Martins was known for sleeping with dancers, some of whom received better roles because of their personal relationships with him.”
“It’s understood close to half of the current 36 dancers employed by the national ballet company will have left by the new year, not all by choice – less than six months after a new artistic director took over. It’s the second year in a row the national ballet company … has gone through an artistic upheaval.”
Cali’s salsa culture runs deep – and has a split: “There are the purists, who like to keep their footwork on the ground, the way salsa was first danced in the 1970s. Then there are the more daring — typically younger — provocateurs, who incorporate demanding tricks and lifts frowned upon by traditionalists.”
Sure, there’s a lot of classical ballet in India. “Today, ballet schools are scattered across Delhi and Mumbai, offering professional training and degrees endorsed by foreign maestros. But that is not all. India is making its mark on the international scene by sending its own home-grown ballet dancers to woo the global audiences.”
“New Yorker critic Arlene Croce [once] asserted that the Trocks weren’t addressing gender roles, but ballet roles, an altogether different topic: ‘a ballerina isn’t a woman but an abstraction of one.’ This distinction is politically and analytically useful: It aligns the Trocks squarely with high art, and makes clear that they aren’t – as some critics have said drag does – making fun of women. But it’s also wishfully tidy.”
“Back when Lumberyard was known as the American Dance Institute and operated out of a strip mall in Rockville, Maryland, it pioneered its Incubator program to whip new pieces into shape, kind of like the “out-of-town” tryout model for theater. Several of the artists it supported ultimately brought their shows to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.” Now that the ADI has relocated to the Catskills as Lumberyard, “the partnership is official.”
Ashley Newman: “On May 5, 2016, I was dancing with some of my best friends in rehearsal for The Chase Brock Experience, where I’m a founding company member. I was thrilled to be back doing a show after taking some time off for graduate school. My next memory is waking up in the hospital with a ventilator tube down my throat.”
For choreographers, the postpartum pangs that follow a big triumph can summon doubts about their ability to duplicate a career’s artistic zenith. Critics sneer, ballet masters and directors stifle skeptical looks, audiences question, producers pressure and choreographers agonize about the label of “one-hit wonder.” Has he backed himself into a corner? Has she burned out on ideas? How do you bring something original to the stage without copying yourself or experimenting with disaster?
Black Swan isn’t even the half of it. John Neumeier’s version features Mad King Ludwig; James Kudelka’s includes gang rape; Michael Keegan-Dolan’s centers on abuse by Irish priests. There’s even another film coming out about a ballerina in the lead role losing her sanity. David Jays talks to dancemakers about the darkness they find at the heart of the story.
“The Culture Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality will not support three performances in Jerusalem International Dance Week, which begins Tuesday, because they feature partial nudity.” (The performances are not being cancelled.)
“[Thomas] signed a contract on July 19 making him artistic director of the nascent American National Ballet, based in Charleston. The news sent a buzz of excitement through the dance community. On Aug. 22, he was fired. … This month, Thomas filed a lawsuit in circuit court alleging breach of contract, fraud, violation of South Carolina’s Payment of Wages Act, wrongful appropriation of Thomas’ name and likeness, and interference with a contract.”
Work your butt off in both the U.S. and Russia, and go to the provinces. “It’s easier because that weight of tradition, history and classical heritage that major theaters like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky have … the regions are much more flexible now. They don’t have such rigid boundaries.”