“I am trained in the classical Indian dance of Kathak, a tradition passed on through non-technological means, carried in the memory, the body and the mind. So each time we share it, it’s evolving. It’s like telling a story – no one ever tells it the same way twice. It changes each time you tell it, because you are human, because you are alive. By contrast, digital preservation of work and its perfect, infinite reproducibility – freed of context – potentially creates a more sterile transmission mechanism for ideas and art.”
The cases of Peter Martins and Marcelo Gomes are the only ones from the dance world to have hit the national media in the #MeToo era, and the movement’s momentum seems to have faded in the field seems to have dissipated. “[Yet] we’ve barely scratched the surface of the dance world’s harassment problem. One reason why: The same culture that makes harassment possible in dance makes it uniquely difficult for artists to speak up,” writes Lauren Wingenroth in an essay exploring the issue.
Scott Gormley, filmmaker and dance dad: “I’ve spent the last two years creating a documentary about the struggles that young men face when they choose to dance ballet ― when they choose to thumb their nose at what boys ‘should do.’ … What I found the most upsetting were the attacks that came directly from family members: fathers, stepfathers, uncles, brothers, many of whom feared that ballet would ‘turn’ boys gay.”
These are not dances with deep spiritual meanings, but rather they’re the most prolific forms of creative expression for young Africans right now. That has since evolved into a professionalization of these dances, as tutorial videos crop up on these very dances and professional choreographers increasingly incorporate them.
Copeland says she feels lucky, and like her success is almost unbelievable – but she wants some compatriots at the top. “She is adamant that a large part of her purpose as a public figure is to make sure up-and-coming black and brown dancers know they belong in the world of classical ballet – and feel welcome there.”
The surprise successor will be 35-year-old Michael Novak, who has been with the company since 2010. For Novak, “the appointment came out of nowhere. Just after the company’s Lincoln Center season ended in March, he went to Mr. Taylor’s apartment for a meeting. ‘Paul said, ‘I have been thinking a long time and I have decided that you’re going to be the one to take over the company once I buzz off,’’ Mr. Novak said. ‘I don’t think ‘shocked’ even begins to describe the feeling.'”
Deborah Jowitt: “Robbins wanted dancers to approach classical steps as if rising onto pointe was no more unusual than an intake of breath, and a turn could seem a giddy impulse (no showing a planted preparation to spin as if it were interesting in itself). … He came down hard on artificiality and dancers who played to the audience. He wanted them to look ‘real’ despite their virtuosity, to see and react to the others onstage. If a plot was involved, he might want a dancer to know what his/her character had eaten for dinner the night before.”
“Showcasing dance, without the audience’s necessarily seeing it, is [blind performer and choreographer Mana] Hashimoto’s life’s work. Her performances and workshops bring dance, a medium with a strong visual component, to those without sight while also providing a new experience for a sighted audience.”
Toby Ansin, a South Florida philanthropist who founded the company in the 1980s with Villella says she just wants to write up the story of her life as it happened. Villella, who signed a reciprocal non-disparagement agreement with the MCB board as part of a settlement after he was forced out as the company’s artistic director in 2012, is not going along with what he sees as an attempt to escape that agreement.
Third year students, who were halfway through a tour of England and Wales when the van was taken, launched an appeal to find the costumes and raise money to replace other items in the van, which included lighting, sound and rehearsal equipment. Last night (May 14), a member of the public found the costumes in an open garage in Bromley-by-Bow in London, close to where the tour vehicle was last tracked, and called Ballet Central to report the news.
“Tap isn’t being used as a dance language here, much less as music. It’s being used as a sparkly outfit, and as a symbol of Broadway’s past. These numbers are fantasies. Two of the new ones are hallucinations.” Brian Seibert on the incongruous tap routines that have been turning up in new and recent shows from Mean Girls to SpongeBob SquarePants to Escape to Margaritaville and back to The Book of Mormon. (Seibert doesn’t entirely approve.)
That’s what the New Ballet in San Jose is offering for a performance of Sleeping Beauty this weekend: a group of patrons will sit together in the balcony, dial into a conference call, and listen on earbuds to live commentary as well as background on the ballet and interviews with dancers. Says company director Dalia Rawson, “It’s a bit radical, … but I think context and additional information will enhance the experience, just as it does when watching football or the Olympics.”
It’s almost like a dance addiction, he says. “The more opportunities I was given, the more performances I did, the more opera houses I danced around the world, I wanted more of. It was insatiable. I was never satisfied. And, listen, you can’t go on forever. … Reality puts you in check and for the better.”
“He has made movement based on the revving of a lawn mower, the popping of toast from a toaster, the tentative resting of a head on a shoulder. His style is hyperathletic – galloping solos that last for 10 straight minutes, high jumps reminiscent of basketball players’ reaching for the hoop – but it retains a roughness around its edges.”
Sherrie Silver: “There are a lot of dark themes in it, so they wanted us to be the light of the video. You know how kids are innocent and kind of unaware of what’s going on? We were there to smile and bring joy to everyone watching it, because the background is bringing so much darkness and reality. … [We] wanted to bring joy to it, in the middle of madness. That’s what kids do and that’s what dance does – especially African dance.”
It’s not just that Donald Glover keeps dancing as violence spreads all around him, writes Aida Amoako. It’s our own kinesthetic empathy – the action of mirror neurons in the brain that makes us want to move along as we see someone else dance. “An internal struggle begins in the viewer’s body, which is pulled between joy and horror. Just as the video questions how we can dance when there is pandemonium all around, the audience struggles with whether to continue moving, too, after witnessing such brutality.”
“American Ballet Theater announced a multiyear initiative on Wednesday that will support the creation and the staging of new works by female choreographers. The A.B.T. Women’s Movement, which will support at least three female choreographers each season, grew out of Ballet Theater’s Women’s Choreographers Initiative, which has already funded dances by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette and Dana Genshaft.”
It was Kenneth MacMillan’s desire to drag the real world, kicking and screaming, into the prettified arena of ballet that unsettled people, then and now. “An idea grabbed him and he did it. I don’t think he had any agenda and was quite surprised when people were shocked. His ideas were triggered by everything that was going on around him. He brought real life to ballet.”
“‘I have no idea what’s happening right now,’ co-producer Jenny Stulberg said during a break from shooting. ‘I just know that my shopping list for today was for a watermelon, cucumber, two half-gallons of almond milk, a gallon of regular milk, two bottles of Prosecco and a bag of flour. And fish.’ Dead fish? ‘Yes.’ Nearby, three dearly departed striped bass cooled their heels on ice. ‘I brought sparklers, just in case,’ said costumer Jamielyn Duggan. ‘And rubber gloves.'”
“As an ensemble dancer in The Lion King, India Bolds, age 32, plays nine characters in every show, eight times a week. That’s a lot of entrances and exits, costume changes and choreography to remember. But after five years of dancing in the production, she has the show down pat. Dance Magazine followed her through a performance day to see what it takes to be in Broadway’s third-longest-running production.”
“As soon as the show was over on May 1st, we were hearing complaints that the administrative team did not like our dance at all,” said junior student Ibrahim Sesay. “Calling our whole performance nasty, calling us a disgrace to African culture, picking fights with one of our students and they were just attacking us and our whole performance.”
“It’s incredible that people are looking at dancers’ bodies as healthy, because that hasn’t always been the case. It’s been associated with us having eating disorders or being too thin, not being strong. For us to be in this moment and have [people] want to have a strong, lean, feminine body — I think it’s amazing. I hope going to these barre classes will introduce people to ballet in a way that they’ll want to step into an actual barre class.”
“When it was announced that the Royal’s feathery blockbuster was being entrusted to Scarlett, eyebrows were raised. It wasn’t his talent that was in question, it was his artistic unpredictability. He exploded on the scene in 2010, when, still a junior dancer, he created Asphodel Meadows, a beautiful one-act work that proclaimed his classical credentials. Yet he went on to wrong-foot audiences with dark and disturbing works such as Sweet Violets (2012), a gothic sex-and-death thriller about a Jack the Ripper serial killer, and Hansel and Gretel (2013), reimagined as a grotesque paedophile nightmare. But hey, he says, it’s only make-believe. ‘I was just trying to tell a good story. You don’t have to worry about me.'”
“[The retired ABT star’s] Sleeping Beauty Dreams, an avant-garde dance production about the internal world of the cursed princess during the one hundred years she was asleep, [is] premiering in Miami in December before going on to New York and then on … a 30-city tour in 2019.” Reporter Olivia Nuzzi does a profile of Michael Caputo, the show’s producer, who was interviewed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office last week. Caputo is an erstwhile political operative in both the U.S. and Russia and was a senior communications adviser to the Trump campaign.