“Back home, [EunWon] Lee was the National Ballet’s youngest principal ballerina and a dance celebrity. Her performances sold out the Seoul opera house in minutes. … With her lithe form and delicate, childlike features, she modeled for Swarovski jewelry and tossed out ceremonial pitches at ballgames. But it wasn’t enough.
About a month after he arrived as artistic director, Corella said, “People started to put their arms across and say, ‘This is not going to happen.’ I heard that some dancers said, ‘The same way we got rid of the previous artistic director, we’re going to get rid of this one.’ Dancers were laughing at my face. A dancer even insulted me in front of everyone, just called me an [expletive]. You had people who didn’t even show up to class – I didn’t see them for three or four months – others that were injured for a very long time. … People from all around the world were knocking on the door – we had 2,000-something people sending in audition tapes.”
Roy Kaiser, who spent two decades as the Philadelphia-based company’s artistic director (and 18 years at the company before that), is the new artistic director of Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas. “He replaces James Canfield, who served as NBT’s artistic director from 2009 until his contract expired June 30. Kaiser is just the fourth artistic director of the Nevada Ballet Theatre, which is entering its 46th season.”
The statistics on boys, ballet and bullying are staggering. According to a study by dance sociologists Doug Risner and Maggie Allesee of Wayne State University in Detroit, 93 percent of boys involved in ballet reported “teasing and name calling,” and 68 percent experienced “verbal or physical harassment.” Eleven percent said they were victims of physical harm at the hands of people who targeted them because they are boys who study dance.
The “resident brainbox of British dance” tells David Jays about how he got a lab to sequence his entire genome (“three billion bits of information,” McGregor says excitedly, “60 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica”), created a series of “choreographic events,” and uses a software algorithm based on his DNA to sequence those “events” differently for every performance. (Yes, he knows that’s hard on his dancers.)
This Saturday, Rebecca Krohn performs with the company where she has danced for 19 years; next week, she starts her new role training and coaching her colleagues. Terry Trucco talks to Krohn about her career journey.
“The OA” is just one of several unlikely projects from Heffington, who has emerged as one of the most in-demand choreographers in Hollywood. His eclectic resumé includes hit feature films, like this summer’s stylized action flick Baby Driver, elegantly wacky perfume ads and collaborations with numerous musicians, most notably the pop star Sia. His work on her 2014 music video “Chandelier”—one of YouTube’s most-watched videos—propelled him into a realm of visibility few dancemakers reach.
“The organization, which has faced significant financial struggles, announced Tuesday it is looking for its eighth leader in six years. The difference this time, officials say, is that the ballet has reached a more stable financial position – thanks in part to work by Caroline Miller, who after 16 months in the top job, resigned for personal reasons.” (In this case, that’s not a “to spend more time with family” euphemism.)
Steve Zee: “As a dance educator, I also take comfort in the fact that high-quality dance training helps shape students into genuinely good people. … These are the lessons dance teaches that help make students into better humans.”
After Atlanta Ballet’s new artistic director, Gennadi Nedvigin, took over last year, five of the company’s dancers (including one who had applied for Nedvigin’s position) decided to split off and form Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, which gives its first performances this month. “While American ballet tends to emphasize youth and athleticism, [John] Welker and the rest of the Terminus five envisioned a company that would showcase more mature dancers as artists capable of creating nuanced and poignant moments on stage.”
“This summer, it was announced that two American ballet directors would be taking over major international troupes. Septime Webre is headed to Hong Kong Ballet, while Patricia Barker is taking the reins at Royal New Zealand Ballet. We caught up with Webre and Barker to get the scoop on their new posts and what’s coming next.”
Richard Brody picks them: There’s plenty of great dancing in studio-era Hollywood, but the cinematic master of dance is Busby Berkeley, whose career and creativity were at their zenith in the nineteen-thirties and early forties but whose genius reached a latter-day height in the musical “Small Town Girl” (YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play), from 1953.
Let’s be honest: It makes financial sense. “Many European opera and ballet companies already have a similar arrangement. But there are also some significant financial considerations for Lyric and the Joffrey. Opera and ballet each have passionate fan bases but those audiences are shrinking and the costs for each art form are rising sharply.”
Rick Tjia: “Little do the dancers know how many tens of thousands of dancers I have seen and auditioned to get to this moment in time, little do they know the complexities and the enormous number of hours needed to cast one show, much less 22 at the same time – all the time – and counting. Little do they know how much audition ‘success’ is out of their control and how much of it actually is. But they wouldn’t know, and I guess I wouldn’t expect them to. During this wait time the question going through the dancers’ minds is, what is the secret? … There is no mystery, there is no secret.”
Ballet Vermont grew out of the Farm to Ballet project (agriculture-themed dance on local farms) that got some media attention two summers ago; artistic director Chatch Pregger now plans to make the endeavor more firmly established and permanent. Yet there are no plans for a home base: Ballet Vermont will continue to perform around the state, often outdoors.
The Ballet Nacional Sodre in Montevideo has been making strides and leaps (ahem) since the former international star, a native of neighboring Argentina, became director of the company in 2010. The announcement that he’s resigning as director made news in South America last month, but he’s not actually leaving the company: he’ll focus solely on training its dancers.
“School of American Ballet graduate and Ballet Semperoper Dresden apprentice Gianna Reisen” – age 18 – “makes her first-ever work for New York City Ballet this season. Reisen began studying at SAB in 2010 and first participated in SAB’s Student Choreography Workshop as a choreographer in 2015. She also choreographed for the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of NYCB, during the fall 2016 working session.”
“Capoeira developed in Brazil, derived from traditions brought across the Atlantic Ocean by enslaved Africans … During this time, the art was considered a social infirmity and officially prohibited by the Brazilian Penal Code. The identification of ‘the outlaw’ with capoeira was so widespread that the word became a synonym for ‘bum,’ ‘bandit,’ and ‘thief.’ However, that did not stop the capoeiristas from practicing. They moved to marginal places and camouflaged the martial art as a form of dance.”
Just as the two companies have opened their first major collaboration, “the Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera of Chicago announced Friday that the dance company will move its season residencies from the Auditorium Theatre to the Lyric Opera House, beginning in fall 2020.”
Dance Magazine’s Nancy Wozny talks to Trey McIntyre, Liz Lerman, and Sandra Organ Solis about how they made their fateful decisions and what they went on to do.
“Choreographers Javier De Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Ivan Perez and Christopher Wheeldon have teamed up with all-male dance company BalletBoyz for its new show, Fourteen Days. The choreographers will each work with different composers and given just 14 days to work with the BalletBoyz ensemble to create a new piece.”
Even when fashion designers get outrageous for the Fall Gala, New York City Ballet’s costume shop knows what it’s doing. “They know how every fabric moves, they know what a seam does, what a hem does, what stretches, what doesn’t, what absorbs, what doesn’t, what can be lifted, what can move.”
“The provocative image of dancer Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya striking a pose, covered in blood with a nail through her foot, was chosen to advertise [Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal’s] performance of Stabat Mater, set to a score by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.”
Performances of the new biographical work were abruptly called off just a couple of days before the scheduled premiere on July 11 – allegedly, though not officially, because the piece would have violated Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law. Meanwhile, the ballet’s creator, avant-garde stage director Kirill Serebrennikov, is under house arrest on unrelated charges, and the premiere may proceed without him.
“A few months ago, I was sure that I was going to stop dancing to become a good actor. But then when I was by myself for a week, I asked myself, What are you doing? You have that talent. Use it to the fullest. And if I can use that talent as well as acting, that’s magical to do both. Would I be happy just to be an actor? I don’t think I would.”
“We’re highlighting some of the influential black women who came before, and have been changing the game in the downtown dance scene for almost four decades. They continue to thrive and survive, although in [one case], posthumously. As young dancemakers, we have to know the shoulders on which we stand.”
Skip back a generation or two, and those to have emerged from other Hull dance schools include former Royal Ballet principal Mark Silver and ex-Birmingham Royal Ballet principal Robert Parker. Hull seems to have a particularly good record with male dancers.
“The Sleeping Beauty is being adapted to cater for those on the autistic spectrum, with a learning disability or a sensory and communication disorder. Taking place on February 20 at the Birmingham Hippodrome, the ballet will have a shorter running time, with changes to lighting, sound and seating. It is the first time the company has staged a relaxed performance, a practice that has become increasingly common in theatre.”
The secret of Hull’s success is the Skelton Hooper Ballet School, which trained a slew of principals at leading ballet companies in Europe, most notably Xander Parish (now at the Mariinsky) and Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare.
“Over the course of those years since 2009, the company’s future has become more clear. Crucially, there appears to be an undiminished appetite for Bausch’s emotionally driven style of tanztheater (or dance theater) … (Performances tend to sell out weeks in advance.) Part of that future is a product of continuity. There aren’t many dance troupes whose performers range in age from their 20s to 60s, but that is the situation in the company today. Many veterans are still there to pass on the knowledge embedded in their bodies and memories.” Marina Harss talks with three dancers from various stages Tanztheater Wuppertal’s history.