If you’re going to do Nutcracker in Alaska, you better do it right: “Every few years, they set the plot against an Alaskan backdrop with characters the audience intimately recognizes. Instead of a Mouse King and his army of rodents, the Nutcracker goes to a battle with Mosquito Queen and her swarm. He’s assisted by housemaids with fly swatters.”
Gomes resigned as a law firm investigation the allegation of behavior from eight years ago. Neither American Ballet Theatre “nor the law firm that was handling the investigation would give further details about the accusation against Mr. Gomes. ‘A.B.T. does not tolerate the alleged behavior,’ [the chairman of the board of trustees] said in his statement. ‘I am profoundly disheartened by this matter,’ he added.”
“The children who enter these competitions train up to 30 hours per week, primarily on weekends and after school. Because children must compete in many styles – hip-hop, ballet, jazz and others – versatility is essential, and training can be rigorous to the point of extremity.” Says one judge, “It was never like this when I was a kid. These kids are like gladiators.”
“The idea is for the artist in residence to help develop unique content for the ballet, serve as a role model for Orlando Ballet School students and through master classes and other events serve as an ambassador to the community. Dancer Arcadian Broad is the first person given the open-ended position, which will be reserved for those who demonstrate talent in multiple areas and can leave a lasting impact on the company and the wider dance community.”
Sarah L. Kaufman: “For many families, The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday ritual, a respite from the season’s stresses, an oasis of beauty, innocence and poetry. For the dancers, it is a marathon of pain, physical and existential. It is a minefield of injuries, illnesses and choking hazards. It can be crushingly boring. It also involves incontinent children.”
Gia Kourlas talks with Gus Solomons Jr. (79), Douglas Dunn (75), Eiko Otake (65), and Brenda Bufalino (80) about the losses and gains to their art as they age and their motivation to keep going. As Solomons says, “The reason I’ve been able to dance for so long is absolute willpower.” (includes video)
“From the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s Dance-Along Nutcracker to the New Bedford Ballet’s historical whaling production, A New England Nutcracker” – not to mention a hip-hop version and a “MeshugaNutcracker” for Chanukah – “the message of ‘anyone can watch’ is echoed throughout performances that interpret Tchaikovsky’s score in new – and distinctly American – ways.”
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.”
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.)
“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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”