Says Garrett Anderson, “I want to create a company in which the dancers won’t just be relegated to the studio. They will understand the organization in a more holistic way, and feel a sense of agency that is not limited to choreography. That ownership will then allow them to take the choreography to a new level.”
In a paper posted to the arXiv preprint server this week, researchers at the University of California Berkeley demonstrate how they designed AI that, given video of an expert dancer and an amateur, can transfer the moves from one to the other and create convincing video of the amateur pulling off some seriously impressive rug-cutting. But that’s not all.
Joseph Gatti’s vision for his new troupe, United Ballet Theatre (which debuts this weekend), was inspired by a fracture in his foot three years ago: “The injury really opened my eyes to the organization of a company and the care and treatment that needs to be addressed constantly. I wanted to create a company that’s treating the dancers not just as artists but as athletes.” His plan, the Gatti Method, is “to build strength training, conditioning, recovery time and physical therapy into UBT’s daily schedule.”
The Kaleidoscope dance included segments from French, Scottish and other cultures as a tribute to Canada’s history. Serhij Koroliuk said at the time that the dance was created to honour Indigenous people. But it faced backlash on social media after a video was posted online by an Indigenous powwow dancer who was watching from the crowd.
“Video conferencing and smartphone apps make it possible to at least share the same screen space. But there are pros and cons to creating this way. Choreographers and dancers can be freed up for more opportunities. Yet almost all would still prefer to be in the same room, collaborating in real time. Here’s how some choreographers are making it happen.”
There’s a dynamic relationship between live performers and the audience. Just as dancers, actors and musicians amuse, provoke or otherwise move their public, the public moves them. Muttering in the seats can be heard onstage. So can the odd argument and ringtones. The sounds and behaviors of spectators can affect dancers’ psychology and even performance quality. They’re energized by cheers, of course, and demoralized when they’re expecting applause or laughter and there’s only silence. But they pick up on far more.
United Ballet Theatre gives its first performance on Sunday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Reporter Matthew J. Palm talks to the company’s founder, 33-year-old former Orlando Ballet member Joseph Gatti, and others involved with UBT’s birth.
“Mike Wamaya’s life was turned upside down when his father died and he had to drop out of school to earn money for the family. A chance audition for a visiting performing arts company led to an international career as a performer, but Wamaya wanted to use his skills to help children growing up in the most challenging circumstances in Nairobi. Today, children who complete the programme in Kibera often go on to artistic careers.” (podcast)
“Earlier this summer, strange billboards and bus-stop ads started popping up around Louisville, Kentucky. A woman, Jessica, was sending public messages — that seemed really personal — to a guy named Chris. Things like, ‘Chris, maybe we should try role playing’ or ‘Chris, let’s talk about your performance issues.'” After a few weeks of letting folks in the city toss around theories (and they did), Louisville Ballet fessed up. And, says the company’s marketing director, the campaign worked in more than one way. (She also says that Chris and Jessica are real.)
Anouk van Dijk, the Dutch choreographer who succeeded founding artistic director Gideon Obarzanek in 2011, will formally depart at the end of this calendar year.
In the current study they found that bass-heavy music was more successful at locking the brain into the rhythm. The lower frequencies, it seems, strong-arm the brain into synchronizing. This helps explain why a bass-heavy sound might make people more inclined to move along: the lower frequencies, as the authors write, boost “selective neural locking to the beat.”
The family isn’t new to the club or dance game. “They are the Medicis of raving, with a dynasty spanning back to 1870. Six generations of Arnaus have worked in entertainment, from a 19th-century ancestor who opened Café Josepet, the first social club in Fraga, 95 miles west of Barcelona, through to 50s-era music halls and 80s electro clubs.” And they want to keep expanding.
“In 2015, [the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance] opened its studios to its inaugural class, now poised to graduate. Their accomplishments are a testament to (and test of) Kaufman’s unique approach: Grads will have studied a vast array of styles, spearheaded interdisciplinary projects, and completed a rigorous liberal arts education.” And getting in isn’t much easier than it is at Harvard, either.
Brittany Pollack, Amar Ramasar, and choreographer Justin Peck are all members of New York City Ballet; Craig Salstein is a recent retiree from ABT. The four talk to Gia Kourlas about what they like about Broadway and what they find hard. (“Just the repetition of doing the same thing on my body — you have no recovery time. … I land on the same knee every night.”)
“For most dancers, the costumes act as the finishing touch. At MOMIX, however, the costumes are just the starting point. … We spoke with Pendleton and MOMIX dance captain Sarah Nachbauer to learn all of the details of how they get their concepts from the studio to the stage — and all of the costume mishaps in between.”
Programs cut include bachelor’s degrees in art history, French, geography, math and physics, along with master’s degrees in history, physics, sociology and Spanish. The university said it based its decision on program enrollment and number of degrees conferred in recent years, as well as any “duplication” of well supported programs at other, nearby institutions. Just five percent of students are admitted to the affected programs, the university said. No elimination of full-time faculty or staff is planned. The university also said it was investing in areas of strength identified in the review, such as polymers, dance, cybersecurity and nursing.
“Eleven years after the fatal collapse of the choreographer, which many assumed would also be the collapse of his company, Smuin finally has its home, in a 1949 warehouse next to the old freight line on Potrero Hill.” Says one company exec, “For the first time ever, we will control the schedule, which will allow us to rehearse for as long as we need.”
“A new commission [from ABT] is a risk best handled by the choreographers who can produce works that offer seasoned polish and dependability. … And although, in the history of large commissions, there inevitably exists a freedom of creative impulse, that freedom must not reach too deep, for the fall off the cliff is steep and far. There is simply too much at stake: time, money, reputation. I have always wondered, Where then do choreographers get the freedom to potentially fail?”
Harold Washington College announced that it has partnered with the Joffrey Ballet to offer an Associate in Arts in Dance from City Colleges of Chicago’s Loop campus.
AMA has been shared by various Facebook pages worldwide, and often with vague titles like “Dancing Underwater !!” and “Wooowww Amazing Dance.” Perhaps the most shared iteration was posted by Feel Desain, an online magazine, which, according to its page is “updated daily with the latest and coolest news.” That particular post has garnered more than 19 million views and upwards of 372,000 shares. As if only the “coolest” parts matter, Feel Desain’s version is truncated, cutting off the first two minutes before Gautier is fully immersed in the pool.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Pose, of course, but there’s more – bucking, “a tight-knit community of black, gay men who’ve transformed a dance of thrusting body movements popularized in Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ video into a second family.”
This camp is where 98-year-old Norma Miller, Queen of Swing and an original Lindy Hop dancer – and an African American woman – can thank white Swedish people for keeping the dance alive. “The camp started as a weeklong summer event for 25 Swedish Lindy Hop lovers in 1982 and has evolved into a five-week dance camp known as the Lindy Hop Mecca. This summer, the camp drew some 5,000 dancers and 100 instructors from more than 60 countries. Ms. Miller described the camp as a place where students ‘come to inherit the soul of black dancing.'”
Sarah Kaufman: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of the dorkiest things a dad can do is dance, especially in public. … Therein lies the coolness of the real-life dancing dad. He’s the opposite of embarrassing! … Through his dance, he forges a spontaneous, healing bond with his youngster whose power can be felt by millions of onlookers.”
Product design graduate Hadar Neeman saw the feet of a ballerina friend and thought there had to be a way to make a pointe shoe that offers more protection. So she designed one. Custom-printed out of elastomeric polymer and synthetic satin to match a scan of the dancer’s foot, Neeman’s shoes reportedly last three times as long as traditional handmade pointe shoes.
“Even when they waltz, [the dancers] don’t have the lifted posture and arching polish of the best ballroom performers; they’re more ornery than that. … The men arch back — rapturous, trusting — in their women’s arms. Whereupon the women promptly drop them — splat! — to the floor.” (Face down, no less.) (includes video clips)
“The center, 5,500 square feet of performance spaces and buildings along the Hudson River in upstate New York, had a soft opening this summer but is to officially open on Sept. 1 with [Alan] Cumming and [Savion] Glover, who will be joined by the jazz drummer Marcus Gilmore.” The highlight of the fall will be a new piece by Lucinda Childs, set to a score by Pulitzer winner David Lang.
Journalist Gia Kourlas talks to Netta Yerushalmy about her Paramodernities, in which she
puts in the blender deconstructs Vaslav Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring, Martha Graham’s Night Journey, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, George Balanchine’s Agon, Bob Fosse’s dances for the musical Sweet Charity, and three Merce Cunningham pieces (Merce probably wouldn’t have much minded which ones).
The show that launched the modern reality-TV dance competition genre has not featured a single same-sex pair in its 15 seasons on the air. And, despite calls from the public, previous contestants, and even some of the show’s own judges, there will be none this coming season, either.
“You need so many factors, and some of these are out of your hands,” says the founder of Youth America Grand Prix. “The process of becoming a professional is different than being a professional,” points out the director of NUVO Dance Convention. Here are half a dozen problems and pitfalls involved in that transition – and suggestions for getting through them.