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DANCE

What It Took To Program Robots To Dance The Twist And The Mashed Potato

A video which became a viral hit last month "shows two of Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas research robots doing the twist, the mashed potato and other classic moves, joined by Spot, a doglike robot, and Handle, a wheeled robot designed for lifting and moving boxes in a warehouse or truck. … almost a year and half of choreography, simulation, programming and upgrades that were capped by two days of filming to produce a video running at less than 3 minutes." - AP

Black Dancer Sidelined At Berlin State Ballet Won’t Give Up Struggle

"Berlin first black dancer, Chloé Lopes Gomes, said she has been made to feel different because of her skin colour since she first donned ballet shoes as a child. But after she was again subjected to what she described as 'racism' at Germany's largest dance company, she has launched a fightback that has forced the State Ballet to launch an internal investigation into her complaints." - Yahoo! (AFP)

Remembering The Other Nijinsky — And How She Changed Dance

"The Nijinsky name, however, does not belong to alone. In an era where static positions were the marrow of classical dance, Nijinska envisioned a modernist ballet, one which saw focus shift towards the movement which connected these positions. Ultimately, she believed it was not the final posture that encapsulated the beauty of ballet, but the spaces in between." - The Calvert Journal

Black Ballet Dancers Talk About How To Move Toward Equity And Inclusion

Black artists From Boston Ballet, ABT, New York City Ballet, BalletMet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Tanzcompany Innsbruck, the Trocks, and the pool of freelance dancers describe the challenges they face and what would be genuinely helpful. - Dance Magazine

A Dancer Breaking Ballet’s Gender Norms

What is unique about Ashton Edwards is that he is a man doing serious en pointe work in a professional ballet setting. "Ashton led us there," says PNB director Peter Boal, speaking of Edwards' request to study en pointe. "Ballet can be a little bit slow. We said, 'Why not? Lead us and we will work with you.' " - NPR

Oh, Netflix, Why Couldn’t You Make A Better Ballet Show?

The plot has issues. The characters have issues. The filming of dance itself has issues. "Then there are the voice-overs, each more overwrought than the next. 'There’s a wicked paradox in ballet,' one intones. 'Great flexibility is expected to blossom in a rigid world. The brutal rules and endless isolation, the messing of your mind, it somehow contorts your natural tendency to stretch into a perverse expression of a miracle.'" - The New York Times

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Director Has Some Things To Say About The Issues Facing The Festival

For one thing, there was a pandemic last year (and this year), which canceled darn near everything. Then, in November, came the fire that destroyed the Doris Duke Theatre. Pamela Tatge: "We all want to make as much dance as possible happen for our artists and our audience, so, to lose one of our primary spaces was devastating. ... What has been significant to us is people's attachment to that space and to Jacob's Pillow as a beacon for the field of dance. The outpouring of memories, of love and support, has been remarkable." - Berkshire Eagle

A Black Dance Company In Los Angeles Gets Serious Funding

Black arts groups are "historically passed over for foundation funding of this magnitude," but the Lula Washington Dance Theatre won over its grantors. The history of Black arts groups needing funding to get more funding is long and depressing - but things may be changing. - Los Angeles Times

Dancers Are Still Trying To Break Down Gender Stereotypes In Ballet

Ashton Edwards, an 18-year-old student at the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Professional Division, got tired of studying for and dancing "male roles." Last year, the dancer said was ready to go after something else - en pointe work. Peter Boal, the ballet's artistic director: "Ballet can be a little bit slow. We said, 'Why not? Lead us and we will work with you.' " - NPR

This Broadway Chorus Boy Is Dancing TikTok Duets With The Great Tap Stars Of Yesteryear

"Cory Lingner … using the app to tap alongside some of the most iconic movie stars, including Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines, Ann Miller and Shirley Temple. And, no, he doesn't have a time-traveling device. Lingner has perfected the use of the app's duet feature. On one side of the video is a clip of the tap-dancing icon and on the other is Lingner, dancing in unison." - Dance Spirit

Paris Opera Ballet Says It Will Get Rid Of Racial Stereotypes, And Conservatives Flip Out

Talking to Le Monde about diversity, racial equity, and blackface/yellowface in the ballet company, the world's oldest, new Paris Opera chief Alexander Neef said, "Some works will no doubt disappear from the repertoire." Critics on the political and cultural right in France immediately attacked the arrival of North American-style "cancel culture": Marine Le Pen tweeted about "anti-racism gone mad," and Le Monde's editor in chief groused that France is "slowly going down the American road, consisting of the runaway self-censorship of artists and programmers in order to avoid trouble." - Yahoo! (AFP)

Loose Lips Sink Ships: Nina Ananiashvili Loses New Job One Week After She Announced It

Last week the former prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, ABT, and the Houston Ballet told the Georgian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that she had accepted the directorship of the ballet company at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater in Russia's third-largest city. However, she wasn't even scheduled to meet the dancers until late January, and telling the press about the job before telling her new colleagues did not go down well. Her contract has been terminated. - Georgia Today

Meet Someone Who Has Worked At ABT For 50 Years

" Jones was first hired by ABT co-founder Lucia Chase when the company needed a short woman for the corps. She spent eight years as a dancer, … and began transitioning to the artistic staff in 1976 while assisting Twyla Tharp in Push Comes to Shove. … Maybe more than anything, Jones has been a trusted right hand for three artistic directors, guiding and coaching multiple generations of corps dancers at the company. As she celebrates her 50-year milestone, Dance Magazine decided to pick her brain about what she's seen as the key elements of success." - Dance Magazine

Kansas City Ballet Took A Long Time, But Finally Canceled The Rest Of The 2020-2021 Season

The ballet joins Kansas City's other major performing arts organizations, which will certainly have an economic impact on KC's central performing arts center. - Kansas City Star

Thieves Made Off With Most Of San Jose Dance Theater’s Handmade Costumes

The carefully designed and handmade costumes are priceless for the ballet company, but not useful for almost anyone else, says costume director Renee Forbes. "They can only be used in something like ballets and dance performances. It is not something everyday people need or use. ... These costumes are like my children." - KTVU (San Jose)

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