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G-Chat Recap: Editors Discuss 2017 Fall For Dance
Fall For Dance is always a huge talkabout here in the Dance Media offices. So after all the programs were performed this year, a few of the editors from Dance Magazine, Pointe and Dance Teacher got together on Google Hangouts this morning to share our thoughts. Here are excerpts from our convo:
Jennifer Stahl, Dance Magazine: So, Fall For Dance 2017—biggest surprises?
Madeline Schrock, Dance Magazine: I'm not sure if it was a surprise, but the energy in the house during Michelle Dorrance's Myelination was infectious. I loved seeing an audience get so excited about dance. Not being able to wait until a section was over to erupt into applause or holler.
Jennifer Stahl: That was like the French hip hop group Cie Art Move Concept. The audience kept hootin and hollerin!
Betsy Farber, Dance Teacher: I always like how diverse and unique the Fall for Dance performances are and it was extra refreshing to see performances like the Cie Art Move Concept in the lineup.
Amy Brandt, Pointe: I didn't really know what to expect from Cie Art Move Concept, but I was really moved. The dances were exciting, of course, but I also thought the piece was very beautiful—I wanted to cheer but I also wanted people to be quiet, to listen to the story.
Lauren Wingenroth, Dance Magazine: Fall for Dance audiences are always super vocal! It's not hard to tell what resonates with them. And what doesn't...
Madeline Schrock: Ha ha. That's so true
Jennifer Stahl: Any obvious duds this year?
Lauren Wingenroth: It was well-danced, but I was disappointed that Polyphonia replaced the Schumacher premiere.
Jennifer Stahl: Yeah, I feel so bad for Troy that they decided to pull his piece
Lauren Wingenroth: I was curious about that—and there was already a Wheeldon on another program AND Polyphonia at NYCB the same week.
Miami City Ballet in Polyphonia, via miamicityballet.org
Jennifer Stahl: Did anyone see both? I didn't feel like Pennsylvania Ballet quite did Wheeldon's Rush justice—the corps especially didn't look comfortable moving at that speed
Amy Brandt: I agree, Jenny. The company seemed to lack cohesion in the Wheeldon piece. But Alexandra Hughes really stood out to me.
Jennifer Stahl: I loved Ana Calderon, too. How about Sara Mearns' piece with Honji Wang?
Madeline Schrock: It was disappointing. I went with Courtney [a DM assistant editor] and she mentioned that, in theory, the concept was okay, but the execution of it was something entirely different.
Jennifer Stahl: If only they hadn't brought out a ballet barre... Or done something more interesting with it
Madeline Schrock: I'm all for cross-genre collaborations, and I think there's a lot dancers can learn from each other. But this felt too cliché.
Jennifer Stahl: It made me wonder if the choreographers had seen other collaborations like this, like Tiler Peck and Bill Irwin last year
Madeline Schrock: Which, even that felt unfinished to me. But at least it was entertaining and emphasized each dancer's prowess in a fun way.
Lauren Wingenroth: Was anyone else wistful for Dorrance's original Myelination from 2 (3?) years ago? I missed the simplicity of it—I loved this one but it seemed to be trying to do just a little too much.
Jennifer Stahl: Well, she is a "genius" now...that's gotta be a lotta pressure to be creative
Lauren Wingenroth: True!
Madeline Schrock: I appreciated that she dared to go in different directions, even if some sections felt more "successful" than others.
Jennifer Stahl: For me, with all the collaborations and fancy things Fall For Dance offers, my favorite piece was probably the simplest: Petronio dancer Nicholas Sciscione in Steve Paxton's solo Excerpt from Goldberg Variations. He's such a compelling performer
Amy Brandt: He looked fantastic in that!
Betsy Farber: I LOVED Excerpt from Goldberg Variations too
Lauren Wingenroth: My fave was simple too: Trisha Brown's You can see us
Madeline Schrock: I loved that duet too. It reminded me of how good that type of movement can feel on your body.
Lauren Wingenroth: It had such a quiet beauty, and the two dancers moved so similarly that you could almost believe they were a mirror—and yet they both brought their own flair to it too.
Madeline Schrock: There was something so calming and trancelike about it.
Lauren Wingenroth: Exactly.
Madeline Schrock: And their timing!
Lauren Wingenroth: Yeah it was so nuanced.
Cecily Campbell and Jaime Scott in Trisha Brown's You Can See Us. Photo by Stephanie Berger
Amy Brandt: It was fun to see the Trocks in the mix, too.
Jennifer Stahl: What'd they perform?
Amy Brandt: Paquita
Jennifer Stahl: Fun!
Amy Brandt: With all the talk on gender and ballet these last few weeks, it was kind of ironic to see the Trocks on the same program as Ratmansky!
Lauren Wingenroth: Ha.
Jennifer Stahl: Ha! Good point. How was that Ratmansky piece for ABT?
Amy Brandt: It felt a bit too sentimental for my taste, and I couldn't quite follow the story.
Lauren Wingenroth: What about Kyle Abraham's new piece?
Jennifer Stahl: I enjoyed it! I don't think it's one of his greatest hits, but I loved the music—and the energy of his dancers. I could watch Tamisha Guy for hours and not get bored
Kyle Abraham's Drive. Photo via Twitter
Madeline Schrock: The audio at the end of Kyle's piece, that was Obama's voice backwards, right?
Jennifer Stahl: Oh, I didn't catch that! What was he saying?
Madeline Schrock: I was pretty sure it was him. You couldn't make out the words but I recognized the voice.
Jennifer Stahl: Interesting. The ending actually kind of felt a little unresolved to me, with the solo dancer onstage. It was kind of that awkward moment where the audience isn't sure whether to clap or not
Madeline Schrock: I will say that at least it didn't go on for too long...which I felt like some of the FFD pieces did
Jennifer Stahl: True. I loved Gauthier Dance's piece by Andonis Foniadakis for like the first 10 minutes, then it just kept going on...
Jennifer Stahl: Speaking of things just going on... any last thoughts before we wrap up?
Lauren Wingenroth: This was fun!
Betsy Farber: Makes me wish I would have gone more than one night!
Jennifer Stahl: There are so many great performances going on in NYC this time of year—but Fall For Dance always remains a must-do. Even if you can't make it to all the shows.
What'd you think of the shows? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.
I love being transgender. It's an important part of the story of why I choreograph. Although I loved dance from a very young age, I grew up never seeing a single person like me in dance. So how could I imagine a future for myself there?
The enormous barriers I had to overcome weren't internal: I didn't struggle with feelings of dysphoria, and I wasn't locked down by shame.
The dance community is heartbroken to learn that 14-year-olds Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran were among the 17 people killed during the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Guttenberg was a talented competition dancer at Dance Theatre in Coconut Creek, FL, according to a report from Sun Sentinel. Dance Theatre owner Michelle McGrath Gerlick shared the below message on her Facebook page, encouraging dancers across the country to wear orange ribbons this weekend in honor of Guttenberg, whose favorite color was orange.
In today's dance world, it seems to go without saying: The more varied the training, the better. But is that always the case? Rhonda Malkin, a New York City–based dance coach who performed with the Radio City Rockettes, thinks trendy contemporary techniques that emphasize improvisation and organic movement quality are detrimental to the precision and strength needed to be a Rockette, in a traditional Broadway show or on a professional dance team. Her view is controversial: "If you really want to work, making $40,000 in three months for the Rockettes or $25,000 in one day filming a commercial, you need ballet, Broadway jazz, tap, hip hop—not contemporary," she says.
On the flip side, techniques that allow dancers more freedom may help them connect more deeply with their body and artistry, while providing release for overused muscles. We broke down the argument for both sides:
For many dancers, a "warmup" consists of sitting on the floor stretching their legs in various positions. But this strategy only reduces your muscles' ability to work properly—it negatively affects your strength, endurance, balance and speed for up to an hour.
Save your flexibility training for the end of the day. Instead, follow a warmup that will actually help prevent injury and improve your body's performance.
According to the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, a smart warmup has four parts: "a gentle pulse-raising section, a joint mobilization section, a muscle lengthening section and a strength/balance building section."
A statement released yesterday by New York City Ballet and School of American Ballet reported that an independent investigation was unable to corroborate allegations of harassment and abuse against former ballet master in chief Peter Martins, according to The New York Times. This marks the end of a two-month inquiry jointly launched by the two organizations in December following an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment and violence.
The statement also included new policies for both the company and school to create safer, more respectful environments for the dancers, including hiring an independent vendor to handle employee complaints anonymously. These changes are being made despite the independent investigation, handled by outside counsel Barbara Hoey, purportedly finding no evidence of abuse.
Not all ballet dancers cling to their youth. At 26, Lauren Lovette, the New York City Ballet principal, has surpassed the quarter-century mark. And she's relieved.
"I've never felt young," she says. "I can't wait until I'm 30. Every woman I've ever talked to says that at 30 you just don't care. You're free. Maybe I'll start early?"
When Beatlemania swept through the U.S. in the 1960s, Mark Morris was one of millions of young Americans who fell head over heels for the revolutionary group. "I was not immune," the choreographer says. "My sisters were mad about The Beatles and so was I. At age 12 I had a crush on Paul, of course."
Flash forward 50 years and he is still rocking to the British band, but this time with a new Beatles-inspired dance work his company is touring across North America, starting this month with scheduled stops in Seattle, Toronto, Portland, Oregon, and another 25 cities before the end of 2019.
You could call it island-hopping, but it's not exactly a vacation. After choreographing last season's Come From Away, and winning a Tony nomination, Kelly Devine zipped from frosty Newfoundland to the Caribbean beach resort that is the setting for Escape to Margaritaville.
In the fall, she was shuttling between them, before they start this month: flying to Toronto to prepare a new Canadian production of Come From Away, then jetting back to Chicago for the final stop of Margaritaville's four-city pre-Broadway tryout.
"These two shows could not be more different from each other," Devine says with a dash of understatement. Come From Away is about the small Newfoundland town where airliners grounded by the 9/11 attacks dumped thousands of unexpected visitors; Escape to Margaritaville, at the Marquis Theatre, is a comic island romance concocted from the beachcomber songbook of Jimmy Buffett.
How does someone go from being a New York City Ballet corps member to training Hollywood A-listers like Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence? By getting injured, says Kurt Froman.
When an ankle sprain left him sidelined a few years back, Froman was "sitting at home, depressed" when he sent his friend Benjamin Millepied an email asking what he was up to. It turned out that Millepied had just been hired to choreograph some scenes for a movie, but had to be in Paris during pre-production. "He needed someone to teach two actors choreography and get them in shape," says Froman. With nothing else on his plate, he said yes, and started prepping Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis for Black Swan.