Our New Fave Dance Partners: Maria Kochetkova and Blood Orange
Just when we started to think Maria Kochetkova couldn't get any cooler, the latest Blood Orange music video dropped. Blood Orange, if you're wondering, is the name by which British singer/songwriter Dev Hynes has styled himself for his solo music work. "I Know" features the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre principal/international ballet star/style icon performing opposite Hynes himself in an otherwise empty dance studio. For the first minute, Kochetkova warms up in the background (actually, it looks like she's mostly doing snippets of Swan Lake in her socks) while Hynes sings to the camera, but once he joins her in the center the dancing doesn't stop.
They start with a simple call-and-response—a quirky smattering of phrases originating from a second position plié, Kocketkova showing a crisp version of the choreography immediately after Hyne's less technical (though impressively full-bodied) take.
And then there's a glorious 30 seconds of slow-motion footage in which Kochetkova does a few partnered grand rond de jambes and développés—talk about motivation to spend a little extra time working on adagio.
Part of what's so fun about the video is that the majority of it feels like fun outtakes—Kochetkova sweeping a foot past Hynes' face when he's looking the other way, the two conferring over a bit of choreography or laughing when something doesn't go quite as planned.
It's like getting to sit in the studio with the two artists collaborating, rather than just seeing a polished end product. The result is charmingly unstudied, especially since Hynes is so unselfconscious in his dancing.
Of course, this isn't Hynes's first foray into dance. The music video for Blood Orange's "You're Not Good Enough" features a whole cast of professional dancers. Even though their dancing is highly choreographed (credited to Sarah Shell), the setup recalls a rehearsal setting for a television appearance, giving the video a more relaxed vibe that is both refreshing and perfectly suited to Blood Orange's chill music.
This fall has been full of surprising dance-centric video collaborations, from Ryan Heffington and Spike Jonze's perfume commercial to Lil Buck and Jon Boogz's "Color of Reality," and we're hoping that this won't be the last of them. Check out the full "I Know" video below.
"Besides the stage, baking is my other happy place," says New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi.
Four years ago, she thought her baking days were over when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Manzi had been dealing with pain, frequent illness and joint inflammation for nearly 10 years. Once she cut out gluten, Manzi gradually started to feel better, noticing a transformation in how her body felt and functioned. She found her joints were less inflamed, and she got sick less often.
New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan and American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary spend every day making their hard work look effortless and graceful both in the studio and onstage. That's exactly what makes them the perfect spokesmodels for the dance-inspired activewear line, Belle Force.
To celebrate our 90th anniversary, we excavated some of our favorite hidden gems from the DM Archives—images that capture a few of the moments in time we've documented over the decades.
This image was captured during a 1978 New York City Ballet tour that took the company to Copenhagen—home turf for Adam Luders (right), who trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School and briefly danced with the company before joining NYCB as a principal dancer in 1975. Next to Luders is (of course) George Balanchine, in conversation with ballerina Suzanne Farrell. And looking on with a smile? NYCB's current ballet master in chief Peter Martins.
On March 8, 2016, Rami Shafi found himself inspired to film an impromptu dance video of his best friend, Aaron Moses Robin, improvising on Gay St. in New York City's Greenwich Village. Thus was born Pedestrian Wanderlust, a collection of dance videos that has grown to include a monthly improv jam.
Shafi works with anyone who wants to take part in the project, filming videos in locations chosen by the dancers and later adding music. The videos are shot on Shafi's iPhone in one take and, other than the starting and ending points, are entirely improvised. The editing afterwards—including the music choice—is minimal. "I don't like to edit too much. It's just what it is," says Shafi. "I usually can do the editing on the train ride home."
Many people see dance and choreography as separate pursuits, or view choreography as a dance career's second act. For some dancers, however, performing and choreographing inform one another. "That's just the kind of choreographer I am. I feel things so deeply in my physicality. I have to do it to know it," says Jodi Melnick, who is a prolific performer of her own work. She also maintains an active practice as a performer for other choreographers: Throughout her career, she's worked with Trisha Brown, Twyla Tharp, Tere O'Connor and Donna Uchizono, to name a few.
Though a dual career can be fulfilling, simultaneously inhabiting the roles of dancer and choreographer requires focus, organization and a great deal of energy.
New York City is getting an embarrassment of riches this week—riches of the Emerald, Diamonds and Rubies variety. The Bolshoi Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet and New York City Ballet will be sharing the stage at Lincoln Center to present George Balanchine's Jewels in celebration of the iconic ballet's 50th anniversary.
One of the many stars we're excited to see is Olga Smirnova, our June 2014 cover girl, who will be performing the lead in "Diamonds" as well as the role of Bianca in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Taming of the Shrew next week.
I have always been extremely dramatic. I think "extremely" might even be an understatement. As a child, I was constantly in costume. Never clothes. Always a costume.
When I was 8 we moved into a new house, and took a home video to send to my dad's family. My siblings were performing a song for the camera. I desperately wanted to join them, but they got annoyed and said no. In the video I run out of the room crying hysterically, and you can hear my dad saying, "It's okay, Sam, you can dance for the camera later."
This is followed by about 45 minutes of me dancing. Music changes, style changes, costume changes, the works. Dance was, and still is, the best way I know how to express myself.