Boston Ballet and Forsythe Team Up
Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga in Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet.
For most dancers, performing (or even watching) William Forsythe's electric, exaggerated vocabulary is an exhilarating experience. For dancers at Boston Ballet, it will soon be a new norm. Today, the company announced a five-year partnership with the master choreographer starting next season. Although Forsythe will be fresh off his position as associate choreographer at Paris Opéra Ballet this summer, according to a story in The New York Times, preparations have been underway for several years. The dancers have even been workshopping with former Forsythe performer (and Harvard dance director) Jill Johnson to familiarize themselves with his process and style.
So what can dancers and audiences expect? Boston Ballet will add one new Forsythe work to its repertoire for the next five years. Artifact is first up, in February 2017. Although the other works are still being nailed down, artistic director Mikko Nissinen told the Times that he hoped Boston would have the chance to perform works that aren't often seen in North America. No world premieres have been confirmed, but that doesn't mean they're off the table. “Mikko’s support of the work means that the dancers and I can deepen our wonderful relationship,” Forsythe said in a statement to the Times. “And I will have a new home for new ideas.”
It's a major step for the company, especially these days when many dance institutions want a taste of Forsythe. (Both Pacific Northwest Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago mounted all-Forythe programs in 2015, and he's also on faculty at the new dance program at the University of Southern California.)
If you're like me and can't wait until February, get your Forsythe fix with this clip, featuring footage from a compressed version of Artifact danced by the Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and the choreographer's thoughts on the work.
To be honest, we never tire of watching non-dancers tackle a day in the life of the pros. From athletes to average Joes, these videos always give us a good laugh, and they remind the rest of the world that a whole lot of work goes into every dance performance you see. But often times, these dancer-for-a-day videos don't fully understand the importance of training (i.e., you can't just throw on a pair of pointe shoes and give it a go).
That's why we're especially loving this video by Refinery29 that actually gets it. Lucie Fink, host of the R29 YouTube series Lucie For Hire , got a private lesson from American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, and it was endlessly entertaining.
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
We'd love to know what it is that has Pina Bausch, Rudolf Nureyev and Gerard Violette so amused, or what Toer van Schayk (far right) is thinking here, but one thing's for certain: We're terribly envious of the journalist (second from right) who got to be there when this shot was taken in 1986.
It's the end of a long rehearsal day for the dancers of Abraham.In.Motion. They're reviewing phrases of a new work, Dearest Home. It's a pretty typical rehearsal scene. Some dancers cluster around a laptop trying to piece together steps learned long ago. Others review choreography together, working to figure out who remembered which arms correctly.
What isn't typical: The company's director and choreographer, Kyle Abraham, is nowhere to be seen.
That's because while the company is based in New York City full-time, Abraham spends most of his year teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he joined the faculty last September. It's an unconventional model for a single-choreographer–led troupe, almost functioning like a repertory company in which choreographers drop in for a week to set a piece, leaving it up to the rehearsal directors and dancers to keep the momentum going.
La Scala Ballet has a knack for snagging exceptional guest artists, and the company's rare West Coast appearance this weekend at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is no exception. Principal dancer étoile Roberto Bolle will partner both Misty Copeland and Marianela Nuñez in Giselle. And in an extra international twist, they'll be accompanied by the Mikhailovsky Orchestra for the engagement. July 28–30. scfta.org.
Serious dancers interested in musical theater face a difficult choice when applying to college: Should you major in dance or musical theater? "You can make a career following either pathway," says Lynne Formato, associate professor of performing arts at Elon University. If you choose to go the musical theater route, find a program that will challenge your dance technique: