- The Latest
- Breaking Stereotypes
- Rant & Rave
- Dance As Activism
- Dancers Trending
- Viral Videos
- The Dancer's Toolkit
- Health & Body
- Dance Training
- Career Advice
- Style & Beauty
- Dance Auditions
- Guides & Resources
- Performance Calendar
- College Guide
- Dance Magazine Awards
- Meet The Editors
- Contact Us
- Advertise/Media Kit
Round Robbins: How the Dance World is Celebrating Jerome Robbins' 100th Birthday
From the over-the-top antics of Fancy Free to the stylized realism of West Side Story, the discomfiting world of The Cage to the poignant humanity of Dances at a Gathering, the work of Jerome Robbins redefined what American dance could be. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, ballet companies across the country are performing his iconic works throughout the year. Here are a few of our favorites, but keep your eyes peeled for more Robbins tributes in 2018.
Miami City Ballet
MCB dancers channel their silly sides for Robbins' The Concert (or, the Perils of Everybody). Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy MCB
MCB's Jerome Robbins Celebration features Circus Polka, The Cage, Other Dances, In the Night and West Side Story Suite, classics spanning over 40 years and illustrating the master's stylistic range. In a delightful twist, Circus Polka will feature artistic director Lourdes Lopez in the role of Ringmaster, making her the first woman ever to perform the part originated by Robbins himself. Miami, Jan. 12–14. Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 27–28. West Palm Beach, Feb. 2–4. For a bonus Robbins treat, his comic masterpiece The Concert (or, the Perils of Everybody) will be performed on a later program with works by George Balanchine and Brian Brooks. Miami, Feb. 9–11. West Palm Beach, March 2–4. Fort Lauderdale, March 17–18. miamicityballet.org.
As part of its Modern Masters program, Joffrey Ballet will present the Chicago premiere of Glass Pieces, set to music by Philip Glass. The angular athleticism of the work, danced by a cast of 42, draws the subtly shifting repetitions in Glass' compositions into focus. Chicago, Feb. 7–18. joffrey.org.
San Francisco Ballet
SFB in Robbins' Fancy Free. Photo by Erik Tomasson, via sfballet.org.
Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Cage, Other Dances and Fancy Free are on the program for SFB's Robbins: Ballet & Broadway. Fancy Free, Robbins' breakout 1944 ballet that later inspired the musical On the Town, is set to music by Leonard Bernstein, whose 100th birthday is also celebrated this year. San Francisco, March 20–25. sfballet.org.
New York City Ballet
Of course NYCB is going all out to honor one of its co-founding choreographers. The Robbins 100 celebration boasts 19 works by the master arrayed in six programs over three weeks, plus a world premiere by resident choreographer Justin Peck inspired by Robbins and set to the music of Bernstein in honor of both men's centennials. New York City, May 3–20. nycballet.com.
And a whole lot more...
Nelson Madrigal and Whitney Jensen in Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet
There's so much going on that we're not even sure we know about all of it, but here are some of the organizations planning performances, film screenings, exhibitions or other events celebrating Robbins this year. Keep an eye on individual websites and the Jerome Robbins Foundation as details and additional events are announced.
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York Theatre Ballet
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Les Étés de la Danse
Dutch National Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Paris Opéra Ballet
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Dance on Camera Festival
The Paley Center for Media
92nd Street Y
Spoleto Festival USA
Sarah Haarmann stands out without trying to. There is a precision and lack of affectation in her dancing that is very Merce Cunningham. Her movement quality is sharp and clear; her stage presence utterly focused. It's no wonder she caught Mark Morris' eye. Even though she still considers herself "very much the new girl" at Mark Morris Dance Group (she became a full-time member in August 2017), in a recent performance of Layla and Majnun, Haarmann seemed completely in her element.
Company: Mark Morris Dance Group
Hometown: Macungie, Pennsylvania
Training: Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts and Marymount Manhattan College
In 2012, freelance contemporary dancer Adrianne Chu made a major career change: She decided to try out for A Chorus Line. "Even though I didn't get the job, I felt like I was meant to do this," says Chu. So she started going to at least one musical theater audition every weekday, treating each as a learning experience. After several years of building up her resumé, Chu's practice paid off: She booked a starring role as Wendy in the first national tour of Finding Neverland.
Approaching auditions as learning opportunities, especially when you're trying to break into a different style or are new to the profession, can sharpen your skills while helping you avoid burnout. It also builds confidence for the auditions that matter most.
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."
It's easy to feel whiplashed thinking about everything Emma Portner has achieved in such a short amount of time. Last fall, the 23-year-old was the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End production (it was based on Meat Loaf's greatest hits). This was, of course, after she already choreographed and starred in Justin Bieber's viral hit "Life is Worth Living," and before she charmed major media outlets when she secretly married actress Ellen Page. Now, she's L.A. Dance Project's first-ever artist in residence, and she's working on a commission for Toronto's Fall for Dance North Festival.
We caught up with her for our "Spotlight" series:
Last month, the International Association of Blacks in Dance's third annual ballet audition for women of color was expanded to include a separate audition for men.
The brainchild of Joan Myers Brown (founder of both Philadanco and IABD), the women's audition was created to specifically address the lack of black females in ballet. However, the success and attention that audition drew made the men feel left out, so IABD decided to give the men equal time this year.
Pina Bausch's unique form of German Tanztheater is known for raising questions. Amid water and soil, barstools and balloons, the late choreographer's work contains a distinct tinge of mystery and confrontation. Today, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's dancers use questions as fuel for creativity. The company's most recent project introduced a new group of performers to the stage: local high school ninth-graders from the Gesamtschule Barmen in Wuppertal, Germany, in an original work-in-progress performance called Veränderung (Change).
Before she became the 20th century's most revered ballet pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova was a frustrated ballerina. "I was not progressing and that was a terrible thing to realize," she wrote in a rough draft of her memoirs.
She retired from the Imperial Ballet stage in 1916, and for the next 30-plus years, devoted herself to creating a "science of ballet." Her new, dynamic teaching method produced stars like Rudolf Nureyev, Alla Osipenko, and Galina Ulanova and later Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. And her approach continues to influence how we think about ballet training to this day.
But is the ballet class due for an update? Demands and aesthetics have changed. So should the way dancers train change too?
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.
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.