Is the Colburn Dance Academy Becoming SAB West?
In only two years, the Colburn Dance Academy in Los Angeles has surpassed expectations. Directed by former New York City Ballet stars Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, the Academy has placed grads, either as trainees or full professionals, into Dance Theatre of Harlem, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Fayette and Ringer have brought in NYCB stars like Wendy Whelan to give master classes. Just last week current NYCB faves Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle visited. Benjamin Millepied, director of L.A. Dance Project and an advisor to Colburn, has also been in to teach, as has Peter Boal, director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Next year, the students will get the rare opportunity to take class with Helgi Tomasson, visionary director of San Francisco Ballet. Millepied, Boal and Tomasson are also former NYCB principals. It's a way to extend what Fayette calls the “NYCB family.”
Colburn is a boutique school with only 12 students ages 14–19, so they get plenty of attention. As I noted two years ago when the Academy was just a gleam in the eyes of Ringer and Fayette, hopes were high. Fayette now says they have exceeded expectations. This video of Reichlen and Angle teaching class gives an idea of the caliber of the school.
Will the Colburn Dance Academy become the West Coast branch of the School of American Ballet? Established in 1934 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, SAB is without a doubt the oldest, most storied, continuously running ballet school in the United States. (Disclosure: I’m an alum, having spent two summers there in the 1960s.) It’s such a cornerstone of American ballet training that Jennifer Dunning wrote a book, But First a School, about its centrality in building a ballet culture in this country. And of course, it was SAB that furnished Balanchine with his amazing dancers.
Now the Academy, which is part of the larger Colburn School, offers excellent Balanchine-style training and mentorship to those who live on the West Coast. Half the students are local, and the other half come from as far away as Georgia and Long Island.
Here’s to taking the legendary SAB training westward.
Booking a gig on a cruise ship can feel like you're diving into the unknown—dropping everything to live in the middle of the ocean without family, friends or cell service. But cruise jobs can also offer incredible rewards, like traveling the world for free and delving into a new style.
Is ship life the right fit for you? Here are some elements to consider.
We knew that New York downtown dance darling Okwui Okpokwasili was a big deal. Critics and audiences have been raving about her dance-theater works for years, and the new documentary about her, Bronx Gothic, has attracted the attention of the larger arts community.
But never in our wildest dreams did we imagine she'd show up in a Jay Z video, along with flex dancer Storyboard P. Though we're slightly less surprised to see Storyboard in Jay Z's "4:44" video than we were to see Okpokwasili, we're jazzed that two of our favorites are featured on such a huge platform. (We're also feeling #blessed that we didn't have to subscribe to Tidal to watch this.)
Throughout the years, choreographer Seán Curran has worked with a diverse array of talented collaborators—from Kyrgyz music ensemble Ustatshakirt Plus to the the Grammy Award–winning King's Singers. But perhaps none are as meaningful as his most recent group of co-choreographers: At-risk teens from the after school program and nonprofit The Wooden Floor.
Curran has been in residence with The Wooden Floor since June, where he's worked with students to build choreography based on their lives and communities:
Their creation will be shown July 20-22 at The Wooden Floor Studio Theatre in Santa Ana, California.
"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."