Karina Gonzalez, © Matthew Karas

As many have pointed out, the United States is a country of immigrants.

But the access to our country has been threatened, and it makes us appreciate the times when people from all over the world were welcomed here. I'll bet each of you could come up with a list of inspiring dancers, teachers or choreographers who came to the U.S. to start a new life. My list, alphabetically organized, is below. But first, two quotes:

"In America, the foreigner is more American than anybody," —Balanchine, quoted in Dance Ink, Winter 1992/93

"Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere."—Jean Rhys

One could say the same of dance, as it has a way of finding aesthetic homes for those who are committed to their dance lives.

Historical Figures

George Balanchine

Asadata Dafora

Hanya Holm

José Limón

Pearl Primus

Current Artistic Directors

Victor Alexander

Angel Corella

Garth Fagan

Lourdes Lopez

Mikko Nissinen

Helgi Tómasson

Eduardo Vilaro

Stanton Welch

Ashley Wheater

Current Choreographers

Danielle Agami

Solo Badolo

Rohan Bhargava, PC Ezra Noh

Rohan Bhargava

Ananya Chatterjea

Nora Chipaumire

Yoshiko Chuma

Ori Flomin

Simone Forti

Zvi Gotheiner

Patricia Hoffbauer

Miro Magloire

Benjamin Millepied


Cynthia Oliver

Eiko Otake

Koma Otake

Yuri Possokhov

Alexei Ratmansky

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro

Vicky Shick

Willy Souly

Sri Susilowati

Olivier Tarpaga

Sergio Trujillo

Nora Chipaumire


Soledad Barrio

Joan Boada

Fabrice Calmels

Peiju Chien-Pott

Herman Cornejo

Joaquin De Luz

Lorena Feijóo and Lorna Feijóo

Marcelo Gomes

Karina Gonzalez

Victoria Jaiani

Yuriko Kajiya

Kazu Kumagai

Maria Kochetkova

Carla Körbes

Misa Kuranaga

Young Jean Lee

Pascal Molat

Maki Onuki

Hee Seo

Daniil Simkin

Yuan Yuan Tan

Living Legends

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Natalia Makarova

Margalit Oved

Dance History
"Ceremony of Us: Recaptured," PC Ella Bromblin

One reason I love to teach is that sometimes students come up with great ideas.

Ceremony of Us The original Susan Landor photo of Ceremony of Us workshop from 1969

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Soledad Barrio is the undisputed star of New York City's flamenco scene. Photo courtesy Noche Flamenca

The crown jewel of flamenco in New York City is Soledad Barrio, star of Noche Flamenca. A 2015 Dance Magazine Award recipient, Barrio unleashes a pride so fierce it tips over into anger, arms that curl sinuously around her head and heels that jab into the floor at impossibly high speeds. In the new show Intimo, choreographed by her husband, artistic director Martin Santangelo, Barrio and the company perform a variety of short, dramatic pieces interacting with—of course—magnificent musicians from Spain. Olé! Feb. 13–25. joyce.org.

Tulsa Ballet dancers. Photo by Jeremy Charles, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

It's always fun when a ballet company breaks out the bubbly with some good old-fashioned Hollywood melodies. Tulsa Ballet is doing it up big with Derek Deane's Strictly Gershwin, a glam extravaganza with 56 dancers, 3 guest tappers, 4 singers and an onstage orchestra of 46. Strictly Gershwin was called a "whopping success" after it opened at English National Ballet in 2008. It now comes to Oklahoma for its U.S. premiere. Feb. 9–11. tulsaballet.org.

What Wendy's Watching
Arthur Mitchell in The Four Temperaments

When Arthur Mitchell set out to prove that African Americans could excel in ballet, there were many skeptics. He not only created a world-class ballet company—Dance Theatre of Harlem—but he launched a discussion about race and ballet that we are still engaged in.

Who was Arthur Mitchell and how did he get the chutzpah to start a (mostly) black ballet company? Now we have a multi-faceted answer in an exhibit at Columbia University titled "Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's Ballet Trailblazer." It's curated by 2016 Dance Magazine Awardee Lynn Garafola, who is considered the foremost American dance historian.

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What Wendy's Watching
Oltremare, PC Paul Kolnik

Fourteen dancers troop in, all with suitcases as though just getting off the boat. They seem tired and anxious; they don't know what to expect in this new country.

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Kader Attou - Compagnie Accrorap flying high in Attou's The Roots. Photo by João Garcia, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates

The coming weeks see not one, but two companies that can best be described as French cultural mash-ups landing at New York City's Joyce Theater.

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What Wendy's Watching
Geologic Moments in rehearsal. PC Barry Gans

Back in the 80s, Molissa Fenley introduced a luscious, almost Eastern-feeling torque in the body that made her work compelling to watch. Her sculptural shapes and fierce momentum showed a different kind of female strength than we had seen. Now, as part of The Kitchen's series on composer Julius Eastman, Fenley has remounted her 1986 Geologic Moments, the second half of which she had developed with Eastman. The result, which premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music, is a richly textured piece in both music and dance. (The first half has music by Philip Glass.)

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