Countdown for ABT's Nutcracker
Only eight more chances to see Alexei Ratmansky’s Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music! Next year it moves to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. It may not be as kid-friendly as New York City Ballet’s time-honored version, but it has its own beguiling assets—including a goodly dose of humor.
I loved American Ballet Theatre’s new Nutcracker when it opened in 2010 (although I had a few, um, objections). Visually and psychologically it's very three-dimensional. Clara is a real girl, pulled between her fantasy worls and her wish to grow up. The snowflakes swoop and dive and dart, they don't just drift. The big pas de deux entwines and swirls; it doesn't just hit beautiful lines.
Musically Ratmansky doesn’t make the obvious choices that would match Tchaikovsky’s climaxes. He kind of slithers underneath the music. I posted this blog about his way of subverting the crescendos. My advice is to go there not expecting the big moments but enjoying the richness of his subtler relationship to the music—and the surprising places where the funny parts crop up.
Now I’m getting nostalgic I’m a bit sad that this week will be my last viewing of this wonderful Nutcracker.
But hang on: There’s good news for NYC area audiences. This week three of the most magnificent ABT soloists will dance the lead (meaning Clara as a grown-up): Sarah Lane, Misty Copeland—who just received a Dance Magazine Award—and Stella Abrera, the latter two as debuts. I've written about why these three women, each with an unmistakable individualty, are star dancers even though they are still soloists. (If you want to see a clip of both Misty and Sarah Lane dancing at the Awards, click here.)
Photo: The snow scene from ABT's "Nutcracker." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.
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."