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These Are The Performances Our Readers Loved The Most This Year
We asked you for nominations, compiled your suggestions and let you vote on your favorites. Here's what you chose:
Best Viral Video
Winner: Andrew Winghart's "Cry Me a River"
• Kyle Hanagami's "Shape of You"
• The Kennedy Center's staff video for National Dance Day
Most Moving Performance
Winner: Alexander Ekman's Joy at the Joffrey Ballet
• George Balanchine's Jewels at Lincoln Center, featuring New York City Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet
• Bangarra Dance Theatre's Bennelong
• Jerome Robbins' Opus 19/The Dreamer at Pacific Northwest Ballet, featuring James Moore and Noelani Pantastico
• Dana Tai Soon Burgess' After 1001 Nights
Winner: NW Dance Project's Carmen, with choreography by Ihsan Rustem, sets by Luis Crespo and costumes by Michelle Lesniak
• Alonzo King LINES Ballet's Figures of Speech, with choreography by Alonzo King, score by Alexander MacSween, audio design by Philip Perkins, visual design by David Finn and David Murakami, poetry curation by Bob Holman, and costumes by Robert Rosenwasser and Colleen Quen
• MADCO's Freedom program, with choreography by Jennifer Archibald, Gina Patterson, Cecil Slaughter and Nejla Yatkin
• Monica Bill Barnes & Company and artist Maira Kalman's The Museum Workout
Best Dance Documentary
Winner: Mr. Gaga, directed by Tomer Heymann
• Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, directed by Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger
• "At This Stage," directed by Ezra Hurwitz
• Bronx Gothic, directed by Andrew Rossi, based on the performance by Okwui Okpokwasili
• STEP, directed by Amanda Lipitz
Most Inventive New Work
Winner: Chicago Dance Crash's The Bricklayers of Oz, choreographed by Jessica Deahr
• Seeing You, co-directed by Randy Weiner and Ryan Heffington, with choreography by Heffington
• E/Space by Melissa Barak
• The Times Are Racing by Justin Peck, at New York City Ballet
• Michelle Dorrance and Nicholas Van Young's Works & Process Rotunda Project, at the Guggenheim Museum
• Raja Feather Kelly's Another F**king Warhol Production
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.
In today's dance world, it seems to go without saying: The more varied the training, the better. But is that always the case? Rhonda Malkin, a New York City–based dance coach who performed with the Radio City Rockettes, thinks trendy contemporary techniques that emphasize improvisation and organic movement quality are detrimental to the precision and strength needed to be a Rockette, in a traditional Broadway show or on a professional dance team. Her view is controversial: "If you really want to work, making $40,000 in three months for the Rockettes or $25,000 in one day filming a commercial, you need ballet, Broadway jazz, tap, hip hop—not contemporary," she says.
On the flip side, techniques that allow dancers more freedom may help them connect more deeply with their body and artistry, while providing release for overused muscles. We broke down the argument for both sides:
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."
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.
Not all ballet dancers cling to their youth. At 26, Lauren Lovette, the New York City Ballet principal, has surpassed the quarter-century mark. And she's relieved.
"I've never felt young," she says. "I can't wait until I'm 30. Every woman I've ever talked to says that at 30 you just don't care. You're free. Maybe I'll start early?"
When Beatlemania swept through the U.S. in the 1960s, Mark Morris was one of millions of young Americans who fell head over heels for the revolutionary group. "I was not immune," the choreographer says. "My sisters were mad about The Beatles and so was I. At age 12 I had a crush on Paul, of course."
Flash forward 50 years and he is still rocking to the British band, but this time with a new Beatles-inspired dance work his company is touring across North America, starting this month with scheduled stops in Seattle, Toronto, Portland, Oregon, and another 25 cities before the end of 2019.
You could call it island-hopping, but it's not exactly a vacation. After choreographing last season's Come From Away, and winning a Tony nomination, Kelly Devine zipped from frosty Newfoundland to the Caribbean beach resort that is the setting for Escape to Margaritaville.
In the fall, she was shuttling between them, before they start this month: flying to Toronto to prepare a new Canadian production of Come From Away, then jetting back to Chicago for the final stop of Margaritaville's four-city pre-Broadway tryout.
"These two shows could not be more different from each other," Devine says with a dash of understatement. Come From Away is about the small Newfoundland town where airliners grounded by the 9/11 attacks dumped thousands of unexpected visitors; Escape to Margaritaville, at the Marquis Theatre, is a comic island romance concocted from the beachcomber songbook of Jimmy Buffett.
How does someone go from being a New York City Ballet corps member to training Hollywood A-listers like Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence? By getting injured, says Kurt Froman.
When an ankle sprain left him sidelined a few years back, Froman was "sitting at home, depressed" when he sent his friend Benjamin Millepied an email asking what he was up to. It turned out that Millepied had just been hired to choreograph some scenes for a movie, but had to be in Paris during pre-production. "He needed someone to teach two actors choreography and get them in shape," says Froman. With nothing else on his plate, he said yes, and started prepping Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis for Black Swan.