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Seeing the world's greatest ballet companies and comparing their styles and personalities is a ballet lover's dream. On October 4, fans will have the chance to do just that as five companies participate in the third annual 23-hour live-streaming event known as World Ballet Day LIVE. The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and National Ballet of Canada will throw open their doors for four hours each of classes, rehearsals, interviews and backstage preparations on worldballetday.com. Each host company will also show a prerecorded video package of two or three other ballet companies roughly in their time zone.
The inspiration for World Ballet Day LIVE came from The Royal Ballet, which in 2012 hosted its own nine-hour live-streaming event via YouTube and The Guardian website, called Royal Ballet Live. It was so successful that in 2014 the troupe decided to invite other companies for a full-day event starting in Australia and ending in San Francisco. “The goal was to highlight the art form for a wider audience, to create the opportunity to talk about ballet in a different way and to allow general audiences behind the scenes to see what a day in the life of a ballet company looks like," says Mary Beth Smith, San Francisco Ballet's director of marketing and communications.
Due to viewer requests, this year's web stream will feature entire company classes, including barre. Because SFB will be rehearsing for an upcoming tour of Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and performances of William Forsythe's Pas/Part 2016, those ballets are likely to be seen in rehearsal. National Ballet of Canada will feature rehearsals of Onegin, Cinderella and a film of The Dreamers Ever Leave You, choreographic associate Robert Binet's audience-immersive ballet inspired by the paintings of Lawren Harris, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Viewers can bank on there being equally exciting and diverse programming from The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet in the midst of their fall seasons.
The continued participation of the five ballet companies has real advantages. In 2014, SFB saw $80,000 of revenue impact from the webcast by running promotional ticket discounts during the event. “World Ballet Day LIVE gives us the opportunity to create a sense of community with this art form we all care about so much. It's clearly getting a very sizable audience and it's growing pretty dramatically each year," says Caroline Giese, SFB's artistic administrator. Last year the event clocked in 350,000 live-stream views. “It's an opportunity to engage our existing audience and audiences around the world and provide them with the answer to the question: 'How do you do what you do?' "
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.