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From JLaw to Ralph Fiennes, Here Are the Danciest Movies in the Works for 2018
Oh, Hollywood. In any given year, Tinseltown's use of dance in film veers from the woefully disappointing to the surprisingly delightful, but one thing's for certain: It's rarely boring. Here's our not-at-all-comprehensive and completely-subject-to-change list of the new dance-related movies coming soon to a theater (or laptop screen) near you.
Based on Jason Matthews' novel of the same name, the feature film tells the story of an ex-ballerina-turned-Russian-spy (Jennifer Lawrence) and her entanglement with a CIA agent. Crosses, double-crosses and an ill-timed romance ensue, but the real excitement comes from the ballet talent in the cast and crew: Sergei Polunin has a role, Isabella Boylston is Lawrence's dance double and Justin Peck was brought on to choreograph. In theaters March 2.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
We aren't sure how much dancing will be in the final cut of this live-action take on the E.T.A. Hoffmann story that inspired the ubiquitous ballet, but amongst the Hollywood A-listers is one very familiar name: Misty Copeland. She'll lead what may well be the only major dance sequence in the movie, with choreography by Liam Scarlett. In theaters Nov. 2.
A remake of the 1977 horror movie of the same name, it follows a young American dancer (Dakota Johnson) who travels to Berlin to study at a prestigious academy where things quickly take a dark turn. Johnson trained in dance in preparation for her role, but we're expecting more emphasis on terror than technique. Tentatively slated for a 2018 release.
The White Crow
Oleg Ivenko stars as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow. Photo by Jessica Forde, Courtesy Premier
Based on Julie Kavanagh's Rudolf Nureyev: The Life, the Ralph Fiennes–directed drama focuses on the circumstances surrounding the dance legend's 1961 defection. Gabrielle Tana, who produced the Sergei Polunin documentary DANCER, developed and is co-producing the project. The cast includes Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko (as Nureyev) as well as Polunin, with choreography by Johan Kobborg. Tentatively slated for a 2018 release.
Untitled Tiler Peck documentary
A new documentary on NYCB star Tiler Peck is in production. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB
Directed by Steven Cantor (who previously directed DANCER) and with actress Elisabeth Moss as an executive producer, the documentary will follow the New York City Ballet star as she prepares for her curatorial debut with BalletNOW, which took place at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles last July. The program's cast was ridiculously star-studded, with dancers from NYCB, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opéra Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Dorrance Dance joining Peck. We can't wait to see the backstage shenanigans. Slated for release on Hulu in 2018.
A dance-centric biopic based on Carlos Acosta's memoir—and starring Acosta and his company—is in production. Photo by Kristie Kahns
Carlos Acosta will star in this biopic, produced by BBC Films and inspired by his memoir No Way Home, charting his rise to the top of the ballet world. The film's script is from Paul Laverty, best known for his searing, socially conscious work with British director Kenneth Loach. Acosta Danza will also appear in dance sequences choreographed by Acosta. Release date TBA.
Benjamin Millepied is making his feature-film directorial debut with a new Carmen. Photo by Agathe Poupeney, Courtesy Paris Opéra Ballet
Benjamin Millepied's directorial debut for a feature-length film will be a contemporary musical drama inspired by the iconic opera. Millepied will once again choreograph for the big screen (having previously done so for Black Swan) and is working with a creative team that includes composer Nicholas Britell (Moonlight). Filming is expected to begin early this year. Release date TBA.
Sarah Haarmann stands out without trying to. There is a precision and lack of affectation in her dancing that is very Merce Cunningham. Her movement quality is sharp and clear; her stage presence utterly focused. It's no wonder she caught Mark Morris' eye. Even though she still considers herself "very much the new girl" at Mark Morris Dance Group (she became a full-time member in August 2017), in a recent performance of Layla and Majnun, Haarmann seemed completely in her element.
Company: Mark Morris Dance Group
Hometown: Macungie, Pennsylvania
Training: Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts and Marymount Manhattan College
In 2012, freelance contemporary dancer Adrianne Chu made a major career change: She decided to try out for A Chorus Line. "Even though I didn't get the job, I felt like I was meant to do this," says Chu. So she started going to at least one musical theater audition every weekday, treating each as a learning experience. After several years of building up her resumé, Chu's practice paid off: She booked a starring role as Wendy in the first national tour of Finding Neverland.
Approaching auditions as learning opportunities, especially when you're trying to break into a different style or are new to the profession, can sharpen your skills while helping you avoid burnout. It also builds confidence for the auditions that matter most.
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."
It's easy to feel whiplashed thinking about everything Emma Portner has achieved in such a short amount of time. Last fall, the 23-year-old was the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End production (it was based on Meat Loaf's greatest hits). This was, of course, after she already choreographed and starred in Justin Bieber's viral hit "Life is Worth Living," and before she charmed major media outlets when she secretly married actress Ellen Page. Now, she's L.A. Dance Project's first-ever artist in residence, and she's working on a commission for Toronto's Fall for Dance North Festival.
We caught up with her for our "Spotlight" series:
Last month, the International Association of Blacks in Dance's third annual ballet audition for women of color was expanded to include a separate audition for men.
The brainchild of Joan Myers Brown (founder of both Philadanco and IABD), the women's audition was created to specifically address the lack of black females in ballet. However, the success and attention that audition drew made the men feel left out, so IABD decided to give the men equal time this year.
Pina Bausch's unique form of German Tanztheater is known for raising questions. Amid water and soil, barstools and balloons, the late choreographer's work contains a distinct tinge of mystery and confrontation. Today, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's dancers use questions as fuel for creativity. The company's most recent project introduced a new group of performers to the stage: local high school ninth-graders from the Gesamtschule Barmen in Wuppertal, Germany, in an original work-in-progress performance called Veränderung (Change).
Before she became the 20th century's most revered ballet pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova was a frustrated ballerina. "I was not progressing and that was a terrible thing to realize," she wrote in a rough draft of her memoirs.
She retired from the Imperial Ballet stage in 1916, and for the next 30-plus years, devoted herself to creating a "science of ballet." Her new, dynamic teaching method produced stars like Rudolf Nureyev, Alla Osipenko, and Galina Ulanova and later Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. And her approach continues to influence how we think about ballet training to this day.
But is the ballet class due for an update? Demands and aesthetics have changed. So should the way dancers train change too?
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.
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.