It's a Ballet Company. But It Doesn't Have Dancers or Rep—Yet.
Creating a ballet company for your city? There are many ways of going about it. Some start from the bottom, creating a school, training dancers and eventually incorporating them into a company. Others begin at the top, rounding up a board, hiring a director and then dancers.
But Indianapolis City Ballet, founded in 2009 by the late Robert Hesse and now led by his son Kevin, presents an alternate paradigm: start with building an audience. After several attempts to sustain a professional company in Indianapolis failed, Hesse and his team are experimenting with a new model: a non-profit producing organization that seeks to bolster the city's dance community by sponsoring events like gala performances, master classes and competitions.
"We endeavor to make Indianapolis one of the great cities for young dancers and dance fans," says Hesse. Generously funded by private donors, corporations and the Indianapolis Foundation, ICB is not associated with any particular school or aesthetic philosophy, but seeks to enrich the cultural life of Indianapolis through exposure to ballet, though not with a company of dancers or a repertory of its own.
A past ICB competition
One of the ways ICB builds the Indianapolis audience is through the ICB Dance Competition, to be held this weekend. Students compete in front of a distinguished panel of judges including Susan Jaffe of University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Melanie Person of The Ailey School and Claudio Muñoz of Houston Ballet, and have the opportunity to win summer intensive scholarships. Students can participate in master classes, a film screening, Q&A sessions and more. The competition aims to bring ballet to the larger Indianapolis community, engaging dance students as well as ballet aficionados.
A past ICB competition
That's just one of the attempts ICB has made to develop a loyal ballet audience. Since its founding, they've held a monthly master class series, with artists such as Ashley Bouder, Herman Cornejo and Patrick Armand teaching up to 30 students at a time and allowing an additional ten observers. ICB has also coordinated with WFYI Public Television to produce and air documentaries and programs that highlight ballet.
A master class with Ashley Bouder
ICB's most visible event is the annual Evening with the Stars Gala, which presents an international roster of guest artists like Daniil Simkin, Sofiane Sylve and Tiler Peck, giving the Indianapolis community an opportunity to experience some of the world's most outstanding exemplars of the form.
ICB's Evening with the Stars Gala
Right now, ICB doesn't have plans for a permanent company. "We believe ICB may be the most exiting 'non-company' in the world," says Hesse.
Where can you watch Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Coppélia and Le Corsaire all in one place? Hint: It also has extra-buttery popcorn.
Yep, it's your local movie theater. Starting this weekend, theaters across the country will be showing Bolshoi Ballet productions of classical and contemporary story ballets.
The dancers file into an audition room. They are given a number and asked to wait for registration to finish before the audition starts. At the end of the room, behind a table and a computer (and probably a number of mobile devices), there I sit, doing audio tests and updating the audition schedule as the room fills up with candidates. The dancers, more nervous than they need to be, see me, typing, perhaps teasing my colleagues, almost certainly with a coffee cup at my side.
When commercial dancer Danielle Peazer took on an ambassadorial role with Reebok in early 2016, she didn't realize the gig would also lead to a career shift. But while traveling with and teaching workshops for the brand, the idea for DDM (Danielle's Dance Method) Collective started to take shape.
Last night, American Ballet Theatre held its annual Fall Gala at the David H. Koch Theater in New York City. To celebrate ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie's 25 years of leadership, dancers from ABT's company, apprentices, studio company members and students from the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School took to the stage in Jessica Lang's The Gift, Alexei Ratmansky's Songs of Bukovina and Christopher Wheeldon's Thirteen Diversions.
But we also love a good behind-the-scenes glimpse—especially when designer gowns are involved. And the dancers gave us plenty of glam looks to obsess over once the curtains closed. Ahead, see our favorite moments from gala straight from the dancers.
Last week Ballet West breezed into New York City's Joyce Theater from Salt Lake City. The dancers are excellent—especially the women (what else is new). The company brought five pieces including works by Gerald Arpino, Val Caniparoli and resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte.
Arpino's last work, made in 2004, is a duet called RUTH, Ricordi per Due ("remembrance for two"). It's about a man haunted by the memory of the woman he loved. Christopher Ruud is strong and sensitive as the man, and Arolyn Williams is riveting as the ghost of his beloved.
Val Caniparoli energizes his dancers with juicy movement, and always sticks to his theme. (He doesn't ramble, and let's face it, long rambling choreography is a problem these days.) In his premiere for Ballet West, Dances for Lou, he takes on the music of Lou Harrison, a composer known for his Eastern sounds and rhythms.
Photo by Filip VanRoe, courtesy Marquee
Your Saturday nights are about to go from "Netflix and chill" to "Marquee and chill." (Okay, maybe we'll need to coin a new phrase).
But seriously, the new streaming app Marquee Arts TV lets you curl up with Bolshoi Ballet's Swan Lake, Sylvie Guillem dancing Mats Ek's solo Bye, a dance film by Cullberg Ballet called 40 M Under, or a documentary about Alonzo King and LINES Ballet. Marquee unlocks a world of digital arts: dance, theater, opera, music, documentaries and film shorts that you can stream directly to your TV or mobile device.
When Simone Forti moved from California to New York City in 1960, she brought with her the improvisational approach of Anna Halprin. As one of the first five students in Robert Dunn's John Cage–inspired composition course (that led to Judson Dance Theater), she was a magnet for two others in that class: Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton. This month the three reunite for Tea for Three, an evening of moving and talking at Danspace Project, Oct. 26–28. It's a chance to see how dance mavericks grow and change and mellow. Forti will also give "Body Mind World" workshops Oct. 19–20. danspaceproject.org.
When you're dancing for what feels like eight days a week, it takes more than just stretching to put your body back in order. You need a good rub down. Unfortunately, most of us don't exactly have the money to afford an on-call personal masseuse.
The solution: Self-massage, with foam rollers, lacrosse balls, elbows and anything else that can help loosen up your muscles. We dug into Dance Magazine's archives to find the best pieces of advice we've published on the topic. Follow these rules to get what you, ahem, knead out of self-massage.