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By Wendy Perron
The dancing life is so hard that we all appreciate someone to push us, guide us, and say we can do it. Someone to look up to, someone who’s been there, who has a long view so that we value their insights. Someone to be our training wheels, so to speak, so that we can stand up on our own two feet—whether those feet are in pointe shoes, tap shoes, or bare. For those of us lucky enough to find such a person, we cherish every moment of knowing them. Since Thanksgiving is on the way, Dance Magazine wanted to talk to dancers about their mentorswho are no longer with us. Read “In Memoriam, In Gratitude,” to hear the poignant memories of six top dancers who miss that special person in their lives.
Talking about people we look up to, Dance Magazine gives awards each year to a few who exemplify excellence to all of us. This month we honor four dance artists with long records of outstanding work: Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing, ABT ballet mistress Irina Kolpakova, writer Deborah Jowitt, and—for the first time—a collective, the shape-shifting Pilobolus. Read about the ways in which these stellar figures have contributed to our community.
One of our past honorees, Mark Morris (1991), is now celebrating his company’s 30th anniversary. It seems just yesterday that he was a young renegade, but he has grown into, well, an institution. The Mark Morris Dance Center is like no other organization. With executive director Nancy Uminoff at his side, Mark runs the ship with unabashed exuberance, the expected touch of flamboyance, and a certain eccentric though effective common sense. He applied his infamous sense of humor to our photo shoot, and I think you can see the results. No one has more zest for getting to the heart of MMDG’s appeal than senior editor Allan Ulrich, who has followed Mark’s work since the beginning. In “Marching to a Different Drummer,” he tells why this work is so popular and how—although irreverence is practically Mark Morris’ middle name—he’s reverent toward his own dancers.
Before Dominago stepped out of the picture. Photo by Matthew Karas.