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Curtain Up

By Wendy Perron


Dancers lead such nomadic lives that it’s unusual to find an accomplished ballerina who just stayed home. That is pretty much what Maggie Small did, and she has flourished because of it. Her particular temperament and talent happened to click with her home school and company, Richmond Ballet. After visiting Richmond last year, I have to say that their school must be doing something right to produce a dancer as exquisite, joyful, and versatile as Maggie Small. Read Lea Marshall’s story, “Huge Talent: Maggie Small,” on why her home company is not only comfortable but also challenging.

Small’s very opposite might be Benjamin Millepied, who has traveled the world for his profession. After choreographing for the Paris Opéra Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet, and New York City Ballet, not to mention the movie Black Swan, this former NYCB principal is setting up shop in Los Angeles. He’s starting his own company—and it won’t look like anyone else’s. In “The L.A. Experiment,” Joseph Carman traces Millepied’s development from his childhood in France through working with Jerome Robbins and finally to his current collaborations with composer Nico Muhly.

Pried from his home company, Nacho Duato left Madrid “with only a suitcase with enough clothes for one week” to direct the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St. Petersburg. During my trip to Russia last May, I was lucky to get a very candid (and funny) interview with this world-renowned choreographer for our “Quick Q&A.” I noticed a single painting on the wall of his office. “Oh,” Nacho said ruefully, “I paint when I’m angry or lonely.”

And Dwana Smallwood came home again when she brought her students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls from South Africa to The Ailey School last spring. Read Siobhan Burke’s “Centerwork” about Smallwood’s new mission in life—and the rousing enthusiasm of her students.

As Dance Magazine heads into the new season, we’ve spruced up some of our pages. Our “Letters” page has morphed into “Connect,” a section that reflects all the activity we’re giving and getting on the web. The “Table of Contents” and “Plugged In” have a new look too. Tell me what you think of the changes. You can reach me at my email, or you can follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my Facebook posts at www.facebook.com/wendybperron.

 

Photo by Matthew Karas.

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