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Petronio on Being Well
The Actors Fund—which, despite its name, serves all kinds of performing artists and backstage workers—presented its fourth annual “Healing the Dancer” seminar in June, with host Bebe Neuwirth and keynote speaker Stephen Petronio.
Who knew that Petronio is a fervent proponent of somatic practices and alternative medicine? After reading excerpts from his forthcoming memoir—an amusing, if tangential, glimpse into his pre-dance years—he explained how Body-Mind Centering can be more effective than surgery and why volunteering is good for your mental health.
On a more nuts-and-bolts level, a panel of Actors Fund staff outlined the many services provided by the Dancers’ Resource. Neuwirth founded this branch of the organization in 2007 to address the special physical, emotional, and financial needs of injured dancers, with everything from medical referrals to counseling groups. If you’re a dancer in need, call them up! See www.new.actorsfund.org.
On opposite sides of the continent, two prima ballerinas are stepping up their dance teaching game. In Vancouver, Chan Hon Goh, former principal with National Ballet of Canada (see “Transitions,” June 2009), has been appointed director of the Goh Ballet Academy. The international star has come full circle, having started her training at Goh Ballet under the direction of its founders (her parents) Choo Chiat and Lin Yee Goh.
Refusing to let finances hinder young talent, Goh has established a scholarship fund that will award a total of $100,000 to 32 students each year.
Meanwhile, the legendary Gelsey Kirkland launches her Academy of Classical Ballet this month in NYC, beginning with a three-week summer intensive. Co-founded with her husband, Michael Chernov, the academy will offer year-round training for students age 10 to professional. Geared toward producing well-rounded classical dancers, the curriculum rests on three “pillars of training”: ballet, core dynamics, and dramatic development. In addition to Kirkland and Chernov, the faculty includes David Howard and Irina Kolpakova. See www. gohballet.com and www.gelseykirklandballet.org. —Siobhan Burke