Marcelo Gomes’ Choreographic Breakthrough
It’s well known that Marcelo Gomes fires up a stage no matter what role he’s dancing. Whether this American Ballet Theatre principal is Prince Siegfried, the evil Carabosse or a bold force in contemporary works, we cannot get enough of him. He’s also famous for being the favorite partner of a slew of international ballerinas.
Marcelo Gomes and Joaquin De Luz in Tristesse, photos Michael Khoury
What most people don’t know is that Gomes has also been busy choreographing. In the last few years he's made a handful of short pieces including the rhythmically spectacular Paganini solo (2011) and Toccare (2012), a wistful and defiant duet for Misty Copeland and Alexandre Hammoudi, both commissioned by Youth America Grand Prix.
These works reveal Gomes’ supreme musicality, good humor, wit and inventiveness. But Tristesse, commissioned by Ardani Artists in 2014, is something more: a fully formed ballet that takes you on a journey of shared friendship. At the Ardani gala on August 19 and 20, the American premiere of Tristesse triggered great audience excitement. A ballet for four men and an onstage pianist playing Chopin, it's gorgeously musical, beautifully crafted and brilliant in its mood shifts. The inventiveness flows naturally rather than, as in some contemporary ballet, punching the audience with aggressive or bizarre behavior. Marcelo's use of the classical language within a contemporary setting is studded with delightful choreographic surprises.
Friedemann Vogel and Denis Matvienko
Scott Schlexer, Marcelo’s friend and manager, told me that when Sergei Danilian commissioned him to make a new work for Kings of the Dance two years ago, Schlexer was reading the French poet Paul Éluard and suggested that the line “adieu tristesse, bonjour tristesse” could be used for a title. "The seed…was the idea of four childhood friends coming together to reminisce after many years apart. Marcelo took that idea and ran with it,” says Schlexer.
Tristesse is a ballet that makes you feel something because the four men reveal very real feelings of camaraderie, competition and tenderness. Of course, not every critic liked it, and it could be improved. I thought that if Gomes got rid of the blackouts so that we wouldn't be confused by false endings, and if he tweaked the final ending, Tristesse could be taken into the repertory of a major company. The last scene, where Gomes was left alone, dejected, undermines the camaraderie and joy that have been accumulating. (It turns out the role of the loner at the end was originally made for Ivan Vasiliev, who incurred an injury after the first performance.)
Last year, when he received a Dance Magazine Award, Gomes spoke about why he likes to choreograph: “I love how music makes me feel, and being creative with dancers is incredibly fulfilling.”
Vogel, De Luz, Matvienko and Gomes
It shows. He gave each of the dancers a distinctive solo. Joaquin De Luz’s was juicy, grounded and joyful; Friedemann Vogel’s was expansive; and Denis Matvienko’s was stormy. In the duet sections, they relied on each other in such tender ways that we felt we were getting to know each of them, and the ballet kept revealing things about human interaction.
Booking a gig on a cruise ship can feel like you're diving into the unknown—dropping everything to live in the middle of the ocean without family, friends or cell service. But cruise jobs can also offer incredible rewards, like traveling the world for free and delving into a new style.
Is ship life the right fit for you? Here are some elements to consider.
We knew that New York downtown dance darling Okwui Okpokwasili was a big deal. Critics and audiences have been raving about her dance-theater works for years, and the new documentary about her, Bronx Gothic, has attracted the attention of the larger arts community.
But never in our wildest dreams did we imagine she'd show up in a Jay Z video, along with flex dancer Storyboard P. Though we're slightly less surprised to see Storyboard in Jay Z's "4:44" video than we were to see Okpokwasili, we're jazzed that two of our favorites are featured on such a huge platform. (We're also feeling #blessed that we didn't have to subscribe to Tidal to watch this.)
Throughout the years, choreographer Seán Curran has worked with a diverse array of talented collaborators—from Kyrgyz music ensemble Ustatshakirt Plus to the the Grammy Award–winning King's Singers. But perhaps none are as meaningful as his most recent group of co-choreographers: At-risk teens from the after school program and nonprofit The Wooden Floor.
Curran has been in residence with The Wooden Floor since June, where he's worked with students to build choreography based on their lives and communities:
Their creation will be shown July 20-22 at The Wooden Floor Studio Theatre in Santa Ana, California.
"Besides the stage, baking is my other happy place," says New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi.
Four years ago, she thought her baking days were over when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Manzi had been dealing with pain, frequent illness and joint inflammation for nearly 10 years. Once she cut out gluten, Manzi gradually started to feel better, noticing a transformation in how her body felt and functioned. She found her joints were less inflamed, and she got sick less often.
New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan and American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary spend every day making their hard work look effortless and graceful both in the studio and onstage. That's exactly what makes them the perfect spokesmodels for the dance-inspired activewear line, Belle Force.
To celebrate our 90th anniversary, we excavated some of our favorite hidden gems from the DM Archives—images that capture a few of the moments in time we've documented over the decades.
This image was captured during a 1978 New York City Ballet tour that took the company to Copenhagen—home turf for Adam Luders (right), who trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School and briefly danced with the company before joining NYCB as a principal dancer in 1975. Next to Luders is (of course) George Balanchine, in conversation with ballerina Suzanne Farrell. And looking on with a smile? NYCB's current ballet master in chief Peter Martins.
On March 8, 2016, Rami Shafi found himself inspired to film an impromptu dance video of his best friend, Aaron Moses Robin, improvising on Gay St. in New York City's Greenwich Village. Thus was born Pedestrian Wanderlust, a collection of dance videos that has grown to include a monthly improv jam.
Shafi works with anyone who wants to take part in the project, filming videos in locations chosen by the dancers and later adding music. The videos are shot on Shafi's iPhone in one take and, other than the starting and ending points, are entirely improvised. The editing afterwards—including the music choice—is minimal. "I don't like to edit too much. It's just what it is," says Shafi. "I usually can do the editing on the train ride home."