Meet The Editors
Jennifer Stahl, Editor In Chief
Jennifer has contributed to Dance Magazine since graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in dance and journalism. She's danced for California's Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Israeli choreographer Gali Hod and Cirque du Soleil's 25th-anniversary celebration. She has served as a judge for the Capezio A.C.E. Awards and as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Association. A former senior editor of Pointe, she has also written for The Atlantic, Runner's World and other publications.
Raymond Mingst, Creative Director
Raymond discovered his earliest dance inspiration in print in the photographs of Barbara Morgan, specifically her collaborations with Martha Graham. As an art and creative director he has been recognized with numerous awards. Raymond is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and cofounder of the contemporary art gallery Curious Matter.
Madeline Schrock, Managing Editor
A native of Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Madeline studied ballet at Southern Indiana School for the Arts and was later introduced to modern dance by Bill Evans. While completing her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography at Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, she was cast in a historical reconstruction of Alwin Nikolais' Noumenon celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. As an avid dance videographer and editor, she has worked on video projects for Bates Dance Festival and the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company in Southern California. She later served as a marketing and education manager for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. She is currently the managing editor of Dance Magazine and Pointe.
Marissa DeSantis, Assistant Editor
Marissa joins Dance Magazine having worked as a beauty editor for publications like Teen Vogue and InStyle. She graduated from Rider University with a BFA in dance and journalism, training at the Princeton Ballet School during her studies. She has also danced with The Rock School and South Jersey Ballet Theater.
A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Courtney danced with Lafayette Ballet Theatre before matriculating to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a BFA in dance. She has performed in works by Karole Armitage, Netta Yerushalmy, Septime Webre, Vita Osojnik, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Giada Ferrone and Fairul Zahid, among others. She continues to take class, create and perform in the city.
Lauren Wingenroth, Assistant Editor
A native of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Lauren is a graduate of Barnard College with degrees in Dance and English. She has performed works by Annie B Parson, Mark Dendy, Reggie Wilson and Karla Wolfangle, and has danced with with e r a dance collective and TREES. While at Barnard/Columbia she choreographed and collaborated on several original musical theater works, among them the 120th Annual Varsity Show. She now serves as a member of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee.
Kelsey Grills, Audience Engagement Editor
A native Floridian, Kelsey graduated cum laude from Florida State University with a BFA in Dance. While at FSU she had the pleasure of interning at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, where she assisted artists-in-residence such as Liz Lerman, Big Dance Theatre, Okwui Okpokwasili and Dayna Hanson. In 2014 she received the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award which provided funding for her documentary, and subsequent dance piece, "Two-Point Stance." This work has been presented at numerous symposiums and festivals, including a TEDx performance in Tallahassee, Fl. Her performance career includes dancing with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women), Jennifer Archibald (Arch Dance Company), and Alex Ketley (The Foundry) as well as assisting Choreographer/Filmmaker, Celia Rowlson-Hall. Kelsey currently resides in NYC where she continues to fuel her curiosity through dance and activism.
Wendy Perron, Editor at Large
Wendy danced with the Trisha Brown Company in the 1970s and has performed with many other NYC choreographers. Her own group, the Wendy Perron Dance Company, appeared at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Joyce, Danspace Project and other venues in the U.S. and abroad from 1983 to 1997. The documentary film Retracing Steps: American Dance Since Postmodernism profiles Perron along with seven other choreographers. She has taught at many colleges including Bennington and Princeton, has given lectures on dance across the country, and was associate director of Jacob's Pillow in the early '90s. In addition to serving as editor in chief of Dance Magazine from 2004 to 2013, she has written for The New York Times, The Village Voice, Ballet Review and Dance Europe. In 2011 she was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts' Hall of Fame and was honored by Dancewave in Brooklyn in 2014. She has been artistic adviser to the Fall for Dance Festival and often adjudicates for Youth America Grand Prix and the American College Dance Festival. Currently she teaches a graduate seminar at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and performs occasionally with Vicky Shick. Her book, Through the Eyes of a Dancer, is a selection of her essays, memoirs, and reviews spanning 40 years.
From coast to coast, choreographers have spent the first year of Donald Trump's presidency responding to the impact of his election and what it means for them as artists.
New York City's Dante Brown used rubber Trump masks in his work Package (revamped), which examines the monstrosities of power.
A video titled "Dancers vs. Trump Quotes" went viral last summer, showing dancers taking Trump's "locker-room" talk to task.
Alexis Convento, lead curator of the New York City–based Current Sessions, dedicated a whole program to the concept of resistance, while educator and interdisciplinary artist Jill Sigman has initiated a workshop called "Body Politic, Somatic Selves," as a space for movement research around questions of support, activism and solidarity.
In San Francisco, choreographer Margaret Jenkins facilitated a panel of artists about the role of activism within their work.
When London-based perfume company The Beautiful Mind Series was looking for a collaborator for their next scent, they skipped the usual celebrity set and brought in prima ballerina Polina Semionova instead. "I was fascinated by what goes on in the mind of a great dancer," perfumer Geza Schoen said in a press release. Semionova's ballet-inspired scent, Precision & Grace, celebrates the intelligence and beauty behind her craft.
Courtesy of The Beautiful Mind Series
Growing up in inner city Rochester, NY, Aesha Ash was just one of the neighborhood kids. She'd imagine people driving by, judging her by her black skin.
"They'd never know that I was dreaming of becoming a professional ballet dancer. No one would think, Some day she's going to make it into New York City Ballet," says Ash.
After an inspiring career at NYCB, Béjart's Ballet Lausanne and LINES, the January 2006 Dance Magazine cover star—one of our 25 to Watch that year—is no longer performing. But she's determined to use her dance background to change the stereotypes and misconceptions that people—including black people—have about women of color. "I want to show it's okay to embrace our softer side, and let the world know we're multidimensional," says Ash.
Aesha Ash in Richmond, CA. PC Renee Scott via swandreamsproject.org
In 2011, she launched the Swan Dreams Project to inspire kids in the community she grew up in. The original idea was to post images of herself in a tutu all over Rochester. "I remember growing up and in the bodega you'd see images of girls in bikinis on motorbikes," says Ash. "I wanted to replace those with photos that show women of color in a different light."
She knew the power imagery can have: She still remembers what it felt like as a student at the School of American Ballet to see a photo of black ballet dancer Andrea Long. "That image was everything on days when I was feeling disenchanted. I'd see that picture of her, and know that the struggles I was going through, she went through them, too."
Ash soon realized she didn't have the budget to fund her original plan ("I never realized how expensive a bus stop advertisement is!"). But she's made the images available through an online store, and often simply gives away prints at her own expense to schools and students in need of some inspiration.
Any proceeds she makes from the sales go directly to other organizations that are working to expand ballet in diverse communities. One large donation even led to a pointe shoe fund at dancer Robyn Gardenhire's City Ballet of Los Angeles school—and it helped one dancer who had quit ballet because of the expense come back to class.
Now a mother of two in San Jose, CA, Ash will also start teaching a free after-school ballet class at her daughter's public school next month. "I recently taught at Girls Inc. in Oakland, and one of the little black girls said, 'Are you the ballet teacher?' She just stood there, staring at me with her mouth open, like a unicorn had just walked into the room," Ash says. "You never know the impact you can have just by being a presence."
Ever find yourself lusting after that six o'clock penché, or a développé that will reach your nose? You're not alone. The eye is naturally drawn to the end points of a movement, and, in dance, that often translates to the highest extension.
But what if you're born without extreme, Instagram-worthy lines? It's a matter of developing a laser focus on alignment as well as strengthening and stretching with better body mechanics in mind.
The ever-so-busy Kyle Abraham is back in New York City for a brief visit with his company Abraham.In.Motion as they prepare for an exciting spring season of new endeavors with some surprising guests. The company will be debuting a new program at The Joyce Theater on May 1, that will include two new pieces from Abraham, restaged works by Doug Varone and Bebe Miller, and a world premiere from Andrea Miller. Talk about an exciting line-up!
We caught up with Abraham during a recent rehearsal where he revealed what he is tired of hearing in the dance community.
Choreographer Tero Saarinen has a proclivity for the peculiar—and for epic orchestral music. That he should be commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to create a new dance work to accompany the U.S. premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Cello Concerto en forme de pas de trois only makes sense. Zimmermann's eerie, difficult-to-classify composition falls squarely in Saarinen's wheelhouse. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Jan. 19–21. laphil.com.
Two competition routines are equal in technical proficiency, artistry and choreography. One consists of all girls, the other includes a boy. Guess which takes home first prize?
If you guessed the one with the boy, you may be privy to an unspoken and much-debated phenomenon in the competition dance world: The Boy Factor. According to The Boy Factor, a competitive piece is more likely to win if there's a boy in it.
"If it's all technically equal and one group is all girls and the other group has a boy, the one with the boy will win," says Rysa Childress, owner of All Star Studios in Forest Hills, New York. "Boy soloists are sometimes scored higher than more technically proficient girls because if a boy has good stage presence, we let him slide," says an anonymous competition judge. "And most of the feedback will be for the boy."
I'll never forget something Roberto Bolle once told me when I was interviewing him about his workout regimen: Talking about how much he loved to swim, he said, "I would love to go in the Italian sea, but I am too well-known there to show up in my suit."
It always amused and kinda shocked me that a ballet dancer could reach that level of fame. But it's true: In his native Italy, Bolle is a bonafide celerity.
Everyone knows that community college is an affordable option if a four-year school isn't in the cards. But it can also be a solid foundation for a career in the dance field. Whether students want an associate in arts degree as a precursor to obtaining a bachelor's, or to go straight into the performing world, the right two-year dance program can be a uniquely supportive place to train. Don't let negative stereotypes prevent you from attending a program that could be right for you:
Conscientious theatergoers may be familiar with The School for Scandal, The School for Wives and School of Rock. But how many are also aware of the school of Fosse?
The 1999 musical, a posthumous exploration of the choreographic career of Bob Fosse, ran for 1,093 performances, winning four Tonys and 10 nominations; employing 32 dancers; and, completely unintentionally, nurturing a generation of Broadway choreographers. You may have heard of them: Andy Blankenbuehler and Sergio Trujillo danced in the original cast, Josh Rhodes was a swing, and Christopher Gattelli replaced Trujillo when he landed choreography jobs in Massachusetts and Canada. Blankenbuehler remembers that when Trujillo left, "It was as if he was graduating."