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Michelle Dorrance and 7 Other Dance Events on Tap at the Guggenheim
Though New York City's Guggenheim Museum is principally a destination for modern- and contemporary-art enthusiasts, its dance programming seems to be getting beefier each season. This week, details were released for two site-specific events we're practically drooling over. Tapper extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance and American Ballet Theatre pyrotechnic wonderboy Daniil Simkin will perform in the museum's iconic rotunda. Though the commissions won't happen until 2017, we can't wait to see how they use the towering, circular, multi-level space designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Here's a look at what you can expect dance-wise at the Guggenheim within the next year—and how you can relive past events online.
Michelle Dorrance is at it again. Photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy Dorrance.
Plan Ahead: As part of the Guggenheim's Works & Process Rotunda Projects, Dorrance is choreographing a piece that will turn the space's spiraling ramp into a stage. Picture tap dancers scattered throughout the ramp, and just think how those percussive rhythms will resonate. Premieres February 16, 2017.
Simkin's self-directed side troupe INTENSIO will perform in the same space in a work by Alejandro Cerrudo, but you'll have to shift your perspective for this one. The audience will be dispersed along the ramp so they can view the dance from above. Special projections will accompany the choreography and appear on the rotunda's floor and white spaces. Premieres September 2017.
Coming Soon: The Guggenheim's regular Works & Process series, which presents conversations with artists and excerpts of new works at the museum's Peter B. Lewis Theater, has several notable dance events on its fall lineup. If you're a student under 25, you may be able to snag $10 rush tickets an hour before each show.
September 18, Kate Weare Company in Marksman. Six dancers explore the intuitive senses that help us survive.
October 31, Jonah Bokaer's Rules Of The Game. Preview the multidisciplinary work, which features a score by Pharrell Williams, in advance of its November New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
NDT dancers in León and Ligthfoot's Stop-Motion. Photo by Rahi Rezvani, Courtesy NDT.
November 15, Nederlands Dans Theater. Choreographic duo Sol León and Paul Lightfoot discuss their craft, and NDT performs excerpts of U.S. premieres by León and Lighfoot, Marco Goecke, and Crystal Pite.
November 20, Juilliard Dance Division. Preview new works that John Heginbotham, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Pam Tanowitz and Matthew Neenan have created for students from The Juilliard School. The dancemakers will be on hand to chat about their creative process.
December 3–5, 9–11, Peter and the Wolf. Fashion maven Isaac Mizrahi returns to narrate the classic tale set to imaginative choreography by Heginbotham and live music.
Look Back, Watch Now: If you're not in the New York area or just can't wait until these dance events ramp up, check out the Works & Process at the Guggenheim's YouTube channel. From Broadway to ballet, it's stocked with footage from the past several years' events.
Sarah Haarmann stands out without trying to. There is a precision and lack of affectation in her dancing that is very Merce Cunningham. Her movement quality is sharp and clear; her stage presence utterly focused. It's no wonder she caught Mark Morris' eye. Even though she still considers herself "very much the new girl" at Mark Morris Dance Group (she became a full-time member in August 2017), in a recent performance of Layla and Majnun, Haarmann seemed completely in her element.
Company: Mark Morris Dance Group
Hometown: Macungie, Pennsylvania
Training: Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts and Marymount Manhattan College
In 2012, freelance contemporary dancer Adrianne Chu made a major career change: She decided to try out for A Chorus Line. "Even though I didn't get the job, I felt like I was meant to do this," says Chu. So she started going to at least one musical theater audition every weekday, treating each as a learning experience. After several years of building up her resumé, Chu's practice paid off: She booked a starring role as Wendy in the first national tour of Finding Neverland.
Approaching auditions as learning opportunities, especially when you're trying to break into a different style or are new to the profession, can sharpen your skills while helping you avoid burnout. It also builds confidence for the auditions that matter most.
For many dancers, a "warmup" consists of sitting on the floor stretching their legs in various positions. But this strategy only reduces your muscles' ability to work properly—it negatively affects your strength, endurance, balance and speed for up to an hour.
Save your flexibility training for the end of the day. Instead, follow a warmup that will actually help prevent injury and improve your body's performance.
According to the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, a smart warmup has four parts: "a gentle pulse-raising section, a joint mobilization section, a muscle lengthening section and a strength/balance building section."
It's easy to feel whiplashed thinking about everything Emma Portner has achieved in such a short amount of time. Last fall, the 23-year-old was the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End production (it was based on Meat Loaf's greatest hits). This was, of course, after she already choreographed and starred in Justin Bieber's viral hit "Life is Worth Living," and before she charmed major media outlets when she secretly married actress Ellen Page. Now, she's L.A. Dance Project's first-ever artist in residence, and she's working on a commission for Toronto's Fall for Dance North Festival.
We caught up with her for our "Spotlight" series:
Last month, the International Association of Blacks in Dance's third annual ballet audition for women of color was expanded to include a separate audition for men.
The brainchild of Joan Myers Brown (founder of both Philadanco and IABD), the women's audition was created to specifically address the lack of black females in ballet. However, the success and attention that audition drew made the men feel left out, so IABD decided to give the men equal time this year.
Pina Bausch's unique form of German Tanztheater is known for raising questions. Amid water and soil, barstools and balloons, the late choreographer's work contains a distinct tinge of mystery and confrontation. Today, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's dancers use questions as fuel for creativity. The company's most recent project introduced a new group of performers to the stage: local high school ninth-graders from the Gesamtschule Barmen in Wuppertal, Germany, in an original work-in-progress performance called Veränderung (Change).
Before she became the 20th century's most revered ballet pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova was a frustrated ballerina. "I was not progressing and that was a terrible thing to realize," she wrote in a rough draft of her memoirs.
She retired from the Imperial Ballet stage in 1916, and for the next 30-plus years, devoted herself to creating a "science of ballet." Her new, dynamic teaching method produced stars like Rudolf Nureyev, Alla Osipenko, and Galina Ulanova and later Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. And her approach continues to influence how we think about ballet training to this day.
But is the ballet class due for an update? Demands and aesthetics have changed. So should the way dancers train change too?
I love being transgender. It's an important part of the story of why I choreograph. Although I loved dance from a very young age, I grew up never seeing a single person like me in dance. So how could I imagine a future for myself there?
The enormous barriers I had to overcome weren't internal: I didn't struggle with feelings of dysphoria, and I wasn't locked down by shame.
The dance community is heartbroken to learn that 14-year-olds Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran were among the 17 people killed during the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Guttenberg was a talented competition dancer at Dance Theatre in Coconut Creek, FL, according to a report from Sun Sentinel. Dance Theatre owner Michelle McGrath Gerlick shared the below message on her Facebook page, encouraging dancers across the country to wear orange ribbons this weekend in honor of Guttenberg, whose favorite color was orange.
A statement released yesterday by New York City Ballet and School of American Ballet reported that an independent investigation was unable to corroborate allegations of harassment and abuse against former ballet master in chief Peter Martins, according to The New York Times. This marks the end of a two-month inquiry jointly launched by the two organizations in December following an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment and violence.
The statement also included new policies for both the company and school to create safer, more respectful environments for the dancers, including hiring an independent vendor to handle employee complaints anonymously. These changes are being made despite the independent investigation, handled by outside counsel Barbara Hoey, purportedly finding no evidence of abuse.