New Choreographic Residencies in Store for 2016
If 2016 means more dance and more spaces for dance, that's "Happy New Year" enough for me. And it looks like that's the case. This week, two prominent forces in modern dance, Urban Bush Women and Stephen Petronio, announced plans to launch choreographic programs that will support new work and new choreographers.
Urban Bush Women performing Walking With 'Trane at the DM Awards in December. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
Urban Bush Women's Choreographic Center, though not a physical space, will partner with institutions across the country to develop women choreographers of color. UBW is the perfect organization for such a project—the company's founder (and 2015 DM Award winner) Jawole Willa Jo Zollar has created a legacy of nurturing the young black women in her company as choreographers. If anyone can change the landscape of modern dance to support the work of more women of color, it's her and her team.
Stephen Petronio Company in Strange Attractors, the work that inspired a $1 million sculpture. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.
Stephen Petronio's new project takes a vastly different approach—the choreographer has begun a $3 million fundraising campaign to create a physical residence in Pawling, NY, where artists will be able to live and work for long periods of time. But Petronio has a plan to fund this ambitious venture. Visual artist Anish Kapoor has donated a sculpture (inspired by a Petronio work, Strange Attractors,) that will sell for around $1 million. Other artists are expected to follow suit. This model is smart—collaborating with visual artists whose work is valued at a high price to support dance work that is notoriously underfunded—and hopefully will be used in the future in other contexts.
Let's hope the new year brings more good dance news!
To be honest, we never tire of watching non-dancers tackle a day in the life of the pros. From athletes to average Joes, these videos always give us a good laugh, and they remind the rest of the world that a whole lot of work goes into every dance performance you see. But often times, these dancer-for-a-day videos don't fully understand the importance of training (i.e., you can't just throw on a pair of pointe shoes and give it a go).
That's why we're especially loving this video by Refinery29 that actually gets it. Lucie Fink, host of the R29 YouTube series Lucie For Hire , got a private lesson from American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, and it was endlessly entertaining.
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
We'd love to know what it is that has Pina Bausch, Rudolf Nureyev and Gerard Violette so amused, or what Toer van Schayk (far right) is thinking here, but one thing's for certain: We're terribly envious of the journalist (second from right) who got to be there when this shot was taken in 1986.
It's the end of a long rehearsal day for the dancers of Abraham.In.Motion. They're reviewing phrases of a new work, Dearest Home. It's a pretty typical rehearsal scene. Some dancers cluster around a laptop trying to piece together steps learned long ago. Others review choreography together, working to figure out who remembered which arms correctly.
What isn't typical: The company's director and choreographer, Kyle Abraham, is nowhere to be seen.
That's because while the company is based in New York City full-time, Abraham spends most of his year teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he joined the faculty last September. It's an unconventional model for a single-choreographer–led troupe, almost functioning like a repertory company in which choreographers drop in for a week to set a piece, leaving it up to the rehearsal directors and dancers to keep the momentum going.
La Scala Ballet has a knack for snagging exceptional guest artists, and the company's rare West Coast appearance this weekend at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is no exception. Principal dancer étoile Roberto Bolle will partner both Misty Copeland and Marianela Nuñez in Giselle. And in an extra international twist, they'll be accompanied by the Mikhailovsky Orchestra for the engagement. July 28–30. scfta.org.
Serious dancers interested in musical theater face a difficult choice when applying to college: Should you major in dance or musical theater? "You can make a career following either pathway," says Lynne Formato, associate professor of performing arts at Elon University. If you choose to go the musical theater route, find a program that will challenge your dance technique: