Magazine

Performances Onstage This Month

 

From Stage to Stage

MINNEAPOLIS

November is a busy month for Minneapolis’ resident jack-of-all-trades, Zenon Dance Company. Nov. 1–8, it will join in Minnesota Opera’s new Hansel and Gretel, choreographed by Doug Varone. Then, the company will try on the athletic, yet silky-smooth contemporary work of rising Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado in his first piece for a U.S. company, at the Cowles Center, Nov. 21–30. zenondance.org.

 

Above: Alyssa Mann rehearsing Delgado’s Coming Home. Photo by William Cameron, Courtesy Zenon.

 

 

 

Vishneva As Impresario

MOSCOW

Always up for an artistic challenge, ballet superstar Diana Vishneva is producing a festival of contemporary dance in Moscow, where classical ballet reigns. Last year, the event’s first, CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva brought together artists as far apart in style and distance as Cunningham-influenced Richard Alston from London and Israeli/American Barak Marshall. This year the festival introduces L.A.–based contemporary Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY, led by the wildly imaginative Danielle Agami, plus Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Ballet Preljocaj and Germany’s Gauthier Dance. CONTEXT, curated by Holland Dance Festival’s Samuel Wuersten, also aims to cultivate emerging choreographic talent. The festival includes a dance film program and provides a smaller, modern venue for young Russian dance artists to show their work and interact with more established choreographers. “Today there exists a hunger for new things in Russia,” says Vishneva. “We are still missing a choreographer of the Ratmansky caliber.” Fear not: The ravishing Vishneva isn’t just staying behind the scenes. She plans to perform works by Hans van Manen and Paul Lightfoot and Sol León—along with some surprises. Mossoveta Theatre. Nov. 26–29. vishnevafest.com.

 

Right: Vishneva in Carolyn Carlson’s Woman in a Room. Photo by Jerry Metellus, Courtesy Vishneva.

 

 

Elo at X

PHILADELPHIA

BalletX is getting Jorma Elo’s European touch with a premiere at the Wilma Theater, Nov. 19–23. Audiences can catch the troupe’s new hires from Miami City Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet tackling his ooey, gooey choreography. balletx.org.

 

Left: BalletX in Elo’s Scenes View 2. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy BalletX.

 

 

 

 

 

Sashaying with Scissors

U.K. TOUR

Matthew Bourne first showed his Edward Scissorhands, based on the 1990 Tim Burton film, back in 2005. Nearly 10 years later, the storyteller revisits the production, touring this November through March 2015. new-adventures.net.

 

Right: A scene from the original production. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy Raw PR.

 

 

 

 

Just Dance

NEW YORK CITY

What do dancers love most about Broadway? The dancing, of course! That’s the bread and butter of American Dance Machine for the 21st Century, a new troupe with a rotating cast of professional ballet and Broadway dancers, led by artistic producer and founder Nikki Feirt Atkins. The company will stage numbers of pure dancing that run musical theater’s gamut—from Jack Cole’s Someone to Watch Over Me to Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line to Andy Blankenbuehler’s In the Heights. The Joyce Theater, Nov. 11–16. adm21.org.

 

Above: ADM21’s Stephen Hanna and Naomi Kakuk in Susan Stroman’s Contact. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy ADM21.

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Rainbow

CHICAGO

When you hear “Over the Rainbow,” you probably imagine a utopian place. So does Heidi Latsky. Her poignant piece Somewhere creates a world that accepts difference with grace and gravitas: One dancer has Parkinson’s, another is deaf and a third has cerebral palsy. Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Nov. 6–8. colum.edu/dance-center.

 

Right: Saki Masuda and Jillian Hollis in Somewhere. Photo by Darial Sneed, Courtesy Latsky.

 

 

Photo by Julie Lemberger of Stephen Petronio's Untitled Touch (2017) at The Joyce Theater

For the past 3 years, choreographer Stephen Petronio has been reviving groundbreaking works of postmodern dance through his BLOODLINES project. This season, although his company will be performing a work by Merce Cunningham, his own choreography moves in a more luxurious direction. We stepped into the studio with Petronio and his dancers where they were busy creating a new work, Hardness 10, named for the categorization of diamonds.

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'Tis the season to have some fun in the kitchen. If you want to get more creative than simply baking another pumpkin pie, try these Nutcracker-themed treats—created by and for dancers. These recipes from former Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet dancers were first published in Dance Magazine's December 1990 issue. Today, they're still guaranteed to turn any holiday party or dressing room into a true Land of the Sweets.

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It's no secret that affording college is a challenge for many students. And for dancers, there are added complications, like the relative lack of merit scholarships that take artistic talent into consideration and the improbability of a stable salary to pay off loans post-graduation. But no matter your budget, a smart approach to the application process can help you focus less on money and more on your training.

According to Drexel University performing arts department head Miriam Giguere, figuring out the kind of financial assistance a school offers is just as important as navigating what kind of dance program you want. Here's how to incorporate finances into your decision-making process:

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Thinkstock

When dancers get injured, they often think they should eat less. The thought process goes something like, Since I'm not able to move as much as I usually do, I'm not burning enough calories to justify the portions I'm used to.

But the truth is, scaling back your meals could actually be detrimental to your healing process.

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Health & Body
LINES dancer Courtney Henry. Photo by Quinn Wharton

We always figured that stretching made us more flexible by loosening up our muscles and joints. Some of us, ahem, might have even tried to fall asleep in our middle splits to get our stubbornly stiff inner thighs to let go.

But it turns out that might not actually be how stretching works.

A new review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Science & Medicine in Sports suggests that increased flexibility actually comes from your brain growing more used to the tension.

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Dancers & Companies
Nisian Hughes

"Women are often presented as soft, fragile little creatures in ballet," says Léonore Baulac. "We're not." The Paris Opéra Ballet's newest female étoile is discussing her unease at some of the 19th-century narratives she portrays. "It was real acting," she says with a laugh of La Sylphide. "James kills her by taking away her wings, yet she tells him not to worry and goes to die elsewhere onstage!"

Sitting in the canteen of the Palais Garnier, Baulac embodies some of ballet's contradictions in the 21st century. With her fair curls and dainty features, she could easily pass for a little girl's fantasy princess. As Juliet, she exuded a girlish ardor that felt entirely natural; her reservations notwithstanding, her Sylphide was committed and carefully Romantic in style.

Yet the 27-year-old is no ingénue. At Garnier that day, her sweater reads "I can't believe I still have to protest this s**t," a feminist slogan; last winter, Baulac proudly wore it over a Kitri tutu on Instagram. And her repertoire is as thoroughly modern as she is offstage. A versatile performer even by Parisian standards, she is equally at home in Nutcracker as she is in the works of Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

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Dancers & Companies
Photo by Theo Kossenas, courtesy The Washington Ballet

With her fearless demeanor onstage, it's easy to see how Washington Ballet apprentice Sarah Steele attracted the keen eye of former American Ballet Theatre stars Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel. Promoted mid-season from the studio company by artistic director Kent, Steele was cast by Stiefel as the lead in Frontier, his world premiere for The Washington Ballet, this past spring. For the space-themed piece, Steele donned a black-and-white "space suit" onstage, exhibiting dual qualities of strength and grace. Most evocative about Steele's dancing might be her innate intelligence—she was accepted to Harvard on early admission, and plans to resume her studies there in the future. But first, she'll dance.

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What Wendy's Watching

Lots of college groups do stepping—a form of body percussion based on slapping, tapping and stomping—but Step Afrika! is the first professional dance company to do it. They are currently at New York City's New Victory Theater, presenting The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, a show based on the painting series by Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence about The Great Migration of the 1900s, when millions of African Americans fled the Jim Crow South and traveled by train to the North for a better life. The Great Migration transformed the demographics of the country, and Jacob Lawrence's paintings became famous for their bold color and evocative power.

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Breaking Stereotypes
Still from La Folía. Shot by Olivia Kimmel, Courtesy Adam Grannick

As we approach Thanksgiving, there's much to be grateful for. Perhaps one of the most important things on your list is dance. Whether you're a full-time company member, an aspiring professional, an audience member, or you simply delight in dancing in your daydreams, this art form is a creative escape.

That's not to say that being a dancer is easy: Pursuing such a competitive career can be heartbreaking, especially when you're faced with rejection.

La Folía, a short dance film by director Adam Grannick that was recently released online, echoes these sentiments in under 12 minutes.

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Advice for Dancers
Pixabay

It took two years of intense nutrition counseling and psychotherapy to pull me out of being anorexic. My problem now is that I've gained too much weight from eating normally. Is there no middle ground? I can't fit into my clothes, but I don't want to go back to being sick.

—Former Anorexic, Weston, CT

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