Six Reasons We Love David Hallberg
Last Friday, we got to see that David Hallberg is more than a ballet superstar. While recovering from an injury, he is not wasting time. He organized a Legacy Gala program in association with Youth America Grand Prix that presented six international companies he has danced with.
Here’s a partial list of why Hallberg is such a notable member of the dance community (beside his glorious dancing with both ABT and the Bolshoi).
• With an elegance befitting his stature, he inspired us with his talk of passion, presence and possibility. He spoke of his humble beginnings with ABT Studio Company, when he would stand at the doorway in awe of stars like Ethan Stiefel.
• He described each of the companies on the bill with loving admiration. He spoke of the traditions of the Mariinsky Ballet, the artistry of the Bolshoi Ballet, the precision of the Tokyo Ballet and the warmth of the Australian Ballet. He exemplified a wholly generous person who is avid to learn about his craft.
• As a gift to ABT Studio Company, he commissioned a work by Pontus Lidberg—and it’s a winner. Ingenious with props (fans), luxurious in its tableaux (almost like totem poles), tender in its partnering, and musical in partnership with Bach’s "Concertos Italiens." To my eye, it established Lidberg as an original voice in classical/contemporary ballet.
David Hallberg backstage with ABT Studio Company, photo by Henry Leutwyler.
• He cares about the young people who will bring ballet into the future. In 2013, he created scholarship funds for boys to study ballet at ABT’s JKO School and at the School of Ballet Arizona, where he studied as a child.
• He’s curious about other kinds of dance. I’ve seen David at performances of Yvonne Rainer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Batsheva.
• He is bold enough to speak his mind. At the recent wrap-up session for Claudia La Rocco’s Platform at Danspace Project, he said that he felt ballet dancers should take more responsibility for their own artistic growth.
Hallberg’s own sense of responsibility beams out at us, both onstage and off. He honors the traditions of the past while investing in the future. His curiosity about the present leads him outside his comfort areas, and he’s become a valuable observer and thinker in the dance world at large.
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."