Jim Lafferty

"I don't cook for just one or two people," says James Whiteside, stirring a pot on his stove. "My mom taught me to cook and she had five kids. So when I do cook, I go in!"



Aside from breakfast (usually bacon, egg and cheese on an English muffin), the American Ballet Theatre principal rarely cooks for himself during ABT's seasons. He prefers to "forage" for his lunch and go out or order in for dinner, saving the real cooking for when he has friends or colleagues to feed. "I like to have a lot of people tell me my food is delicious," he quips.

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Henry Leutwyler

Let's recap David Hallberg's very busy May, shall we? Last week, we announced the American Ballet Theatre principal as our June cover star.

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Courtesy of Instagram/Doug Gifford

The New York City premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's sugary sweet story ballet, Whipped Cream, made for one of the most exciting spring galas at American Ballet Theatre yet. While we're usually in awe of the gowns the dancers sport on the red carpet beforehand, this time around, it was all about Whipped Cream's colorful and over-the-top costumes by Mark Ryden—and, okay, a few major dress moments, too. Ahead, check out what went on behind-the-scenes.


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Henry Leutwyler

David Hallberg almost quit dancing two years ago. The international ballet star, whose talent and drive had made him the first American to join the Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer, was struggling after a 2014 ankle surgery to repair a frayed deltoid ligament. A resulting mass of scar tissue ultimately required a second surgery. Impingements and Achilles tendinopathy hounded him, making it nearly impossible to plié, as he pushed to get back into the studio.

Meanwhile, he was fielding promising offers to direct companies and curate festivals. Unsure of himself, the American Ballet Theatre principal sought advice from ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie: Was it time to retire and move on to a leadership role, or was it worth giving his recovery another shot?

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Antony Tudor. Photo by Clemens Kalischer, Courtesy DM Archives.

In the May 1952 issue of Dance Magazine, we published excerpts from Agnes de Mille's Dance to the Piper. Of Antony Tudor, she wrote, "I have said Antony's humor was sardonic; it was occasionally diabolic. He also said just what he thought, always a shocking experience. But he retained the unqualified admiration of his pupils....He taught and composed for almost nothing, watched everything with remembering eyes and drank his tea quietly wrapped in his dreams of world ambition. He was a kind of hibernating carnivore." Tudor left London in 1939 at the invitation of Lucia Chase to choreograph for what would become American Ballet Theatre. In ballets such as Jardin aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), Dark Elegies and Pillar of Fire, he exposed his characters' psychological landscapes without being overtly dramatic.

Below are some of our favorite images of Tudor that we've found in the DM Archives. (Spoiler alert: We've yet to catch him not wearing at least part of a suit, unless he's in costume.)

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Paloma Herrera in the studio with Colón's dancers. Photo by La Nación/Maximiliano Amena, Courtesy La Nación

Paloma Herrera's final performance of Giselle in 2015, like the rest of her 24-year career with American Ballet Theatre, was impeccable. The New York Times described her as "wonderfully musical, unexaggerated and unmannered," words that more or less encapsulate the quality of her dancing in a vast array of classical and contemporary works.

Now, just two years after her retirement and subsequent return to her native Argentina, she has a new role: director of her country's largest and most celebrated ballet company, the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón. The company, founded in 1925, has around 100 dancers and a storied past—as well as a gorgeous home theater—but has been hobbled in recent years by meager seasons, labor strife and a crisis of confidence in its leadership.

Herrera's directorship was announced in a surprise press conference in February and she got to work right away. As she says, she has barely left the theater since.

So, what happened to the freedom you were looking forward to after your retirement?

I know! Where did it go? I'm in rehearsals and then, during my breaks, I'm in the office, and afterwards I stay late answering emails. I have no life! But I'm happy.

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Ballet lovers everywhere are dreaming of DC this week: Ballet Across America is taking over the Kennedy Center with help from two of ballet's favorite stars, Misty Copeland and Justin Peck.

But no matter where you are, you can still catch a taste of the festival. In addition to all the live performances, the Kennedy Center also commissioned a pair of short films by filmmaker (and former Miami City Ballet dancer) Ezra Hurwitz. Both premiered during the opening night celebration on Monday.

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Cassandra Trenary in rehearsal with Daniil Simkin. Photo by Jim Lafferty.

When the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts announced their tenth and final round of $50,000 fellowships for performing and visual artists last week, it wasn't exactly a surprise to see Cassandra Trenary's name on the list. The American Ballet Theatre soloist sparkles onstage in classical rep (particularly in works by Alexei Ratmansky), but hasn't been content with a typical company career. She's constantly working on outside projects; in fact, when we caught up with her she was in between a rehearsal with Gemma Bond and a preview showing of an Alejandro Cerrudo–choreographed project she'll perform with Daniil Simkin this fall.

How did you react when you got the news that you were receiving the fellowship?

I was so overjoyed of course, but also kind of felt this pressure all of a sudden. There were so many things I had set out to do if I received it, and now that I have I've got a lot of work to do! I'm looking forward to challenging myself in ways I've never had a chance to before.

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