The Best of 2015

This year we gave our readers the power to weigh in on the most memorable dance moments of the year. You nominated performances you loved, voted on the top five and selected a diverse group of artists and productions that span the country. Here’s what you chose as your favorites.

Körbes takes her final bow at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB.

Best Female Performance

In the sea of ballerina retirements this year, Carla Körbes’ farewell stood out to our readers as particularly bittersweet. She was effortlessly regal in Diamonds, and her port de bras exquisite and commanding in Jessica Lang’s The Calling. The end of Serenade, when Körbes was carried offstage by four men, seemed a fitting tribute to her stardom.

Best Male Performance

Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris. Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy AAIP.

“Triple threat” doesn’t do Robert Fairchild’s turn in An American in Paris justice. As the lovesick and exuberant Jerry Mulligan, Fairchild charmed our readers with wit reminiscent of Gene Kelly (the originator of the role in the 1951 film) and the crisp technique that makes him a New York City Ballet star.

Alonzo King’s Concerto for Two Violins. Photo by Quinn B. Wharton, courtesy LINES.

Best Revival

Alonzo King LINES Ballet revived King’s Concerto for Two Violins on tour this year, so readers all over the world could experience his reimagining of Bach’s classic score (used by Balanchine for Concerto Barocco), and the explosive physicality we’ve come to expect and love from LINES.

Best New Production

Fairchild and the cast of An American in Paris. Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy AAIP.

Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris opened on Broadway in April, marking the choreographer’s directorial debut and becoming the most talked about dance musical of the season. Based on the classic film and set to the dreamy songs of the Gershwins, the show stars New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and The Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope. Our readers love the sheer volume of dance in this show—even the set changes are intricately choreographed. And you can’t go wrong with a 16-minute dream ballet and a cast of dancers pulled from top companies around the country.

Cedar Lake dancers in Nelko’s Awakening. Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Nelko.

Best Emerging Choreographer

It was the year of the viral dance music video, and Lindsay Nelko’s, set to Ellie Goulding’s cover of Active Child’s “Hanging On,” landed her on our readers’ map of choreographers to watch. Easily transitioning between concert and commercial, she has choreographed for several television shows, international ballet companies and her own full-length show last summer—her prize for achieving 2nd runner-up at the 2013 Capezio A.C.E. Awards.

DM Editor Favorites

Photo by Paul Kolnik

Jennifer Stahl

Editor in Chief

Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes

“He gave himself an almost impossible task to reimagine such an iconic piece of music—but he did it brilliantly. It felt completely fresh, without ignoring the historical associations we all have with the score.”

Karen Hildebrand

Vice President, Editorial

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s final performance

“Artistic director Alexandra Damiani came onstage to announce there would be a final surprise. The curtain rose on the full company in Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16—the segment where the dancers create a ripple effect of synchronized movements to traditional Israeli music, discarding their suits, shirts and fedoras. It was a memorable way to go out.”

Madeline Schrock

Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT

Managing Editor

Julie Kent’s last performance of Manon

“She was breathtakingly spectacular in the bedroom scene. It was one of those rare moments when you’re overwhelmed with emotions, holding back tears but beaming a smile at the same time.”

Suzannah Friscia

Assistant Editor


“I love how it demonstrates an admiration for musical theater’s history and a vision for its future. It’s a smart, beautiful show, and it will make history.”

Kristin Schwab

Associate Editor

Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21

“The best part was when the credits scrolled and the Batsheva dancers were happily diving off into the unknown.”

Lauren Wingenroth

Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy In the Lights

Assistant Editor

Camille A. Brown’s BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play

“It was so personal, yet she tapped into something deeply universal in her exploration of black girlhood. I love that the talkback was mandatory—she insisted on having the last word.” 

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via YouTube

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Raise your hand if you've ever walked out of the studio with just one thought on your mind: a big, juicy cheeseburger. But raise your other hand if instead of getting that burger, you opted for a hearty salad or stir-fry.

While dancers need to fuel their bodies with nutrient-dense meals and snacks, plenty of foods get an unfair bad rap. "The diet culture in this country vilifies various food groups as being bad while championing others as good," says Kelly Hogan, MS, RD, CDN, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "But black-and-white thinking like that has no place when it comes to food."

Some foods have less nutrition than others, admits Hogan, but if you're eating what you crave and honoring your hunger and fullness cues, she says you'll probably get the variety of nutrients your body needs. Here are seven foods that can have a place on your plate—guilt-free.

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Via Instagram

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"It's basically just using your own body weight," McRae explains. "In terms of partnering, I'm not going to dance with a ballerina who is bigger than me, so if I can sustain my own body weight, then in my head I should be fine."

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Back in 2012, after 14 years dancing with Mark Morris Dance Group, choreographer John Heginbotham ventured out on his own. Don't think of it as going solo, though.

Almost from the outset, Heginbotham has embarked on a series of fruitful collaborations with other artists, via his namesake company, Dance Heginbotham, and through a stream of independent projects. His creative partners have covered a range of talents and genres: illustrator Maira Kalman (in 2017's The Principles of Uncertainty), opera director Peter Sellars (for Girls of the Golden West, which debuted at San Francisco Opera in November), and contemporary-music luminaries such as Tyondai Braxton and Alarm Will Sound.

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Irina Dvorovenko's latest role: Playing Elizaveta Grushinskaya in Grand Hotel at New York City Center. Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy New York City Center.

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We caught up with her after tech rehearsal for the Encores! presentation of the musical Grand Hotel, directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes and running March 21–25 at New York City Center. It's another tempestuous ballerina role for Dvorovenko—Elizaveta Grushinskaya, on her seventh farewell tour, resentfully checks into the Berlin hostelry of the title with her entourage, only to fall for a handsome young baron and sing "Bonjour, Amour."

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Photos via Instagram

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Jayme Thornton

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An extraordinarily private person, few knew that during this time Brown was in the midst of a health crisis. It started with an upset stomach while performing with her company on tour last summer.

"I was drinking ginger ale, thinking that I would feel better," she says. Finally, the pain became so acute that she went to the emergency room in Mississippi. Her appendix had burst. "Until then, I didn't know it was serious," she says. "I'm a dancer—aches and pains don't keep you from work."

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