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The Best of Both Worlds
Angelica Generosa strikes all the right balances. She's ambitious, but ego-less. She exudes the charm of a soubrette, but also the power of a contemporary virtuoso. A fourth-year member of Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps, she welcomes the soloist and principal roles artistic director Peter Boal throws her way, but is happy to continue her time in the corps.
Boal first noticed the School of American Ballet–trained Generosa when she was 15, dancing the lead of Balanchine's Stars and Stripes at an SAB workshop performance with Taylor Stanley (now a New York City Ballet soloist). “She was something between fearless and charming—a force!" Boal remembers. A few years later, when Generosa was not accepted into the NYCB apprentice program, he invited her to join PNB as an apprentice.
“I really was aiming for NYCB. That has always been my dream company," Generosa admits. But Seattle has offered her outsized opportunities (especially for a corps member), from performing the lead in Balanchine's “Rubies"—which, she says, “completely changed my dancing"—to starring in Molissa Fenley's 34-minute solo, State of Darkness. “PNB has become home for me," she says.
Dancing above your rank has its obvious perks, but Generosa isn't naïve about the difficulties it presents, either. “It's emotionally challenging to do both corps and soloist parts. But I'm very lucky to have that chance. Not a lot of dancers get to do that."
Bubbly and unassuming, Generosa's success hasn't gone to her head. It is clear that she takes class for herself, though she never stagnates or becomes complacent in her approach. Her petite physique makes her a natural jumper and turner—according to Boal, Balanchine répétiteur Elyse Borne joked she thought Generosa had ball bearings in her pointe shoes—but her adagio is perfectly measured as well.
Generosa is also thriving outside the company. She caught the eye of Damian Woetzel, who invited her to perform at last year's Vail Inter-national Dance Festival, which he directs. “Her abilities as a dancer were striking, but more than that, she showed a sense of assurance and daring which made me want to work with her," Woetzel says. And in a full-circle career moment, he cast her in Stars and Stripes, this time with the coaching help of Heather Watts, Carla Körbes and Woetzel.
Even when she's dancing in the back of the corps, it's clear that Generosa is going places—so much so that Boal jokes that “he's thinking of putting a tracking device on her." So, what's next? Generosa is already halfway to performing her dream role: She understudied Kitri for Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote, which had its American premiere at PNB. She also says she would love to dance Wayne McGregor's stark, jarring Chroma. And if anyone can go from Kitri's feisty variations to McGregor's twisty movement puzzles, it's Generosa—and she'll do it with charm and class.
The latest episode of Dance Magazine's video series "Behind the Curtain" follows Generosa throughout her day.
Camille A. Brown is on an impressive streak: In October, the Ford Foundation named her an Art of Change fellow. In November, she won an AUDELCO ("Viv") Award for her choreography in the musical Bella: An American Tall Tale. On December 1, her Camille A. Brown & Dancers made its debut at the Kennedy Center, and two days later she was back in New York City to see her choreography in the opening of Broadway's Once on This Island. Weeks later, it was announced that she was choreographing NBC's live television musical Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, to air on April 1.
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."
The latest fitness fad has us literally buzzing. Vibrating tools—and exercise classes—promise added benefits to your typical workout and recovery routine, and they're only growing more popular.
Warning: These good vibrations don't come cheap.
Last week in a piece I wrote about the drama at English National Ballet, I pointed out that many of the accusations against artistic director Tamara Rojo—screaming at dancers, giving them the silent treatment, taking away roles without explanation—were, unfortunately, pretty standard practice in the ballet world:
If it's a conversation we're going to have, we can't only point the finger at ENB.
The line provoked a pretty strong response. Professional dancers, students and administrators reached out to me, making it clear that it's a conversation they want to have. Several shared their personal stories of experiencing abusive behavior.
Christopher Hampson, artistic director of the Scottish Ballet, wrote his thoughts about the issue on his company's website on Monday:
I always knew my ballet career would eventually end. It was implied from the very start that at some point I would be too old and decrepit to take morning ballet class, followed by six hours of intense rehearsals.
What I never imagined was that I would experience a time when I couldn't walk at all.
In rehearsal for Nutcracker in 2013, I slipped while pushing off for a fouetté sauté, instantly rupturing the ACL in my right knee. In that moment my dance life flashed before my eyes.
My life is in complete chaos since my dance company disbanded. I have a day job, so money isn't the issue. It's the loss of my world that stings the most. What can I do?
—Lost Career, Washington, DC
Dance Theatre of Harlem is busy preparing for the company's Vision Gala on April 4. The works on the program, which takes place on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and his impact on company founder Arthur Mitchell. Among them is the much-anticipated revival of legendary choreographer Geoffrey Holder's Dougla, which will include live music and dancers from Collage Dance Collective.
We stepped into the studio with Holder's wife Carmen de Lavallade and son Leo Holder to hear what it feels like to keep Holder's legacy alive and what de Lavallade thinks of the recent rise in kids standing up against the government—as she did not too long ago.
The encounter with man-eating female creatures in Jerome Robbins' The Cage never fails to shock audiences. As this tribe of insects initiates the newly-born Novice into their community and prepares her for the attack of the male Intruders, the ballet draws us into a world of survival and instinct.
This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of Jerome Robbins' birth, and a number of Robbins programs are celebrating his timeless repertoire. But it especially feels like a prime moment to experience The Cage again. Several companies are performing it: San Francisco Ballet begins performances on March 20, followed by the English National Ballet in April and New York City Ballet in May.
Why it matters: In this time of female empowerment—as women are supporting one another in vocalizing injustices, demanding fair treatment and pay, and advocating for future generations—The Cage's nest of dominant women have new significance.
Stephen Petronio brings a bracing season to New York City's Joyce Theater, where he has performed almost every year for 24 years . His work is exciting to the subscription audience as well as to many dance artists. He delves into movement invention at the same time as creating complex postmodern forms. The new work, Hardness 10, is his third collaboration with composer Nico Muhly. The costumes are by Patricia Field ARTFASHION, hand-painted by Iris Bonner/These Pink Lips. Petronio's work still practically defines the word contemporary.
Stephen Petronio Company also continues with its Bloodlines series. That's where he pays homage to landmark works of the past that have influenced his own edgy aesthetics. This season he's chosen Merce Cunningham's playful trio Signals (1970), which will be performed with live music from Composers Inside Electronics.
Completing the program is an excerpt from Petronio's Underland (2003), with music by Nick Cave. Video footage courtesy of Stephen Petronio Company, filmed by Blake Martin.
Never did I think I'd see the day when I'd outgrow dance. Sure, I knew my life would have to evolve. In fact, my dance career had already taken me through seasons of being a performer, a choreographer, a business owner and even a dance professor. Evolution was a given. Evolving past dancing for a living, however, was not.
Transitioning from a dance career involved just as much of a process as building one did. But after I overcame the initial identity crisis, I realized that my dance career had helped me develop strengths that could be put to use in other careers. For instance, my work as a dance professor allowed me to discover my knack for connecting with students and helping them with their careers, skills that ultimately opened the door for a pivot into college career services.
Here's how five dance skills can land you a new job—and help you thrive in it:
When you spend as much time on the road as The Royal Ballet's Steven McRae, getting access to a proper gym can be a hassle. To stay fit, the Australian-born principal turns to calisthenics—the old-school art of developing aerobic ability and strength with little to no equipment.
"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."