25 to Watch
Meet the breakout stars of 2016.
Furlan and Emily Bromberg rehearsing Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Daniel Azoulay, courtesy MCB.
Soloist, Miami City Ballet
As a bold Tony for Maria, a tender Romeo for Juliet or a troubled Don José for Carmen, Jovani Furlan brings frank passion to his partnering. Even in works without plot, this recently promoted Miami City Ballet soloist can amplify character to marvelous effect—with a probing humanity, for instance, in the part originally choreographed for Paul Taylor in Balanchine’s Episodes. His technical prowess, honed at MCB School following training in his native Brazil, heightens leaps and steadies turns, and his natural musicality adds fluency to both solos and the ensemble. Whether spirited or grave, Furlan is an ardent explorer of moods, and his enthusiasm lets us share the pleasure of every nuance he discovers. —Guillermo Perez
Cliburn in Robert Dekkers’ Yours is Mine. Photo by Natalia Perez, courtesy Post: Ballet.
In her debut season with contemporary ballet troupe Post:Ballet, Cora Cliburn has shown maturity beyond her 19 years. She has the pin-prick precision and delicate touch you might expect from her sprightly build, but also a daringness that makes her shine in choreographer Robert Dekkers’ off-kilter movement and origami partnering: She crashed an athletic, sexually charged, all-male trio with gusto in his Yours is Mine, and met the intensity of veteran performer Ricardo Zayas in Reason does not know.
After performing in Post:Ballet’s home season in San Francisco and at Jacob’s Pillow this summer, Cliburn joined the freshman class at Stanford University, where she’s studying math. She is hardly done with dance, however, and will continue performing with Post:Ballet throughout the year, while doing her best to embrace uncertainty about the future. “I like to know where every limb, every muscle is,” she says. “I’m trying to come to terms with not knowing what’s going to happen.”
—Josie G. Sadan
Photo by Ginger Murray, courtesy Miller
When she first appeared in the Twin Cities dance scene, Kaleena Miller was often the sole female presence in a testosterone tsunami of male dancers. As the young men around her exploded into rambunctious, raucous tap routines that set audiences screaming, Miller always maintained her cool, engaging crowds with sly wit, flowing limbs and mesmerizing footwork. Relaxed, with easy, impeccable technique, we know now that she was biding her time. Today, Miller is redefining how we consume tap. She’s created The Cutting Board, an open-mic-style tap dance and live music show at a Minneapolis bar; co-founded Rhythmic Circus, a wildly popular troupe that appeared on “America’s Got Talent”; choreographed for her Kaleena Miller Dance, which has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center; and co-founded the Twin Cities Tap Festival, which had its inaugural event this past fall. Miller has become a one-woman show—whether or not she’s wearing her signature red tap shoes. —Camille LeFevre
Francesco Gabriele Frola
Frola in John Neumeier’s Nijinsky. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic, courtesy NBoC.
First soloist, National Ballet of Canada
Few were surprised when Francesco Gabriele Frola vaulted out of the corps de ballet to become a first soloist with the National Ballet of Canada this season. The 23-year-old has been on an upward climb: In 2010, he took the bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Cuba, and in 2012, the silver at Helsinki. In 2014, he received the Patron Award of Merit from NBoC.
Since then, Frola has continued to scale new heights. An understudy for the role of Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty last season, he commanded the spotlight when injuries left artistic director Karen Kain no choice but to cast an untried corps dancer in the role. With his eloquent port de bras, expressive musicality and smoldering sex appeal, Frola amply demonstrated that he was more than ready for the challenge, earning a standing ovation. —Deirdre Kelly
Miller as Titania. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB.
Apprentice, New York City Ballet
Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream demands a luxuriously leggy Titania. New York City Ballet has an impressive stable of them these days, including, as of the final day of the company’s spring 2015 season, the previously anonymous apprentice Miriam Miller.
Well, not quite anonymous: At 5' 9", she has the requisite legs in spades, making her eye-catching in even the most faceless corps roles. But as Titania, Miller displayed the easy authority of a marquee-name star. A natural actress with beautifully expansive technique, she gave us every side of Titania: the gracious monarch, the strong-willed wife, the sweetly daffy spell victim. Though she had a few wobbles—it takes a lot of strength to control those limbs—nothing appeared to shake her. Indeed, Miller seems blessed with the very Titania-like ability to laugh off her own foibles, secure in the fact that the stage is her kingdom, and she its queen. —Margaret Fuhrer
Corps member, Mariinsky Ballet
Shakirovav in Laurencia. Photo by Natasha Razina, courtesy Mariinsky.
The Mariinsky Ballet likes to push ballerinas young, but Renata Shakirova is setting new records. The sprightly brunette started dancing soloist roles with the company while still a Vaganova Ballet Academy student. By the time she graduated last summer, her buoyant jump and precocious technical polish had earned her debuts as Princess Florine, the lead in Balanchine’s “Rubies” and in Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH.
Now officially in the corps de ballet, director Yuri Fateyev is grooming the 20-year-old for stardom: She made her debut as Kitri in Don Quixote, her dream role, in October, and will dance Juliet in February. This past fall, she was also featured in the Russian TV competition “Bolshoi Ballet” alongside Kimin Kim, the Mariinsky’s young Korean star. There is a captivating sense of wonder and joy about her as she claims her place in the Mariinsky repertoire, and the world stage might very well be next. —Laura Cappelle
Photo by Nathan Sayers
Corps member, American Ballet Theatre
Brought up in Larkspur, Colorado, Sterling Baca still has about him a whiff of the West: an expansiveness and self-confidence that feels both unfettered and relaxed. Perhaps that’s why, when he had his debut in Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free as the Second Sailor—the one who gets to dance with the girl—it felt so right. His pas de deux with Gillian Murphy packed some heat. “I connected to the role,” he says. “I kind of am that character,” new to the city, full of romantic possibility. Baca is in his fourth year in the corps at American Ballet Theatre, but last season was a bit of a whirlwind. Besides Fancy Free, he also had a turn as the seductive purple-booted von Rothbart in Kevin McKenzie’s Swan Lake, a variation in which, as he says, “you get to showcase pretty much everything a male dancer does.” And this past fall, he was paired up with both Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston in Twyla Tharp’s The Brahms-Haydn Variations, and with Murphy, again, in Mark Morris’ new After You. —Marina Harss
Photo by Stephan Walzl, courtesy Skapetowska
A former Lar Lubovitch dancer, Katarzyna Skarpetowska credits him as an influence for her organic, seamless movement. But her dances have a distinct voice, effortlessly treading the line between classical and contemporary technique. Each emerges from a dramatic or emotional idea to evoke “a very particular world,” she says, whether of tension and strife or cosmic harmony. For example, Polaris, inspired by an image from the Hubble Space Telescope, etches the cosmos across the stage—dancers surge along the floor through glittering pinpoints of light, or spin together in place in a way you never want to end. Though she had her first commission in 2002, Skarpetowska’s career now seems poised for flight, with increasing commissions from the likes of Parsons Dance and Richmond Ballet.
Sanchez rehearsing Guys and Dolls. Photo by Peter Coombs, Courtesy The Marriott Theatre.
Musical theater choreographer
Though as a performer he’s a Broadway vet, Alex Sanchez has yet to choreograph on the Great White Way. But he has proven his mastery of the form across the country, off-Broadway and at some of the most prestigious regional theaters. Last spring, it was a dynamic production of Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut, showing all the tools in his arsenal: lyrical partnering, kick-line routines, comic interludes. But he topped himself with “The Crapshooters’ Dance,” digging deep into his bag of ballet tricks and sending the scene’s rambunctious gamblers diving to the floor, spinning across the set, jumping toward the flies. He knows how to move large groups of dancers, and how to make small groups look large. And his own career is likely to be looking large soon. —Sylviane Gold
Dancer, “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 12 tour
Nowakowski (right) and Alex Wong during the “SYTYCD” finale. Photo courtesy Foxflash.
Jim Nowakowski has the kind of backstory that’s catnip for “So You Think You Can Dance” producers. Born in South Korea and adopted by an American family at six months old, he underwent multiple surgeries to correct a cleft lip and palate, which made him a target for schoolyard bullies.
But that narrative, moving as it is, faded to the background over the course of Nowakowski’s run on Season 12. It was overshadowed by the pure thrill of his dancing: high-octane, astonishingly controlled, girded by the rock-solid technique he honed during his eight years with Houston Ballet. Nowakowski’s remarkable versatility—he looked nearly as impressive in hip-hop routines as he did in ballet—earned him comparisons to fellow ballet-pro-turned-“SYT”-star Alex Wong. And his elimination just before the finale episode provoked a storm of social media outrage from #TeamJim.
Currently on tour with “SYTYCD,” Nowakowski faces a future full of diverse options: A commercial dance career? A convention gig? A triumphant return to ballet? Whatever he chooses, he can rely on the continued adoration of his devoted “SYT” and classical fans alike.
Dori in Edwaard Liang's Murmuration. Photo by Amitava Sakar, courtesy Houston Ballet.
Corps member, Houston Ballet
Shahar Dori, Houston Ballet’s first Israeli dancer, journeyed far from home to make his dream come true. First a hip-hop dancer, he got hooked on ballet after a teacher at his arts high school in Haifa, Israel, suggested he take it to improve his technique. He studied at Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company for two years before making the difficult decision to leave Israel for a summer scholarship at Montgomery Ballet in Alabama. After snagging another scholarship to Houston Ballet Academy, he joined the company in 2012.
Now 23, Dori is a standout in the corps de ballet. He has been chosen for meaty parts, cast in Mark Morris’ premiere The Letter V, and as understudy for the lead role of the groom in Jirí Kylián’s Svadebka. He’s a strong dancer with smooth technique, capable of expressing great depth and feeling onstage. And his underdog path has made him determined to succeed.
Thatcher leading a rehearsal at SFB. Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB.
As far as breakout years go, it would be hard to top Myles Thatcher’s 2015 season. In February, under the tutelage of Alexei Ratmansky via the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, Thatcher premiered Manifesto, his first regular-season commission for San Francisco Ballet, where he has danced in the corps since 2010. His richly musical choreography—he has a gift for layering movement on a score’s syncopations, downbeats and underlying rhythms—proved both abstract and infused with feeling. By the end of the year, Thatcher completed commissions for Joffrey Ballet and New York City Ballet. Along the way he developed a method for handling the pressure: “First you freak out, then you celebrate. And then you freak out again,” he says with a laugh. That humility is apparent as Thatcher, now 25, continues to hone his talent on world-class stages: “Every day,” he muses, “I can’t believe this is happening.” —Claudia Bauer
Dancer, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Figgins in Jorma Elo's 1st Flash. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ASFB.
One look at Jenelle Figgins in motion and you feel as though you’re watching your old friend. Her interpretations, technically and artistically, are refreshingly clean and clear; onstage, she feels sincerely human. But that’s not to say she dances without glamour, spirit or smolder. At Dance Theatre of Harlem, she proved she could take on the classical and the contemporary. This season, Figgins joined Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, where choreographers like Kylián, Fonte and Elo are king. Audiences will find themselves falling in love with Figgins, and that royal court of choreographers, all over again, when they see her honest approach. —Kristin Schwab
Dancer, Visceral Dance Chicago
Photo by Todd Rosenberg, courtesy Visceral Dance Chicago.
Even when Visceral Dance Chicago’s Caitlin Cucchiara is part of a large group piece, your eyes gravitate to her. A petite, perfectly proportioned dancer, Cucchiara’s seamless lyricism, clarity and emotional intensity give her an unusually magnetic stage presence. Watch her finesse the most complex partnering, and you have the sense that her partner can almost sit back and relax, knowing she is totally in control.
Cucchiara was formerly a member of Thodos Dance Chicago, where she was a standout in A Light in the Dark, portraying the young Helen Keller in the one-act story ballet choreographed by Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos. “I knew from the moment I saw Caitlin that she would be the start of what I wanted in my company,” says Visceral artistic director Nick Pupillo. “There’s just something about the way she feels and interprets things, the ways she draws the audience in.”
Dancer, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Photo by Andrew Eccles, courtesy Ailey.
A marvel of power and poise, Jacquelin Harris is one of the brightest lights at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Repertory doesn’t lie, and Harris is a natural, having graced the stage in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain Pas de Deux, Ailey’s Pas de Duke and Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA. Of course, she’s conquered Ailey’s Revelations too, as one of the leads in the iconic “Wade in the Water” section.
And to think: This Charlotte native only just joined the company in 2014. At 23, she has plenty of time to grow in dimension, but one key to her allure is her earthy serenity. Does her love of math—she has a dance degree from Fordham University and The Ailey School, but is a mere three courses away from completing her math minor—have anything to do with her musicality? Perhaps. She eats up space with zest, but best of all is her simple grandeur: She reveals intimacy and liveliness without a drop of sentiment. —Gia Kourlas
Photo by High Concept Laboratories, courtesy Oliver.
Jamal Oliver, aka Litebulb, makes footworking look easy, despite its demands for blistering speed and superhuman precision. A descendant of Chicago house dance, footwork resembles tap, hip hop and skating on air; the lower limbs are a blur. Litebulb’s approach is squeaky clean as he propels flexed feet in and out, jumps into semblances of third and fourth position and flings his legs to the side. His arms and hands have expressiveness uncommon in street dance, and his torso can be uncannily still, or fluid and eloquent.
Litebulb first learned about footworking from watching locals in his neighborhood, but by high school, he had the opportunity to learn from some of the masters and innovators of the form. These days the 25-year-old Chicagoan tours nationally and internationally with The Era, the troupe he co-founded in 2014. He hopes to take footworking in new directions this summer, with his multimedia evening-length Living at 160 (the number comes from the beats per minute of footwork music). It’s a project made possible by his recent appointment as a 2015 Lab Artist by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum. —Laura Molzahn
Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy Trainor.
Small but robust, Trainor Dance premiered at seemingly every dance hot spot in the Northeast last year, from Jacob’s Pillow to The Yard. With the fearless choreographer Caitlin Trainor at the helm, and a diverse collection of high-profile freelancers like Kaitlyn Gilliland at her side, the company offers a refreshing blend of highly formal but intensely human repertoire. Trainor’s movement resists classical patterns—a result of her late introduction to modern dance—but maintains clear lines and shapes. No two dancers in her company execute her movement the same. “I like to see unexpected pairings,” she says, “such as a petite woman lifting a muscular man, or very fast, light movement to a slow melody.” Odds are Trainor will continue to move in unexpected directions.
Norbert De La Cruz III
De La Cruz taking a bow with the dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ASFB.
Like a scene out of the show “The X--Files,” seven lit squares appear on a dark stage, each containing a dancer, as if caught in an alien tractor beam pulling them skyward. This opening scene from rising choreographer Norbert De La Cruz III’s Square None for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet illustrates his keen photographic eye, and talent for dreaming up the unexpected. The 27--year--old, who was born in the Philippines and raised in East Los Angeles, mixes the precision of classical ballet technique with the groundedness of modern dance to create movement that is as intriguing in detail as it is in structure. A stylistically diverse choreographer, he is at home creating sophisticated contemporary ballets for ASFB and more avant--garde works for Tulsa Ballet II and BalletX. In 2016, the New York City–-based De La Cruz says he will forgo his freelance performing career to focus on choreographing full-time. —Steve Sucato
Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy Guy.
Tamisha Guy is a jumble of contradictions in the best possible sense: She marries ease and strength, regality and earthliness, balletic lift and sultry swagger. In Kyle Abraham’s The Gettin’, which Abraham.In.Motion toured last season (her first with the company), the former Graham dancer brought seamlessness to his whipping, twisting movement tornadoes, but never lost the importance of the punctuation, be it a narrative gesture or slicing arabesque. It can be hard for some dancers to bring clarity to Abraham’s filled-to-the-brim movement phrases. But when Guy takes the stage, you’re in for a smooth, wild ride.
Première danseuse, Paris Opéra Ballet
Baulac in La Belle au bois dormant. Photo by Sébastien Mathé, Courtesy POB.
For Benjamin Millepied, Léonore Baulac has become a symbol of the change he wants to bring to the Paris Opéra Ballet, combining French refinement with an appealing sense of freshness. Baulac unsuccessfully auditioned for the POB School as a child before joining as a paying student at age 15. She entered the corps de ballet in 2008, but went mostly unnoticed, despite bright turns as Olympia in The Lady of the Camellias and in the company premiere of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rain.
Since Millepied’s arrival in 2014, however, Baulac’s career has skyrocketed. In addition to being promoted to première danseuse (first soloist), she’s had debuts in The Nutcracker and Paquita, and was featured in the opening ceremony of the Cannes film festival in a piece created by Millepied. With her preternatural fluidity, Baulac also takes to American-style neoclassicism with ease. This fall, she was one of the stars of Millepied’s latest creation, Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward; for her, it’s full speed ahead.
Felder in Yuri Possokhov's Classical Symphony. Photo by Kim Kenney, courtesy Atlanta Ballet.
Dancer, Atlanta Ballet
As much a solo dancer as she is a creative collaborator, Kiara Felder reflects her city’s vibe and her company’s style. Last season at Atlanta Ballet, Felder nailed the quick, precise pointework of Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, then dug wholeheartedly into Ohad Naharin’s Gaga-infused Minus 16. In Tara Lee’s the swimmer, she moved as if electricity coursed through her spine and limbs, creating fluidly sculpted curves. With bold lines, buoyant leaps and an undeniably bright stage presence, the 25-year-old is emerging on Atlanta Ballet’s forefront.
—Cynthia Bond Perry
Diaz and Campbell. Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy MADBOOTS.
Modern dance troupe
What sets MADBOOTS DANCE apart from other young troupes is its physical and emotional fearlessness. The work tackles male relationships with a queer sensibility that transcends sexuality. Since inaugurating their joint venture in 2011, Austin Diaz and Jonathan Campbell—with pedigrees from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and The Juilliard School, respectively—are making a unique mark on concert dance with highly original movement that pushes skill and stamina to the limit. Both Campbell and Diaz are also prodigious dancers, slithering and streaking through space with dazzling agility.
MADBOOTS DANCE’s new evening-length piece for five men, (Sad Boys), closed the season at Jacob’s Pillow’s Doris Duke Theatre in August, toured to Toronto in December and will head to Vancouver in February. BEAU., which also premiered at Jacob’s Pillow, will tour to Atlanta in March. A commission for Point Park University dancers will premiere in April, sharing the bill with A-listers Larry Keigwin and Sonya Tayeh. —Gus Solomons jr
Photo by Ajja Deshayne, courtesy Ichinose.
Dancer, Nuremberg Ballet
Hiroki Ichinose is a chameleon, and at 23 years old, he’s already got the resumé to prove it. Since graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2013, the Maui native has worked with Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, and Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, recently portraying a supple, slippery knight in shining armor in Mitchell’s Light Years.
Ichinose has the kind of facility that most dancers dream of. But rather than relying on elegant lines, he uses his abilities to push past his boundaries, moving seamlessly through transitions that appear nearly impossible to even the trained eye. He captivates audiences with his uniquely subtle approach. It’s this quality that has no doubt led him to his next dance venture overseas at Nuremberg Ballet. —Ali Castro
Veintimilla (front) starred opposite Chita Rivera (seated) in Broadway’s The Visit. Photo by Thom Kaine, courtesy O&M Co.
It takes guts to make your Broadway debut alongside Chita Rivera. But Michelle Veintimilla did just that, and more than held her own. Less than a year after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, she captivated audiences as the shadowy, ghostlike younger self of Rivera’s character Claire in The Visit, approaching even the simplest movements with sensitivity. “If Chita moved a shoulder a certain way, I had to figure out how she might have moved her shoulder when she was 16,” she says. In the show’s most powerful moment, a haunting pas de deux between the two, Veintimilla brought out the choreography’s subtleties, evoking the music’s melancholy with every slow backbend and flip of her skirt. Called the “most affecting” pas de deux of all on Broadway last season by The New York Times, the chemistry between Rivera and Veintimilla held the audience spellbound, and Veintimilla proved herself a force to reckon with in her own right. —Suzannah Friscia
Photo by Nathan Sayers
Dancer, Dance Theatre of Harlem
Watching Nayara Lopes perform, you could be fooled into thinking the human body was made to stand on pointe. With her uncanny sense of balance (plus beautifully placed épaulement and port de bras) she makes even the trickiest pointework look natural. After launching her career in Orlando Ballet II, Lopes won an apprenticeship to National Ballet of Canada from a top 12 finish at Youth America Grand Prix in 2011. The Brazilian dancer joined Dance Theatre of Harlem two seasons ago, taking on the company’s wide-ranging repertoire with her signature ease: She radiates a sense of effortless calm onstage no matter what kind of choreography she’s tackling. The effect creates a quiet but spell-binding stage presence that pulls the audience in—and keeps them wanting more.
Adji Cissoko has the alchemical blend of willowy limbs and earthy musicality you expect from a dancer in Alonzo King LINES Ballet. But she also has something more—a joy in dancing that makes every step feel immediate.
"She has this soulful quality of an ancient spirit coming through her body," says LINES chief executive officer Muriel Maffre, a former prima ballerina with San Francisco Ballet. "She's fearless, which is fun to work with," says artistic director Alonzo King. "I don't know how to put it into words— she's herself."
So you're on layoff—or, let's be real, you just don't feel like going to the studio—and you decide you're going to take class from home. Easy enough, right? All you need is an empty room and some music tracks on your iPhone, right?
Wrong. Anyone who has attempted this feat can tell you that taking class at home—or even just giving yourself class in general—is easier said than done. But with the right tools, it's totally doable—and can be totally rewarding.
When Jan Fabre's troupe Troubleyn presents his Mount Olympus: To glorify the cult of tragedy (a 24 hour performance) at NYU Skirball tomorrow it does so under a heavy cloud of controversy.
Fabre is a celebrated Belgian multidisciplinary artist who has been honored as Grand Officer in the Order of the Crown, one of the country's highest honors. His visual art has been displayed at the Louvre and at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. According to The New York Times, his dance company, Troubleyn, receives about $1 million a year from the Belgian government.
But in an open letter posted to Belgian magazine Rekto Verso just a few months ago, 20 of his company's current and former dancers outline a horrific culture of sexual harassment, bullying and coercion. This comes on the heels of similar accusations at New York City Ballet and Paris Opèra Ballet.
It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are artists AND athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:
Today, we are thrilled to announce the honorees of the 2018 Dance Magazine Awards. A tradition dating back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards celebrate the living legends who have made a lasting impact on dance. This year's honorees include:
Earlier this week, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck gave us some major onstage makeup inspiration while attending an offstage event. While walking the red carpet at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund gala, Peck's beauty look was still perfectly suited for the ballet with her top knot hairstyle and stage-worthy red lip. Peck's makeup artist for the night, Daniel Duran, shared his exact breakdown on the look, working exclusively with beauty brand Chantecaille. So, whether you're in need of a waterproof brow pencil, volumizing mascara or long-lasting red lip this Nutcracker season, we've got you covered.
There's a new tool that lets amputee ballet dancers perform on pointe. As reported in Dezeen, an architecture and design magazine, industrial designer Jae-Hyun An has created a prosthesis he calls the "Marie . T" (after Marie Taglioni, of course) that allows dancers with below-the-knee amputations to do pointe work.
A carbon fiber calf absorbs shock while a stainless steel toe and rubber platform allow a dancer to both turn and grip the floor to maintain balance. What it doesn't allow the dancer to do? Roll down to demi-pointe or flat.
Former chair of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts dance department Linda Tarnay died on Tuesday, November 6. Her wish was to have her ashes interred in the columbarium at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery—the site of Danspace Project and just a few blocks away from the Tisch dance building.
Before her 35 years of teaching at NYU, Tarnay was a founding member of Dance Theater Workshop. She performed with choreographers like Anna Sokolow, Phyllis Lamhut and Jamie Cunningham. She also started her own company, Linda Tarnay and Dancers, and was an artist-in-residence at The Yard.
Margaret Selby never dreamed that her passion for dance would lead her everywhere from working on live TV specials like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to producing hip-hop musical Jam on the Groove, from Columbia Artists Management, Inc., to public TV's "Great Performances: Dance in America."
Now, through her company Selby/Artists MGMT, she helps clients like Dorrance Dance, MOMIX and Pacific Northwest Ballet navigate the behind-the-scenes elements that get their work onstage, like booking tours, marketing and planning upcoming seasons.
According to the new documentary DANSEUR, 85% of males who study dance in the United States are bullied or harassed. A quote in the film from Dr. Doug Risner, faculty member at Wayne State University, states, "If this scope of bullying occurred in any activity other than dance, it would be considered a public health crisis by the CDC."
So why is it allowed to persist in ballet? And why aren't we talking about it more? These are the questions that DANSEUR seeks to answer. But primarily consisting of dance footage and interviews with male dancers like ABT's James Whiteside, Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and Boston Ballet's Derek Dunn, the film only addresses these issues superficially, with anecdotes about individual experiences and generalizations about what it's like to be a male dancer.
When you're unable to dance, it's easy to feel like you're falling behind and losing out on opportunities. But this can be a time to reset your body and come back even stronger, says Ilana Goldman, BFA program director at Florida State University's School of Dance. "Some of the greatest leaps I made in my technique happened because of injuries," she says. "Learning how to deal with them is part of being a professional dancer."
Dancers are human, which means they're bound to make mistakes from time to time, both on and off the stage. But what happens when those mistakes burn bridges? In an industry so small, is it possible for choreographers and performers to recover?In a moment of vulnerability, three-time Emmy Award winning choreographer Mia Michaels opened up to Dance Magazine about some of the bridges she herself has burned, the lengths she's gone to in order to rebuild and the peace she's made with the new direction her career has taken because of them. —Haley Hilton
Are auditions rigged? Sometimes I see mediocre dancers make it into a company, and I just don't get it. The audition process is unnerving for me without feedback or any understanding of the rules.
—Madison, Santa Monica, CA
Raise your hand if you've received bad advice from well-meaning friends or family (or strangers, tbh) who don't know anything about what it really takes to be a dancer.
*everyone raises hands*
Sometimes it's even dance insiders whose advice can send you down the wrong path. We've been asking pros about the worst advice they've ever received in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and rounded up some of the best answers:
Where in the world is Miko Fogarty? Just three years ago, she seemed unstoppable. After being featured in the 2011 ballet documentary First Position, she became a teenage social-media star, winning top prizes at competitions in Moscow and Varna and at Youth American Grand Prix, and dancing in galas around the world. Last most of us heard, it was 2015 and she had just joined the corps of Birmingham Royal Ballet. A year later, she dropped off the ballet radar.
Turns out Fogarty, now 21, was taking time off to reevaluate her life, including the role she wanted ballet to play in it. She is now starting her junior year as a biology major at University of California—Berkeley and is considering going to medical school. (Her brother and fellow First Position subject, 19-year-old Jules, is a junior in the Berkeley economics department.) On the side she teaches private ballet lessons and gives master classes, and is the part-time conservatory director at San Jose Dance International, a new school in the San Francisco Bay Area led by artistic director Yu Xin. We caught up with her by phone.
New York City Ballet fired principal dancers Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro on Saturday. Both had initially been suspended until 2019 for engaging in "inappropriate communications," while principal Chase Finlay, who was the instigator of those communications, resigned. (Although, in a statement on Saturday, NYCB made it clear they had decided to terminate Finlay prior to his resignation.)
The New York Times reports that NYCB says the change from suspension to termination resulted from hearing the concerns of dancers, staff members and others in the NYCB community. Yet it's hard to ignore the fact that a lawsuit against NYCB had been filed in the meantime. A statement from NYCB executive director Katherine Brown and interim artistic team leader Jonathan Stafford stated:
"We have no higher obligation than to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued, and we are committed to providing that environment for all employees of New York City Ballet."
Since the news was announced, both Catazaro and Ramasar have spoken out publicly about being fired.
In dance, pushing through pain is often glorified. Dancers can be reluctant to take time off when sick or injured for fear of missing out on opportunities. It can feel even harder to justify when the pain isn't physical. Though it's becoming more commonly acknowledged that mental health is just as important as physical health, a dance career doesn't leave much time to address mental or emotional issues.
But dancers need to take care of their mental well-being to be able to perform at their best, says Catherine Drury, a licensed clinical social worker for The Dancers' Resource at The Actors Fund. So what can you do if you need a mental health day?
The fall performance season continues at breakneck speed with everything from an international ballet company making its U.S. debut to a retrospective on one of New York City's most iconic dancemakers—not to mention more than a few intriguing new works. Here's what we've got pencilled in.
Yabin Wang converts movement into liquid that spills across the stage. A celebrity in her home country of China, this choreographer, dancer and actress has helped to pioneer modern dance there by blending Chinese classical and contemporary dance. Wang's international career was kick-started in 2010 at American Dance Festival, where she returned this summer to perform on a shared program with Michelle Dorrance, Aparna Ramaswamy, Rhapsody James and Camille A. Brown. She has also worked with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui on Genesis and was commissioned by English National Ballet to create a piece for its Olivier Award–winning She Said program. This month, she is back stateside for the U.S. premiere of her Moon Opera, Nov. 3 in Pittsburgh.
It's the casting news we didn't know we needed until we heard it. Ever since it was announced that Wayne McGregor would be choreographing the new film adaptation of CATS, we've been anxiously waiting to hear whether any recognizable names from the dance world would be joining the A-list cast (which, in case you missed it, already includes Jennifer Hudson, Sir Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift and James Corden). But never in our wildest dreams did we think that a Royal Ballet principal would be the first dancer to sign on.
The wait for Disney's reimagining of The Nutcracker is over. Although The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is not a full-length ballet, woven into the plot is a five-minute performance by megastars Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin alongside 18 supporting dancers, with a CGI Mouse King moved by jookin sensation Lil Buck (aka Charles Riley). Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett led the film's choreography in his first major motion picture experience. "It was a call I didn't expect to get," says Scarlett. "I really am the biggest Disney fan, so I couldn't believe it!"