Barkley and James Kopecky in Dwight Rhoden's The Groove. Photo by Jeff Cravotta, Courtesy Charlotte Ballet
Surrounded by 10 male dancers, Charlotte Ballet's Raven Barkley holds her own in a thrilling grand allégro combination filled with jumps, beats and tours en l'air. In the "Winter" section of Sasha Janes' The Four Seasons, she matches the electrifying intensity of Antonio Vivaldi's music.
Athleticism is Barkley's calling card. It's what Janes says landed her the "Winter" lead in her first season with Charlotte Ballet. But beyond her ballon, Barkley's dancing possesses deep fluidity and musicality, as seen in another of Janes' ballets, Last Lost Chance. In an emotional solo, she spins like a slow-moving mobile, projecting a sense of yearning that cuts to the quick.
Before joining Charlotte Ballet in 2015, the 24-year-old Bronx native trained at Dance Theatre of Harlem's pre-professional program, and graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase. Sure to be a magnet for other choreographers and répétiteurs coming to work with the company, the focused and driven Barkley says, "Every day I find something different to work on to improve."
Devon Teuscher performing the titular role in Jane Eyre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.