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3 NYC Dance Events You Ought to Know

Wendy Whelan rehearsing Yvonne Rainer's Trio A. Photo by Mark Kornbluth, Courtesy Danspace Project.

Amidst the plethora of dance events happening in New York City this month, here are three that caught our eye.


Ballerina Cross-Fade at ABT

Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes in Cranko's Onegin. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

The role of Tatiana in John Cranko's Onegin will be more emotional than ever for audiences at American Ballet Theatre's spring season. Diana Vishneva, one of today's most intense and versatile ballerinas, has chosen that tumultuous role for her send-off from ABT on June 19 and 23. (She will continue as a principal with St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Ballet.) Meanwhile, Alessandra Ferri, still lusciously limpid at age 54, returns to the role June 20 and 22. Marcelo Gomes plays the fickle Onegin for Vishneva; Roberto Bolle partners Ferri. abt.org.

Heffington at the High Line

Ryan Heffington. Photo by bcarrworks photography, Courtesy Heffington.

If you've ever thought wistfully of how cool it would have been to see Sleep No More before it was the trendiest ticket in town, you're in luck. Randy Weiner, one of the producers behind that runaway hit, has teamed up with kooky choreographer extraordinaire Ryan Heffington to create Seeing You, a new immersive experience set underneath Manhattan's iconic High Line. Tickets are currently available through August 31. seeingyou.nyc.

An Avant-Garde Landmark Reenvisioned

David Thomson rehearses Trio A with Pat Catterson. Photo by Mark Kombluth, Courtesy Danspace Project.

Yvonne Rainer's seminal 1966 work Trio A is known for its steady, uninflected pacing. Now that pacing has been drastically slowed down by artist/producer David Michalek. For SlowDancing/Trio A, an installation at Danspace Project, Michalek has filmed 46 diverse dancers, each performing seven seconds of the difficult coordination, and stretched it to last well over an hour. The result is a video installation that takes over the sanctuary of St. Mark's Church from June 23 to July 1. The cast includes Wendy Whelan and downtown favorites Jodi Melnick and David Thomson. danspaceproject.org.

Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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In Memoriam
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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News
Rauf "RubberlLegz" Yasit and Parvaneh Scharafali. Photo by Mohamed Sadek, courtesy The Shed

William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).

As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.

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