Benjamin Millepied in a rehearsal at Paris Opéra Ballet. Photo by Agathe Poupeney, Courtesy POB.

The Last-Minute Addition to ABT's Season is Probably Not What You'd Expect

American Ballet Theatre is breaking out of the proscenium.

The company announced earlier today that in addition to the works already scheduled for their two-week fall season at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater (Oct. 18–29), a new work for members of ABT's Studio Company and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School will also take place during select performances. But more surprising than the lateness of the addition is where it will take place: on the theater's promenade during intermission. Entitled Counterpoint for Philip Johnson, the new work will pay homage to the architect of the theater, according to the company's press release. It marks the first time that ABT will perform outside of the traditional proscenium stage at the Koch.


Behind the site-specific work is none other than Benjamin Millepied, who already has a new ballet premiering for the main company during the fall season, and, as his work with L.A. Dance Project attests, is deeply invested in finding new ways to engage audiences with dance.

ABT is hardly the first company to commission a site-specific work for the liminal spaces in its theater: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago opened their 40th-anniversary season with Peter Chu's Space, in Perspective just a couple of weeks ago, while Paris Opéra Ballet is giving James Thierrée use of the public spaces of the Palais Garnier as part of a contemporary program premiering in May 2018.

Hubbard Street dancers in Peter Chu's recent Space, In Perspective, which took over Chicago's Harris Theater. Photo by Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy Carol Fox & Associates.

And while site-specific work has been an established practice amongst contemporary dance artists for some time, seeing this many major companies taking the plunge is definitely a newer phenomenon, one that speaks to a desire to challenge how their audiences believe dance should be seen. Is anyone else sensing a trend?

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TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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