Airbnb Your Way Backstage
Your favorite home-away-from-home app has an intriguing new offering: The chance to get a behind the scenes look at your favorite dance companies.
With the launch of its new Experiences section, Airbnb has begun letting travelers get to know the places they visit not only by staying in a real home (or treehouse or Airstream trailer), but also by experiencing the destination with locals who share their interests—whether that's whiskey drinking, truffle hunting, sushi making, or, yes, even dancing.
Unsurprisingly, two of the first dance companies to sign up are based in Airbnb's hometown: San Francisco.
Pauli Magierek leading class
The Ballet experience is hosted by former San Francisco Ballet soloist Pauli Magierek, who will meet you at the War Memorial Opera House and whisk you right to the barre for a beginner/intermediate ballet class taught by an SFB faculty member. The following night, you'll attend a performance, drink champagne and eat chocolates at intermission, then go backstage to meet a dancer or two for an insider perspective after the show. Bonus: You'll also get a pair of autographed pointe shoes.
The two-day itinerary costs $250 per person, but because this is one of Airbnb's Social Impact Experiences, 100 percent of what you pay goes directly to SFB to help under-served children and their families attend a performance of the Nutcracker at no cost.
Watch a trailer for The Ballet experience here.
Class at LINES Dance Center
If you're looking for something more contemporary—or have a smaller budget—check out the 3-hour Move on Market Street experience at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, hosted by the company's community and teen program coordinator, Briana Dickinson. From the description, it sounds like you could get a glimpse at a rehearsal or composition exercise with either the company or student dancers at LINES Dance Center before you head into the studio yourself for a private Pilates class. You'll also be given "a piece of LINES gear," which we're assuming is something along the lines of a branded t-shirt or tote bag.
Your $125 fee will support the continuation of the contemporary ballet company's groundbreaking work.
Or, if you're interested in hosting an experience at your company, it's easy to create one on the site—all you need is an Airbnb account and a great idea.
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"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.