Spotlight: What Keeps Amar Ramasar From Slacking In the Studio
Sure, lots of ballet dancers are doing stints in Broadway shows these days. But most of them aren't tackling roles like Jigger Craigin, Carousel's villainous whaler, who yes, dances, but is by no means a role traditionally played by a dancer, and who demands a careful blend of charm and danger, drunkenness and cunning. Yet this is the role that New York City Ballet star Amar Ramasar has taken on—and triumphantly, too. The New York Times called his Broadway debut "electric."
We caught up with him for our "Spotlight" series:
What do you think is the most common misconception about dancers?
That we don't eat very much. Quite the contrary, we eat a lot!
What other career would you like to try?
Directing or ballet-mastering for a major ballet company. But I have to say, after Carousel, I could see some potential acting in my future.
What was the last dance performance you saw?
The All Balanchine program on the final day of the NYCB winter season. It was phenomenal!
What's the most-played song on your phone?
"To Build A Home" by The Cinematic Orchestra
Do you have a pre-performance ritual?
l always do a ballet barre (to blasted music) and nowadays, a vocal warm-up and reciting of lines.
What's your favorite book?
Without a doubt, To Kill A Mockingbird
Where can you be found two hours after a performance ends?
Just heading to bed. With all the adrenaline from performing, it takes that long for me to calm down.
Who is the person you most want to dance with—living or dead?
Living, definitely Misty Copeland! We've discussed it before but haven't had the chance yet. Dead, the beautiful Balanchine ballerina Violette Verdy.
Where did you last vacation?
St. Martin with my lovely lady, Alexa Maxwell. It was the best trip ever!
What app do you spend the most time on?
I would have to say the Global Poker app. Also, I do check out Instagram pretty often.
What's the first item on your bucket list?
To visit India and see the city where my ancestors came from.
What's your go-to cross-training routine?
A regimen of exercises my friend and fellow principal dancer Joaquin De Luz created for the Dancer Fitness program at NYCB. It's full of deep core strengthening and you can do it anywhere.
What's the worst advice you've ever received?
To take it easy in ballet class. No matter how hard of a season, it's important to keep your technique up and when you slack, you lose.
If you could relive one performance, what would it be?
I am beyond humbled to admit that I've had countless performances that I would love to relive! One that comes to mind is dancing the "Man I Love" pas de deux from Balanchine's Who Cares with ballerina Sterling Hyltin and Queen Latifah singing live onstage at a NYCB gala. It was a surreal experience.
On August 19, 1929, shockwaves were felt throughout the dance world as news spread that impresario Sergei Diaghilev had died. The founder of the Ballets Russes rewrote the course of ballet history as the company toured Europe and the U.S., championing collaborations with modernist composers, artists and designers such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. The company launched the careers of its five principal choreographers: Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.
Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.