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Is Annabelle Lopez Ochoa the Busiest Female Ballet Choreographer on the Planet?
It seems everyone wants a work from Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. She has choreographed for Danza Contemporanéa de Cuba, Grand Rapids Ballet, English National Ballet, Whim W’Him and BalletX. And that's just in 2016!
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa rehearsing NYCB dancers, photo by Erin Baiano
And on September 20, she premieres her first piece for New York City Ballet. Known for her witty, sometimes surreal ballets, the Belgian/Colombian choreographer is working with Brooklyn designer Rosie Assoulin for NYCB's Fall Fashion Gala. According to the press release, Assoulin sounds like the perfect match for Lopez Ochoa: “At its core, her design aesthetic bridges the line between effortless elegance and the romantically fantastical—a blend of sculpted ease and bold lines.” The music is a set of cello pieces written by three composers: Luigi Boccherini, Edward Elgar and Pēteris Vasks.
Though it’s officially her choreographic debut with NYCB, Lopez Ochoa has been in the studio with some of the dancers before. In 2007, she participated in City Ballet’s New York Choreographic Institute, a kind of laboratory for trying out ideas. For this premiere, her stellar cast includes Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Daniel Ulbricht and both Angles (Tyler and Jared). We are psyched!
And after the gala? Lopez Ochoa continues her globe-trotting pace. In October, she makes her sixth piece for Ballet Hispanico, which comes to The Apollo November 18 and 19. This fall she also makes a new ballet for Ballet Nacional de Cuba. In January she revives a piece for West Australian Ballet, and in April she revives one for the Joffrey Ballet. She’s also fitting in new works for the Royal Ballet of Flanders and Tulsa Ballet.
Our April 2012 issue
Lopez Ochoa has made a name for herself as someone who can work quickly, loves to challenge herself and encourages the dancers while also giving honest feedback. Plus, she has a record of making very different kinds of ballets: long, short; funny, serious; wacky, mysterious; dark, light. What about chaotic and orderly? That too. As Lopez Ochoa said in our 2012 cover story, “I love to choreograph chaos and find patterns within.”
The revival of everything '90s has been in full-swing for a while now—we saw Destiny's Child reunite at Coachella, Britney Spears is headed back on tour, and the Spice Girls miiight be performing at the Royal wedding next month. But Hollywood saved the best '90s moment for last, bringing *NSYNC back together to receive their official star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30.
Because we love a good dance #TBT, we're reliving five of the boys' best dance moments.
"I Want You Back"
The band's first single from their self-titled debut album in 1998, "I Want You Back," was the start of their takeover (and their choreographed dance moves).
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
Gina Gibney runs two enormous dance spaces in New York City: Together they contain 23 studios, five performance spaces, a gallery, a conference room, a media lab and more. Gibney is now probably the largest dance center in the country. It's not surprising that Dance Magazine named Gina Gibney one of the most influential people in dance today.
One of the biggest myths about ballet dancers is that they don't eat. While we all know that, yes, there are those who do struggle with body image issues and eating disorders, most healthy dancers love food—and eat plenty of it to fuel their busy schedules.
Luckily for us, they're not afraid to show it:
What does a superstar like Carlos Acosta do after bidding farewell to his career in classical ballet? In Acosta's case, he returns to his native country, Cuba, to funnel his fame, connections and prodigious energies back into the dance scene that formed him. Because of its top-notch, state-supported training programs and popular embrace of the art of dance, Cuba is brimming with talented dancers. What it has been short on, until recently, are opportunities outside of the mainstream companies, as well as access to a more international repertoire. That is changing now, and, with the creation of Acosta Danza, launched in 2016, Acosta is determined to open the doors even wider to new ideas and audiences.
There's so much more to the dance world than making and performing dances. Arts administrators do everything from raising money to managing companies to building new audiences. With the growing number of arts administration programs in colleges, dancers have an opportunity to position themselves for a multifaceted career on- or offstage—and to bring their unique perspective as artists to administrative work.
While Solange was busy helping big sis Beyoncé give Coachella its best performances of all time, an equally compelling project was quietly circulating on Instagram:
New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight.
When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the decision? Who would oversee the Balanchine ballets? Who would be in charge of casting? Would a new director bring along huge upheaval? Could some of us be out of a job?