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.”
Most people may know Derek Dunn for his impeccable turns and alluring onstage charisma. But the Boston Ballet principal dancer is just as charming offstage, whether he's playing with his 3-year-old miniature labradoodle or working in the studio. Dance Magazine recently spent the day with Dunn as he prepared for his debut as Albrecht in the company's upcoming run of Giselle.
You know compelling musicality when you see it. But how do you cultivate it? It's not as elusive as it might seem. Musicality, like any facet of dance, can be developed and honed over time—with dedicated, detailed practice. At its most fundamental, it's "respect for the music, that this is your partner," says Kate Linsley, academy principal of the School of Nashville Ballet.
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:
Notable dancer and beloved teacher, Ross Parkes, 79, passed away on August 5, 2019 in New York City. He was a founding faculty member at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, where he taught from 1984 to 2006. Lin Hwai-min, artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theater, said: "He nurtured two generations of dancers in Taiwan, and his legacy will continue."
About his dancing, Tonia Shimin, professor emerita at UC Santa Barbara and producer of Mary Anthony: A Life in Modern Dance, said this: "He was an exquisite, eloquent dancer who inhabited his roles completely."