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Should This Ballet Company's Ad Have Been Banned from the Metro?
Most ads promoting upcoming ballets don't feature blood streaming from a gruesome wound. But that doesn't mean companies shouldn't be able to take risks with their campaigns. Right?
Last week, we heard that an ad for Montreal-based Les Grands Ballets Canadiens' upcoming production of Edward Clug's Stabat Mater was banned by the Société de transports de Montréal (STM) because they feared the image could "incite violence."
The image in question. PC Sasha Onyshchenko
"The idea came from the music by Pergolesi, which represents the Virgin Mary suffering the loss of her son," artistic director Ivan Cavallari told the Montreal Gazette. "They speak of violence, but it's not an image that evokes violence. If they think it's violent, then what do they say about all the very pretty women in ads for lingerie, who are almost naked?"
Though the image is definitely graphic, Cavallari has a point. There are sexually explicit images everywhere, and ads for movies and television shows are often far more violent that what Grand Ballets' image depicts.
Oddly enough, this isn't the first time a Canadian ballet company's ad campaign has come under fire within the last year: National Ballet of Canada's "We Move You" campaign, which very innocently portrayed dancers leaping through subway cars and train platforms, was criticized for perpetuating "unrealistic and highly regimented bodies as some sort of an ideal of 'beauty.'" Our take on that controversy? Dancers may be artists before they're athletes, but they're still athletes—and no one says that images of Olympians are promoting negative body standards.
NBoC's "We Move You" campaign, PC Karolina Kuras.
It's enough to make you wonder if ballet companies trying to sell tickets are being held to a higher standard than, say, the newest season of "Game of Thrones" attempting to attract more viewers. Sure, people are used to seeing romantic, elegant images associated with ballet. But the form is—thankfully—evolving, and tackling more challenging subject material is a big part of that.
And if choreographers are taking risks in their ballets, it makes sense for images promoting them to reflect that.
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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:
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.
In his final bow at New York City Ballet, during what should have been a heroic conclusion to a celebrated ballet career, Robert Fairchild slipped and fell. His reaction? To lie down flat on his back like he meant to do it. Then start cracking up at himself.
"He's such a ham," says his sister Megan Fairchild, with a laugh. "He's really good at selling whatever his body is doing that day. He'll turn a moment that I would totally go home and cry about into something where the audience is like, 'That's the most amazing thing ever!' "
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?
In the world of ballet, Arcadian Broad is a one-stop shop: He'll come up with a story, compose its music, choreograph the movement and dance it himself. But then Broad has always been a master of versatility. As a teenager he juggled school, dance and—after the departure of his father—financial responsibility. It was Broad's income from dancing that kept his family afloat. Fast-forward six years and things are far more stable. Broad now lives on his own in an apartment, but you can usually find him in the studio.
Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6. joffrey.org.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
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.' "
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.