Brooklyn Mack to Debut With American Ballet Theatre in "Le Corsaire"
American Ballet Theatre announced today that Brooklyn Mack, a former Washington Ballet star, will join the company as a guest for its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Currently an in-demand international guest artist, Mack will dance in three performances of ABT's Le Corsaire this June.
Known for his powerful, show-stopping bravura, Mack first made waves on the competition scene, winning medals at international competitions in Jackson, Helsinki and Varna (where he won gold). After dancing with the Joffrey Ballet, ABT's Studio Company and Orlando Ballet, he joined TWB, where he stayed for nine years. During that time he was nominated for the prestigious Benois de la Danse award and launched a high-profile guest-artist career, performing in Moscow, Paris, Havana and with the English National Ballet (where he also performed Le Corsaire—check out this rehearsal footage below with Bolshoi legend Irek Mukhamedov.)
Many were surprised when Mack announced that he was leaving TWB last September. He later told The Washington Post that he and TWB artistic director Julie Kent could not come to an agreement over his salary, workload and guesting schedule. Mack has wasted no time since then, dancing with Tiler Peck at New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival, as well as guest performances with the State Ballet of Georgia and Hong Kong Ballet (now led by Mack's former boss Septime Webre, who left TWB in 2016).
This June marks Mack's ABT debut, and his performances also bring welcome diversity to the season's male casting. Mack is set to dance the role of Ali at the matinee on Wednesday, June 12, and the central role of Conrad on the evenings of June 13 and June 15.
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.
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:
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.
Michele Byrd-McPhee's uncle was a DJ for the local black radio station in Philadelphia, where she was born. As a kid she was always dancing to the latest music, including a new form of powerful poetry laid over pulsing beats that was the beginning of what we now call hip hop.
Byrd-McPhee became enamored of the form and went on to a career as a hip-hop dancer and choreographer, eventually founding the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival and directing the New York City chapter of Everybody Dance Now!. Over the decades, she has experienced hip hop's growth from its roots in the black community into a global phenomenon—a trajectory she views with both pride and caution.
On one hand, the popularity of hip hop has "made a global impact," says Byrd-McPhee. "It's provided a voice for so many people around the world." The downside is "it's used globally in ways that the people who made the culture don't benefit from it."