Last Wednesday, country artist Kelsea Ballerini performed her song "Miss Me More" at the Country Music Awards. The choreography by Nick Florez and R.J. Durell—which Taste of Country said "stole the show" and Billboard lauded as "elaborate"—features a group of dancers in white shirts and black pants performing with chairs onstage, often arranged in a semicircle. They move in quick canons, throw their heads back, and fling themselves in and out of their chairs.
If you think this sounds like a description of the iconic "Echad Mi Yodea" sequence of Ohad Naharin's Minus 16, you're not wrong.
This is more than just choreographers drawing inspiration from a seminal dance work. It's directly copied:
Kelsea Ballerini's CMA Performance:
Ohad Naharin's Minus 16:
Did Ballerini realize that her choreography was plagiarized? Probably not.But still, she most likely knows about the issue now, and has not acknowledged it:
But the choreographers certainly knew what they were doing. Beyond the obvious issue of plagiarizing Naharin's work, it's insulting that choreographers hired for a major televised award show—an opportunity most artists can only ever dream about—used their platform to steal someone else's work.
But Batsheva—Naharin's home company and the birthplace of Minus 16—is taking it all in stride, and using it as a marketing opportunity. A post on the company's Facebook pagereads:
"Over the past few days, we have received many messages from friends about the extraordinary similarity between Kelsea Ballerini's CMA performance and Ohad Naharin's "Echad Mi Yodea." Come watch the real thing."
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?