In only two years, the Colburn Dance Academy in Los Angeles has surpassed expectations. Directed by former New York City Ballet stars Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, the Academy has placed grads, either as trainees or full professionals, into Dance Theatre of Harlem, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Fayette and Ringer have brought in NYCB stars like Wendy Whelan to give master classes. Just last week current NYCB faves Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle visited. Benjamin Millepied, director of L.A. Dance Project and an advisor to Colburn, has also been in to teach, as has Peter Boal, director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Next year, the students will get the rare opportunity to take class with Helgi Tomasson, visionary director of San Francisco Ballet. Millepied, Boal and Tomasson are also former NYCB principals. It's a way to extend what Fayette calls the “NYCB family.”
Colburn is a boutique school with only 12 students ages 14–19, so they get plenty of attention. As I noted two years ago when the Academy was just a gleam in the eyes of Ringer and Fayette, hopes were high. Fayette now says they have exceeded expectations. This video of Reichlen and Angle teaching class gives an idea of the caliber of the school.
Will the Colburn Dance Academy become the West Coast branch of the School of American Ballet? Established in 1934 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, SAB is without a doubt the oldest, most storied, continuously running ballet school in the United States. (Disclosure: I’m an alum, having spent two summers there in the 1960s.) It’s such a cornerstone of American ballet training that Jennifer Dunning wrote a book, But First a School, about its centrality in building a ballet culture in this country. And of course, it was SAB that furnished Balanchine with his amazing dancers.
Now the Academy, which is part of the larger Colburn School, offers excellent Balanchine-style training and mentorship to those who live on the West Coast. Half the students are local, and the other half come from as far away as Georgia and Long Island.
Here’s to taking the legendary SAB training westward.
Essential oils sometimes get a bad rap.Between the aggressive social media marketing for the products and the sometimes magical-sounding claims about their healing properties, it's easy to forget what they can actually do.But if you look beyond the pyramid schemes and exaggerations, experts believe they have legit benefits to offer both mind and body.
How can dancers take advantage of their medicinal properties? We asked Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies:
Karen Azenberg, a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, stumbled on something peculiar before the union's 2015 move to new offices: a 52-year-old sealed envelope with a handwritten note attached. It was from Agnes de Mille, the groundbreaking choreographer of Oklahoma! and Rodeo. De Mille, a founding member of SDC, had sealed the envelope with gold wax before mailing it to the union and asking, in a separate note, that it not be opened. The reason? "It is the outline for a play, and I have no means of copyrighting…The material is eminently stealable."