Career Advice
Learning how to invest and deal with tax implications can be a shock. Photo by Pepi Stojanov/Unsplash

Unrestricted grants—those not tied to a specific project or commission—are the holy grail of dance funding. But how do dance artists accustomed to living from project to project handle the sudden influx of capital?

We asked three choreographers who've won these grants multiple times about their experiences.

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News
The 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story, shot on location in New York City, preserved Jerome Robbins' choreography. Photo courtesy DM Archives

We didn't see this one coming.

According to Playbill, a revival of West Side Story, the beloved 1957 musical that put a 20th century, New York City spin on Romeo and Juliet, is coming to Broadway in 2020. We'll still hear Leonard Bernstein's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, but the new production, directed by Tony winner Ivo van Hove, will be deviating from the original in at least one crucial respect: the choreography won't be original director Jerome Robbins'.

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News
Sonya Tayeh was tapped to choreograph the stage adaptation of Baz Luhrman's opulent Moulin Rouge! Photo by Carolyn DiLoreto, Courtesy Tayeh

Paris, 1900. A penniless writer and a prized courtesan fall in love to a soundtrack mashing up Christina Aguilera with Nirvana and David Bowie with The Beatles. Baz Luhrmann's opulent Moulin Rouge! arrived on the silver screen in 2001 perfectly poised for a stage-musical adaptation, and this month it's finally happening—with Broadway darlings Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo in the lead roles and choreography by Sonya Tayeh, no less. July 10–Aug. 19. emersoncolonialtheatre.com.

Dancers Trending
"How to use dance to create mystery is very important to me," says Jack Ferver who choreographs and plays Tinker Bell in a production of Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan. Photo by Maria Baranova, Courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates

"I'm in heaven right now," Jack Ferver smiles over the phone. He was enjoying a leisurely breakfast with a couple of his castmates the morning after Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan had its first preview performance. This production of the lesser-known Bernstein score, officially opening tonight at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (where Ferver teaches), doesn't just feature choreography by the genre-mixing dancemaker: It has Ferver himself performing as Tinker Bell.

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Dance History
George Balanchine and members of the New York City Ballet on a 1955 tour to Monte Carlo. Photo courtesy DM Archives

The July 1983 issue of Dance Magazine was dedicated to George Balanchine, who had passed away in April of that year. Our pages were filled with tributes to the choreographer who irrevocably altered the course of American ballet. Dancers from Tamara Toumanova to Alexandra Danilova to Mikhail Baryshnikov contributed reflections, though perhaps critic Edwin Denby summed it up best:

"Dancing is such a momentary impression. Balanchine always said that his ballets are like butterflies: They live for a season. He didn't much like reviving works because he didn't seem to remember them, being much more interested in new things. I have no idea what will become of Balanchine's 'butterflies' now...Tastes change, styles change, techniques change...But we know one very important thing about Balanchine: He changed the way we look at dance."

Dance in Pop Culture
Florence Welch and Akram Khan share the choreography credit for Florence + the Machine's new music video "Big God." Via Instagram @florence

Akram Khan and Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine) is not a pairing we ever would have dreamt up. But now that the music video for "Big God" has dropped, with choreography attributed to Khan and Welch, it seems that we just weren't dreaming big enough.

In the video, Welch leads a group of women standing in an eerily reflective pool of water. They seem untouchable, until they begin shedding their colorful veils, movements morphing to become animalistic and aggressive as the song progresses.

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News
MADBOOTS DANCE in MASC. Photo by Scott Shaw, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates

This week, New York City's Joyce Theater presents two companies addressing LGBTQ+ issues.

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News
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Carol Fox and Associates

José Greco popularized Spanish dance in 1950s and '60s America through his work onstage and on screen. Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater's American Spanish Dance & Music Festival is honoring the icon in recognition of what would have been his 100th birthday. As part of the tribute, Greco's three dancing children are reuniting to perform together for the first time since their father's death in 2000. Also on the program is the premiere of contemporary flamenco choreographer Carlos Rodriguez's Mar de Fuego (Sea of Fire). June 15–17, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. ensembleespanol.org.

Breaking Stereotypes
Chase Johnsey quietly made modern ballet history when he performed as part of the women's ensemble in English National Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Elliot Franks, Courtesy In the Lights PR

Back in January, Chase Johnsey grabbed headlines when he resigned from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, where his performances had garnered critical acclaim for over a decade, alleging a culture of harassment and discrimination. (An independent investigation launched by the company did not substantiate any legal claims.) Johnsey, who identifies as genderqueer, later told us that he feared his dance career was at an end—where else, as a ballet dancer, would he be allowed to perform traditionally female roles?

But the story didn't end there. After a surprise offer from Tamara Rojo, artistic director of English National Ballet, Johnsey has found a temporary artistic home with the company, joining as a guest at the rank of first artist for its run of The Sleeping Beauty, which continues this week. After weeks of working and rehearsing with the company, last week Johnsey quietly marked a new milestone: He performed with ENB's corps de ballet as one of the ladies in the prince's court.

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Dancers Trending
"Off Kilter" has real dancers playing dancers. Still courtesy CBC Arts

"It just...always looks better in my head."

While that might not be something any of us would want to hear from a choreographer, it's a brilliant introduction to "Off Kilter" and the odd, insecure character at its center, Milton Frank. The ballet mockumentary (think "The Office" or "Parks and Recreation," but with pointe shoes) follows Frank (dancer-turned-filmmaker Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla) as he comes back to the studio to try his hand at choreographing for the first time since a plagiarism scandal derailed his fledgling career back in the '90s.

We've been pretty excited about the series for a while, and now the wait is finally over. The first episode of the show, "The Denial," went live earlier today, and it's every bit as awkward, hilarious and relatable as we hoped.

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Dance History
Sir Frederick Ashton created Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan on Lynn Seymour. Photo by Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy DM Archives

In the June 1963 issue of Dance Magazine, we profiled a young Royal Ballet dancer named Lynn Seymour. At 14, she was invited to move to London to study at the Royal Ballet School. The Vancouver native told us she arrived "terribly excited and more than a little scared. I just sunk my teeth in and started to work." It paid off.

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Dance in Pop Culture
Maggie Rogers performs choreography by Emma Portner in the music video for "Fallingwater." Screenshot via YouTube

Can Emma Portner get any cooler?

Between her existing credits (the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End musical, that viral Justin Bieber video), her upcoming projects (a collaboration with Lil Buck, Jon Boogz and Blood Orange for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and a commission from New York City Ballet, for starters) and the fact that she charmed virtually every major media outlet when she secretly married actress Ellen Page, one would assume not.

But then she went and choreographed the music video for "Fallingwater," the latest single from indie-pop darling Maggie Rogers, and all bets are officially off. Portner is capable of infinite levels of cool, and we're all just trailing along in her wake.

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News
Compagnie Transe Express performing during the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in 2011. Photo courtesy Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

There's a lot to take in over the 11 days of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, from Ann Carlson's Doggie Hamlet (five dancers, three dogs, lots of sheep) to Elizabeth Streb's SEA (Singular Extreme Actions), both local premieres. One that will be tough to miss: a nightly performance by French troupe Compagnie Transe Express of Cristal Palace, a world premiere in which more than 50 performers will create a nearly 40-foot human chandelier, topped by musicians. May 31–June 10. kimmelcenter.org/pifa.

Career Advice
92Y Harkness Dance Center is hosting the first festival dedicated to dance films captured on mobile devices. Photo by Adam Grannick, Courtesy 92Y

Who says you need fancy equipment to make a festival-worthy dance film? Right now, two New York City–based dance film festivals are calling for aspiring filmmakers to show their stuff—and you don't need anything more cumbersome than a smartphone to get in on the action.

Here's everything you need to know about how to submit:

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News
"I look forward to working with him to continue my vision," Paul Taylor says of his successor, Michael Novak. Photos by Bill Wadman, Courtesy PTAMD; Jayme Thornton

It's been a long time coming. Paul Taylor, who at 87 is still actively making dances, has named the person who will succeed him at the head of the various organizations that bear his name: Paul Taylor Dance Company member Michael Novak.

The announcement has come with no small amount of surprise, as longtime PTDC dancer Michael Trusnovec has long been considered the heir apparent. But, as was announced today, Taylor has appointed 35-year-old Novak as artistic director designate, effective July 1. As Taylor told The New York Times, "I thought he was just next in line. I've watched him for some time. He pays attention, and I know that he's listening."

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