The late pioneering dancer Arthur Mitchell was an icon in the dance world—as well as a touchstone in popular culture. Not only did he break boundaries at New York City Ballet, where he performed under Balanchine as a black male principal, but he also went on to co-found Dance Theatre of Harlem. But his international acclaim wasn't limited to the stage: Mitchell and DTH were featured in a special 1987 episode of of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood," bringing ballet into living rooms across America.
A native of Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Madeline studied ballet at Southern Indiana School for the Arts and was later introduced to modern dance by Bill Evans. While completing her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography at Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, she was cast in a historical reconstruction of Alwin Nikolais' Noumenon celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. As an avid dance videographer and editor, she has worked on video projects for Bates Dance Festival and the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company in Southern California. She later served as a marketing and education manager for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and is a former assistant editor—research for DanceMedia's various publications. She is currently the managing editor of Dance Magazine and Pointe.
In Ikoradu, a part of Lagos, Nigeria, "The parents here don't believe in education," says Seyi Oluyole, in a video for Great Big Story. "They just want their kids to just sell stuff." Instead of watching the cycle continue, Oluyole took it upon herself to change these children's lives in a radical way.
Her method of connecting with them? Dance.
Serena Williams has been killing it lately, and we're not just talking about her tennis game.
In May, the star played in a catsuit at the French Open. The skintight post-pregnancy garb—which she said helped prevent dangerous blood clots—was a departure from the usual skirts or dresses still seen in women's tennis. Even. Though. It's. 2018.
Let's face it. Dancers just do things differently. We can never walk down a grocery aisle—we have to tap. We can never simply pick something up we've dropped—without going into a penché. But it's not a bad thing. We love all the ways that dance bleeds into our daily lives.
Turns out the pros aren't ever really off-duty either. Here's how we caught them dancing through their downtime.
As soon as we saw the current off-Broadway revival of Smokey Joe's Cafe, directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Joshua Bergasse, we had to know just how it did it. In 90 minutes, the cast of nine races through 40 songs by prolific pop songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The show includes megahits from the last century—like 1957's "Jailhouse Rock" and 1963's "On Broadway"—and they're all decked out with dancing.
With no dialogue and no narrative, there's plenty of room for Bergasse's choreographic mind to run wild. "Dance plays a huge role in this show," says Bergasse. "Most of these songs were written to get people out on the dance floor, so you kind of can't stop your body from moving." Even though the hits are old, the show definitely isn't stuck in a time warp. "We wanted to make the dancing feel like it isn't of one specific time." You'll see social dances from the '50s and '60s, but Bergasse quickly mentions Michael Jackson as a big influence as well. (Yes, the moonwalk makes an appearance, as do more current crazes like the Nae Nae.)
Earlier this summer, strange billboards and bus-stop ads started popping up around Louisville, Kentucky. A woman, Jessica, was sending public messages—that seemed really personal—to a guy named Chris. Things like, "Chris, maybe we should try role playing" or "Chris, let's talk about your performance issues."
Viral dance videos can be refreshingly surprising: You're scrolling through your Facebook feed, and suddenly a clip flashes by—maybe it's a ballerina's dizzying string of fouettés, a b-boy deftly spinning on his head or flamenco dancers in a fashion show. These days, it seems like movement-driven video snippets are being shared by fellow dancers and non-dance friends alike.
More than 60 former students from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet have joined a class-action lawsuit against the company and its former teacher and photographer Bruce Monk. Those involved are seeking $75 million in damages, for inappropriate photos that were taken of them as students by Monk. The lawsuit was reported by MacLean's, a Canadian news outlet.
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"The art was telling me that things had to change. And they had to change big. Something I created needed to die off. When the company was at its height, when it was at its most successful, I closed it down."
These puzzling words are spoken by choreographer Trey McIntyre in Gravity Hero, his new documentary, which unpacks the rise and fall of his wildly successful dance company, Trey McIntyre Project. When he disbanded the troupe in 2014, the dance world couldn't quite wrap their heads around it. Why stop when you're touring 22 weeks a year? Why stop when you've done the seemingly impossible by creating a thriving company in the dance desert of Boise, Idaho?
This time last month, we were wigging out when news broke that Wayne McGregor had been named choreographer for the upcoming CATS movie. Sure, it made us scratch our heads, since the original dances by the late Gillian Lynne are as iconic as the Jellicle cats themselves. (There was even a stir when Andy Blankenbuehler was chosen to choreograph the 2016 Broadway revival based on Lynne's original moves.) But we definitely want to see what the abstract mind of McGregor can bring to this reboot.
But our biggest question is, Who will be stepping into the catsuits?
Dancing in college is undoubtedly expensive, but these two events allow you to audition for scholarships from multiple programs at once.
Although the ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s as an epilepsy treatment for children, it's experiencing a new wave of popularity. Thanks in part to social media, where "healthy" keto-friendly recipe videos are going viral, the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is gaining ground. But is it safe for dancers?
We checked in with Rachel Fine, registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition, to see what eating keto means for dancers.
Though living in New York City is expensive, dancers can be downright resourceful in finding creative ways to make it work. Shaina Branfman Baira and Bryan Strimpel Baira have taken that resourcefulness to a whole other level: For the past two years, the co-directors of BAIRA | MVMNT PHLSPHY have lived off the grid. In an RV. Parked in Brooklyn. Without electricity, running water, internet or air conditioning.
Since making this transition, the married couple has been able to support themselves almost entirely through their dance work, freeing up valuable time and resources for their craft. The Bairas shared the ins and outs of their unconventional lifestyle with Dance Magazine and even gave us a tour of their home.
For the new Broadway season, Ellenore Scott has scored two associate choreographer gigs: For Head Over Heels, which starts previews June 23, Scott is working with choreographer Spencer Liff on an original musical mashing up The Go-Go's punk-rock hits with a narrative based on Sir Philip Sidney's 1590 book, Arcadia. Four days after that show opens, she'll head into rehearsals for this fall's King Kong, collaborating with director/choreographer Drew McOnie and a 20-foot gorilla.
Scott gave us the inside scoop about Head Over Heels, the craziness of her freelance hustle and the most surprising element of working on Broadway.
Today, American Ballet Theatre announced a new initiative to foster the development of choreography by company members and freelance dancemakers. Aptly titled ABT Incubator, the program, directed by principal David Hallberg, will give selected choreographers the opportunity to spend two weeks workshopping new dances.
"It has always been my vision to establish a process-oriented hub to explore the directions ballet can forge now and in the future," said Hallberg in a press release from the company. Interested? Here's how you can apply to participate.