A few days ago, a friend forwarded me the GoFundMe Campaign of Nikki and Ethan White, a dancerly wife and husband duo who escaped the California "Woolsey Fire" with their children but whose home burned to the ground. The couple had met while dancing for Smuin Ballet, and later were one of the top three finalists on Paula Abdul's TV show "Live to Dance." Today, they live in the Los Angeles area, where Ethan is researching how dance partnerships develop interpersonal trust at USC.
I spoke to Nikki about the fire, what comes next and how readers can help.
Alberto spends his summer layoffs growing the business. Photos courtesy Alberto
A few years ago I was rehearsing with the Festival Ballet of Providence, attempting to remember a piece I'd choreographed almost a decade earlier. It wasn't going well, and in my frustration, I jokingly asked the dancers if anyone had savantish memory and could reverse movement phrases on the fly. Principal dancer Alan Alberto raised his hand. Alberto examined a video of the choreography and, within minutes, was able to set it on others as though he had performed it himself. I'd never seen someone able to synthesize and teach new material so dexterously.
A few months later I ran into him at Whole Foods, where he was standing behind a sample stand offering passersby a marinade by a company I'd never heard of: Mesa Fresca. I asked Alberto how long he had worked for the company. He paused, and remarked that, well, actually, he'd started it. I wasn't talking to an hourly worker; Alberto was a founder and CEO.
Kate Ladenheim's dances share many attributes with their maker, namely their vibrancy, urgency, awkwardness and frequent brilliance. Her representations of hackers, botnets and DDoS attacks in her dance HackPolitick (which references the internet collective Anonymous) as performed by her Brooklyn company, The People Movers, won her the honor of being quite possibly the first contemporary choreographer to be written about in Forbes. She recently produced and collaboratively choreographed Transmission, a play that premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that deployed cutting-edge augmented-reality mobile-phone apps, podcasts and live performances.