Curtain Up

June 21, 2007

As I write this, we’ve just gotten the heart-breaking news of the passing of Fernando Bujones. Like everyone else, I am stunned. It was only last June that he, his wife Maria, and I had a wonderful, joyous lunch together. He mischievously told me about the autobiography he was writing, and I asked to see it. In September he sent me a chapter. It was so vivid, suspenseful, and heartfelt that I couldn’t put it down. But by the time I emailed Fernando to tell him I wanted to use it for the magazine, he had been diagnosed with cancer.


So it is bittersweet, to say the least, to be able to bring you that excellent chapter. It is the story of a boy who had a dream and worked hard to attain it. But it’s more than Bujones’ story alone. It describes an exhilarating moment in dance history when, in 1974, Bujones became the first American male to win the gold medal at Varna. As we all know, Bujones soon surpassed his dream and reached superstar status, thrilling audiences wherever he danced. See the “Transitions” page for the memories of dancers who worked with him.


It was Bujones’ strong wish for Dance Magazine readers to experience the story that was the turning point of his life. He continued to make careful corrections and adjustments to the edited version up until the week he died. His fierce dedication, love of dance, and sense of humor are all there in this story.


To ring in the New Year, we have two new sections. The first is “Vital Signs,” which leads off our news department, “Dance Matters.” It’s a potpourri of all kinds of happenings that reflect the vitality and diversity of the dance world. It will include trends, curious tidbits, quick reports, various and sundry ironies, birthday notices, and unlikely factoids.


The second new section is “Debut,” which follows “On the Rise.” Each month we will interview a dancer who has performed a role for the first time. We’ll find out what the role taught them and how they prepared—and what made them nervous.


This year’s Summer Study Guide brings you the most listings yet—over 400—so it’s bursting with options for dancers of all styles. Plus we have reports on very different summer programs, from a jazz workshop in Colorado to a program in Massachusetts that focuses on choreography to a renowned flamenco workshop in New Mexico.


And of course, there’s our popular “25 to Watch,” which has a particularly international flavor this year. As a special bonus, “Look at Them Now” scans some of those selected during the previous five years to see what heights they have reached since they were spotted by Dance Magazine.


And to start off the New Year on a bright note, we bring you “Comedy Central,” in which Elizabeth Zimmer looks at different kinds of humor in dance and tries to crack the nut of what makes them funny.