Curtain Up

November 23, 2009




Astonishing. Stunning. Dreamy. Powerful. These are some of the adjectives that come to mind as I watch Yuan Yuan Tan dance. But I am stumped when I try to think of verbs for her. I don’t know what it is she does to capture my attention so completely. She is not incredibly dramatic, and she doesn’t do amazing pirouettes. But as I noticed again during our photo shoot, she is just heaven to watch. Her arms move so fluidly, like tendrils of a plant, or seaweed under water. Where does that uncanny quality come from? Later I speculated that it was from her Vaganova training at the Shanghai Dancing School. But our assistant editor Kina Poon thinks it comes from her studying Chinese traditional dance, which is related to the art of calligraphy. Whatever the source, you don’t want her to stop dancing. Read Allan Ulrich’s “Haunting Beauty” to learn about “YY” and her unique blend of east and west.


Quite a different kind of haunting describes Jonah Bokaer, who likes to appear in and out of the viewer’s eye in some of his pieces. A former dancer with Merce Cunningham, he’s a forward-thinking choreographer who also helps build community, delves into scientific research, and designs a fashion shoot every once in a while. In “Young Inventor,” Emily Macel follows him as he grows from a 12-year-old prodigy to a renaissance man.


Health care insurance is the topic of the day, and dancers who are not in a company are asking, How do I to get it, and how can I afford it? In “Help! I Need Coverage,” Joseph Carman has plunged into the maze of health insurance options to find out where you can go if you need it.


For a college grad just starting out in these tough times, there’s an even more basic question: Where will you go after you finish school? To a big city like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, of course. But wait, how will you support yourself? Some grads are finding it’s more realistic to just go home rather than trek to one of the coasts. In “Where the Heart Is,” Nancy Wozny talks to four who did just that, and were pleasantly surprised by the budding dance communities they have found—or are helping to build.


We know it doesn’t snow in every single place we have readers. But it does snow in every . We invite you to take a ride through our “Winter Wonderland” as a greeting card from all of us to all of you.



Tan in costume for Ashton’s
Thäis. Photo by Matthew Karas