Curtain Up

August 24, 2010

I happened to be at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy the summer of 2009, when Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch was performing. It was five days after the great choreographer suddenly died. The company danced their joyous and sensual Bamboo Blues in the gilded Teatro Romano. In this India-flavored piece, they leapt and played and seduced to the hilt. At the curtain call, all the joy drained out of them, they stepped forward with plainly stricken faces. As audiences cheered, they looked up to the balconies without changing expression. They just drew closer together, arms around each other’s waists and stayed that way for our prolonged ovation. I’ll never forget their solidarity in the face of devastating loss.


How are Pina Bausch’s dancers faring now, a year later? This month, some of us will get to see them at Brooklyn Academy of Music, their American home since 1984. But you can find out more about their feelings and their plans in Rita Felciano’s story, “Pina & Beyond,” at the end of our Fall Preview.


Just as Pina Bausch’s vision lives on, the ballet Serenade has lived on for 76 years. The sublime elegy that Balanchine choreographed for students has remained a favorite in the ballet repertory. What makes Serenade so well loved and durable? Former dancer Lisa Rinehart delves into the history and reality of setting this ballet, which has been performed all over the world.


During our cover shoot, I was amazed to see how fluidly British actress Emily Blunt moved. I knew she’d had three months of personal training with Cedar Lake’s artistic director Benoit-Swan Pouffer in preparation for her role as a dancer in the upcoming movie The Adjustment Bureau. But I was surprised by how deeply through the spine she was working. As well, she came up with ideas for what to do. She had the if-you-do-this-I-could-do-that mentality common to dancers. In “From Movie Studio to Dance Studio,” Dance Magazine’s associate editor Khara Hanlon talks to Emily about her anxieties, challenges, and new admiration for dancers.


Everyone knows—or can imagine—the emotional pulls and pressures of dancers who become mothers. We decided, for a change, to take a look at dancers who become fathers. In “Dancing Dads,” Joseph Carman talks to five guys who took the plunge and are learning how to balance performing/teaching/choreographing with the delights of fatherhood. Enjoy.



Photo of Emily Blunt and Benoit Swan-Pouffer by Matthew Karas.