Curtain Up

April 27, 2009

I fell in love
with Broadway musicals in the age of Jerome Robbins. West Side Story. Fiddler on the Roof. Gypsy. These were great stories that gave their characters great reasons to dance. Robbins was famous for seamlessly integrating dance and story. When he was director as well as choreographer, he created a theatrical unity that was exciting from the first step—or first note—to the last.


Today we have a new wave of director/choreographers. Susan Stroman, Jerry Mitchell, and Kathleen Marshall are exploring this turf, and nothing will stop them from dreaming big. In “Movers and Shapers,” Sylviane Gold teases out the special conflicts that each of these dancers-turned-directors has to cope with when they wear both hats.

Because there is so much dance
on Broadway these days, we decided to give this issue a Broadway focus. One dancer who embodies the Broadway experience is Lorin Latarro. A triple threat who started out as a modern dancer, she’s been cast in 11 Broadway shows. In the current revival of Guys and Dolls, she wears one wig after another, but you can always spot her in the ensemble. She dances with strength and sass—the kind of dancing that boosts the entertainment value of any show.

Not every Broadway gypsy
is lucky enough to have a job these days. So many shows are closing (see “Still Kickin’ It” in “Dance Matters”) that it’s hard to hold on to your gigs (or wigs) even if you get one. But here’s the silver lining in that cloud: Some of the dancers are using this off time to work on their own choreography. Just like professionals in other fields today, they are finding that creativity is coming back in style.

At the upper levels
of the dance hierarchy, American Ballet Theatre’s Paloma Herrera doesn’t have to worry about finding jobs. She burst on the scene as a teenager from Argentina with astounding technique and a gorgeous body. To watch her natural sweetness in Giselle and her daring in Lauri Stallings’ Citizen is to see a ballerina with a huge range who is always centered, always herself. And what about those gorgeous feet! Read Astrida Woods’ “New Facets on a Gem” to find out why this world-class ballerina still feels she’s a “work in progress.”


Wendy Perron, Editor in Chief

[email protected]


Photo: (top) Steve Vaccariello; (bottom) Matthew Karas