Curtain Up

June 21, 2007

We never dance alone onstage. That’s what Isadora Duncan said—she danced with the ocean, the wind, the earth. Whether or not you go for that kind of romance with nature, learning to dance with a partner deepens your artistry as a performer. Sure it’s great to do a solo and soak up all the audience’s attention yourself. But when you and your partner are so in tune that you project a real sense of intimacy, you’ve got the audience hooked. It comes from feeling your partner’s rhythms, sensing him or her even when you can’t see them. It comes from a certain chemistry that is unique with each couple.

In this issue we have a three-part segment called “Great Partnerships.” Victoria Looseleaf asks dancers who are part of long-term partnerships to describe their special rapport from the inside. Dance Magazine’s Allan Ulrich waxes rhapsodic about legendary partnerships of the past, and Joseph Carman imparts secrets from male dancers known for their partnering expertise.

And who could be a better partner than American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes? A terrific dancer by any standard, his emotional fullness as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and the sexual allure of his Abderakhman, the Saracen Knight in Raymonda, communicate what the ballerina means to him. In “The Prince Next Door,” Astrida Woods tells us how Gomes’ ardent partnering brings out something different  in each of his partners.

Letting Gomes lead the way, we decided to go to his home turf and find out why Brazil produces such wonderful dancers. Our correspondent in São Paulo, Holly Cavrell, reports on Brazilian training centers as well as 10 amazing dance companies that are getting international attention.


This month the national finals for the American College Dance Festival take place at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Three dances from each of 10 regions will be judged in both choreography and performance, and Dance Magazine will present an award for best student choreographer and best student performer. This year I served as an adjudicator for the Southeast Region at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Lucky me—my fellow adjudicators were Broadway legend Ann Reinking and former Graham dancer and Vassar professor Steve Rooks. We felt privileged to witness the talent and intense commitment of 550 college dancers. Knowing that these budding dance artists will feed the field in the next few years stoked our optimism.