Curtain Up

January 29, 2008

How can one ballerina be ethereal and sexy at the same time? Just watch Diana Vishneva dance and you’ll know. She is an astonishing parcel of opposites: strong and delicate, authoritative and vulnerable, energetic and wistful. Now, while still dancing with some of the great companies of the world—American Ballet Theatre, the Kirov, La Scala—she has taken the plunge of organizing her own show. Always searching, she has sought out contemporary choreographers like Moses Pendleton and Dwight Rhoden to create works for her. Read Roslyn Sulcas’ “Mystery and Mystique” to learn what’s behind “Beauty in Motion,” Vishneva’s new program this month in Los Angeles and New York.


Another searcher at another time was Antony Tudor, the British choreographer who helped build ABT into a world-class company. Tudor looked past the traditional story ballet to find a more authentic vocabulary grounded in real-life emotion. In “The Telling Gesture,” Joseph Carman eloquently describes how Tudor’s ballets continue to challenge—and satisfy—dancers during his centennial year.


Now let’s talk about what searching means to dancers who haven’t yet made a name for themselves. It means going to a lot of auditions. It’s an anxiety-making search, but that’s how you find your next job, your next role, or your next milieu. So it makes sense to prepare yourself as much as possible. In our Auditions Guide you’ll find stories on how to psyche yourself up, what to wear, what casting directors are looking for, and how to arrange an audition tailored just for you. You’ll also find listings for hundreds of auditions around the country.


This month we launch “Dancers in Love,” which is the second half of our new column “From the Heart.” (It alternates with “Why I Dance,” which began last month.) Our first couple is Katia Carranza and Luis Serrano, who until recently were stars of Miami City Ballet together. Now that Serrano is directing Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico, their professional relationship has changed. Carranza, a spitfire of a dancer, divides her time between MCB and Ballet de Monterrey—which, as luck would have it, is her hometown.


And just to kick up a fuss, we have a “Rant & Rave” from our tireless instigator (and dynamic ballet dancer) Theresa Ruth Howard. Here she questions that casually thrown around term “black dance” and shows how it can undermine our understanding of diversity in dance.    


So this is the month to search for work, pack in the auditions, celebrate your love life, and rant against stereotypes. Enjoy it.


Wendy Perron, Editor in Chief

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